North Carolina FC Knocks Off the Charlotte Independence 4-1

North Carolina FC will face the Dynamo for the second time in the 2017 US Open Cup (this time the MLS squad out of Houston) after blazing past the Charlotte Independence 4-1 last night. Bolstered by a starting lineup that most fans would expect to see in league play, and what must have been a killer halftime pep talk by Colin Clarke, the win was never really in doubt. Let’s get right into the good, the bad, and the ugly from last night.

 

 

THE GOOD 

  • First off has to be the fan support last night. Lower division soccer is notoriously not well attended and a midweek game on a muggy night doesn’t help much. Last night’s official attendance of 2,052 is the lowest of the year for sure; but it’s still only half about of what NCFC is averaging for the year. They weren’t all there to cheer for the home crowd either. Charlotte brought a nice sized contingent to root for the visitors (more on them later), but I for one am not sorry they went home disappointed.

 

 

  • Brian Sylvestre. Nazmi Albadawi might have been the man of the match but Brian was a close second. Most of the shots that Charlotte took missed the net, but the few that were on target were saved thanks to his high flying leaps around the box. He would have had a clean sheet too if it wasn’t for a PK in extra time.
  • The passion. From the days leading up to this one until the celebration after the game emotion ruled this game. Fans, players, and even official social media got in on the back and forth. This is becoming a true rivalry and hopefully we will get to see more of preseason and the open cup.

 

 

  • NCFC’s defense. Part of the reason Charlotte didn’t have nearly as many shots on goal as they should have was because of the back line. They were often there to block a shot or get in the way of a previously open lane.

 

THE BAD 

  • Charlotte’s accuracy. Even though the back line and Brian Sylvestre were on point last night, the Independence had more than a couple opportunities to find the back of the net. The problem is that those shots sailed high or wide and instead found the bleachers.

 

 

  • NCFC’s possession. The score for this one could have been a lot higher. The boys in blue gave up the ball a lot in the first 45 minutes. Thankfully Colin made the right changes at halftime and the result was a much tighter offense.
  • Naz’s celebration. I’m hesitant to even put this on the list, but I do think it should be addressed. After his second goal of the night, Naz went over and celebrated directly in front of the Charlotte supporters. Not the worst thing in the world but a sign of disrespect to be sure. He apparently apologized after the game though. So kudos to him for being a man about it.

 

 

THE UGLY 

  • One particular Charlotte fan. During Naz’s celebration one Charlotte fan decided to share some of his beer with Naz. I agree that Naz was wrong to celebrate like he did but that doesn’t make it ok to throw beer at him. Most of the Charlotte fans where good sports but this one guy is persona non grata in my opinion

 

 

INJURY REPORT 

Not much to report here. Steven Miller ran off to the locker room in the 72nd minute but seems to be ok. I’ll chalk that one up to some bad tacos the night before.

Conor Tobin and Brian Sylvestre had a nasty collision around the 80th minute but both finished out the game after some time to shake it off.

WHAT’S NEXT 

North Carolina is on Sunday against the New York Cosmos (we really don’t like them). You can get your tickets for that and the next round of the Open Cup here

 

 

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Photo credit: Jason Santiago

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