NCFC Suffers Defeat in a Match With Plenty of Chances for Both Sides
By Jaden Dakwa – LA Soccer Press
Chattanooga Red Wolves forward Juan Galindrez’s goal only minutes after coming on as a second half substitute helped to hand Red Wolves a 1-0 victory over North Carolina FC on Saturday night at WakeMed Soccer Park. North Carolina FC celebrated Noche Latina and Fan Appreciation night for their final home match of the regular season. The official attendance was marked at 4,873 fans and created a raucous atmosphere for the night.
NCFC forward Garrett McLaughlin nearly opened the scoring in the 9th minute after he took the ball past Chattanooga Red Wolves goalkeeper Carlos Avilez. Red Wolves defender Nicolás Cardona kept pace with McLaughlin and made a vital block to protect an open net.
NCFC goalkeeper Nick Holliday came up with a leaping save in the 22nd minute after Red Wolves attacking midfielder Josue España’s long range effort looked set to arrow into the side of the net.
In the 30th minute, NCFC left back Nelson Flores whipped in a cross and Garrett McLaughlin was able to quickly direct his header towards goal and his attempt on goal ended up hitting the crossbar.
At the outset of the second half, Red Wolves substituted Yahir Paez for Juan Galindrez.
NCFC forward Shak Adams came close to scoring in the 48th minute when Oalex Anderson put in a cross and Adams was nearly able to get a finishing touch towards goal.
Only minutes after coming on the pitch, Juan Galindrez gave the Red Wolves a lead in the 49th minute when he struck a shot that snuck in at the near post past Nick Holliday. Galindrez was played through on goal after a perfectly weighted through ball from Red Wolves midfielder Jose Carrera-Garcia.
Garrett McLaughlin attempted a low and controlled strike on goal in the 70th minute after the ball fell down to him after a cross from Christian Lue Young was deflected by multiple Red Wolves defenders. Avilez was able to make a quick reaction save to protect the lead for the Red Wolves.
Nelson Flores was shown his second yellow card in the 75th minute which resulted in him being given a red card. NCFC were subsequently left with ten men on the pitch for the rest of the match.
In the 86th minute, NCFC second half substitute Jaden Servania whipped in an excellent cross that Garrett McLaughlin was able to get his head to. McLaughlin hit a rocket header towards the near post that came close to hitting the target.
In stoppage time, Jorge Paez was nearly able to double the Chattanooga Red Wolves’ advantage after he was through on goal and his effort barely dragged wide of the opposite post.
The match’s conclusion gave Chattanooga Red Wolves a vital victory and three points booked their place in the USL League One playoffs.
NCFC head coach John Bradford admitted the result was “frustrating”, but praised the continuous work ethic of the team even after the team was left with ten men on the pitch.
“Extremely frustrating, you can tell the guys certainly wanted to win this evening and get three points to reward themselves for the work they’ve been putting in all season,” Bradford said. “ I can’t fault their effort. At the end of the day it’s about creating chances and not making mistakes.”
NCFC did create a number of great attacking chances throughout the match and their only glaring defensive breakdown seemed to come from the goal the team conceded in the 49th minute. Goalkeeper Nick Holliday was beaten at his near post on the play, but performed fantastic throughout the rest of the match producing four saves. Bradford believes Holliday’s performance was commanding and “excellent”.
“I thought Nick was excellent,” Bradford said. “I thought he made a really good save in the first half on the one that was coming from distance and he pushed wide of the post. He was good with his feet throughout the entirety of it.”
Two 16-year-old’s Nico Rincon and Nick Holliday both were named into the starting XI for NCFC on Saturday night. It is a reminder of the promising future and potential of the club.
“I think that’s what we’re about,” Bradford said. “I think for us it’s about the future and it’s about the young players. Those two specifically, I think have a bright future and certainly are going to play a significant role in this group next year.
NCFC’s last match of the USL League One season will take place on Saturday, October 15th against Charlotte Independence in Charlotte, NC at 7 p.m ET / 10 p.m PT.
Dakwa holds a BS in Journalism from Elon University. He writes about North Carolina professional soccer for L.A. Soccer Press. Follow him at @JDakwa on Twitter.