Sunderland Completes US Tour With Match Against North Carolina FC
By Jaden Dakwa – LA Soccer Press
Championship club Sunderland scored four goals from four different goalscorers in the first half against North Carolina FC to secure a win at WakeMed Soccer on Friday afternoon.
Sunderland is currently on a preseason tour in the United States and will begin their season in the Championship on Sunday, August 6th.
Sunderland got off to a flying start in the 5th minute when midfielder Chris Rigg played a through ball into the path of Jay Matete. Matete was able to hit one time finish past the goalkeeper’s near post to give Sunderland an early 1-0 lead.
In the 14th minute, North Carolina FC forward Shak Adams was forced to leave the pitch with an apparent lower leg injury. Louis Perez entered the game as a substitute to replace Adams.
Sunderland’s Danny Batth scored a header off of a corner in the 14th minute as well to give Sunderland a two goal advantage.
North Carolina FC nearly equalized in the 29th minute when midfielder Mikey Maldonado’s shot dragged wide of the far post.
North Carolina FC’s Oalex Anderson Jr. was able to get on the end of a cross that was sent in from Louis Perez during the 31st minute. Anderson Jr. was able to get a touch, but his effort went over the bar.
Anderson Jr. caused the Sunderland defense trouble once again in the 37th minute when he dribbled past multiple defenders and nearly played a cutback to Garrett McLaughlin.
Sunderland forward Patrick Roberts was able to score from outside the box in the 44th minute after he received a pass from Jack Clarke.
Patrick Roberts turned from goalscorer to provider in stoppage time of the first half when he played a through ball into the path of Jack Clarke. Clarke was able to score at the near post past North Carolina FC goalkeeper Trevor Mulqueen. Clarke appeared to be offside in the lead up to the goal, but the offside flag was not shown.
North Carolina FC made six substitutions to start the half and new signing Kyrome Lumsden was able to make his debut for the club after replacing Marvin Mariche. The 16-year-old signed for the club on July 17th from the Los Angeles FC Academy.
North Carolina FC got off to a strong start in the second half as forward Rafa Mentzingen struck a great shot in the 52nd minute from right inside the edge of the area that came off the post and went in.
In the 55th minute, Mentzingen struck another effort on goal that was saved by Sunderland goalkeeper Anthony Patterson.
Louis Perez was able to pull another goal back for North Carolina FC in the 60th minute when he cut past two defenders and hit a great effort into the far corner. North Carolina FC was able to score their second goal to make it 4-2.
Sunderland’s Jack Clarke dribbled past multiple defenders late into the match during stoppage time of the second half.
North Carolina FC head coach John Bradford believes the team got off to a slow start in the match, but were still able to carve out quality chances in the first half.
“Honestly, I thought in the first half when we settled down and we played, we were able to get great opportunities,” Bradford said. “I think we let in some soft goals and the referee helped them with the fourth one for sure.”
Bradford spoke about giving opportunities to young players in the friendly match.
“Yeah it’s something we’ve been doing for many years,” Bradford said. “I think back to the guys who played against West Ham way back when Manny Perez was in the academy.”
Kyrome Lumsden has joined North Carolina FC adding another young talent to the team’s youth to pro model. Lumsden has felt welcomed to the club since his arrival and is enjoying the environment.
“I felt very welcome from the boys and just being in a professional environment,” Lumsden said. “These are very good guys so I felt welcome.”
Sunderland manager Tony Mowbray spoke about his club coming to the United States and how the players have felt in the lead up to their season.
“Well, the weather was a challenge for us,” Mowbray said. “I would suggest we had 107 in San Antonio and 104 (Farenheit) in Albuquerque. Tonight was better and yet we’ve been training hard in real heat.”
Jack Clarke and Patrick Roberts were lively in the attacking third through the first half and Mowbray emphasized the importance of keeping intensity for the entirety of matches.
“There are star players in my opinion,” Mowbray said. “They’re very, very talented individuals and yet I want more from them. I’m letting them know what I expect and demand from them. For my opinion, the best players, the most technical players, should be the players that work the hardest as well.”
Sunderland managed to win all three of their preseason matches in the United States and will take on La Liga side Mallorca for their final match of the preseason.
North Carolina FC will return to action in USL League One when they take on the Northern Colorado Hailstorm at WakeMed Soccer Park on Wednesday, July 26th at 7PM ET.
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.