North Carolina Falls From The Open Cup 3-2

It was a long night a WakeMed Soccer Park yesterday. A weather delay and overtime meant that those that stayed until the end didn’t leave the grounds until about 11:45. The NCFC faithful were rewarded with a team that held its own until the bitter end but just could not get it done.

 

 

THE GOOD

  • As I said above, North Carolina FC held their own throughout this game. Collin fielded a lineup that was essentially full strength and it showed. The first goal came not even 5 minutes into the game. While the stats sheet might not show it, this was a hard-fought game and both teams struggled to find the back of the net.

 

 

  • Fan support. This is kind of a trend for this team in Open Cup play. 4,300 fans were in WakeMed last night and while a decent amount of them left after the weather delay, a good portion of decided to stay until the bitter end (The promise of free beer to all who stayed from the Oak City Supporters may have helped). That’s a pretty solid turnout of a work night.
  • Free soccer is always a good thing even when you don’t win.

 

 

THE BAD

 

I’m just gonna stick the weather in this category. It was extremely hot out there last night. Even the supporters section was favoring water over their usual beverages. The result was two water breaks and numerous cramps for the players on the field. Add into that a 90-minute weather delay thanks to a lightning storm and the weather is the second biggest villain of the night. Which leads me to….

 

THE UGLY

The officiating. I can handle a loss. There’s nothing wrong with playing your hardest and the other team being better on that night, but when a ref decides a game through inconsistent officiating it’s unacceptable. I wouldn’t even be mad if the non-calls were consistent. I’m cannot sugarcoat this at all. Houston was out there playing like it was the Stanley Cup. They mugged our guys all night and the ref said play on. Again, I could live with it if the same was done for us, but even the slightest touch from the boys in blue last night resulted in a whistle. I won’t even go into the missed handballs.

 

 

I don’t like to harp on officials. They have a difficult job and are doing the best they can out there. There’s a certain level of human error that goes into the job and a good team should be able to overcome that. Would the outcome have changed with different officiating? It’s hard to say, but we shouldn’t have to be asking this question.

 

INJURY REPORT

Tobin and Marcelin are still out with injuries, but Black is back in the game. As far as I am aware nobody left last night with any injuries; however, there were a few nasty hits that took a little bit of time to shake off. Overall the squad is pretty healthy for this time of year.

 

WHAT’S NEXT?

The boys are on the road again this weekend. This time they’re heading up to face the Indy Eleven. Indy’s sitting tied for last in the league with Puerto Rico FC and a loss won’t hurt NCFC’s standing in the table at all. Even if the three teams below them all have wins the boys would still be 5th in the table. The only detriment would be to their chances to win the spring season. Which is pretty farfetched at this point. While 3 points would be nice it might be time to start thinking strategically about who gets playing time. This might be a good time to let the starters rest and give some of the younger guys playing time. Will Colin do it? Well, one thing I’ve learned is to never try and predict what he will do. Only time will tell.

 

 

By the way, Indy has an awesome fanbase. If you can make the trip on Saturday I highly recommend it.

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