North Carolina FC remained near the top of the USL Championship Eastern Conference and continued its terrific home form with a 3-0 victory over Loudoun United Wednesday night at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park.
With the win, NCFC (9W-3L-7D, 34 points) stayed in fourth place and is now even on points with third-place Indy Eleven.
The victory was NCFC’s fifth at its home field in league action, as it remained unbeaten in Cary this season (5W-0L-4D).
Forward Robert Kristo scored in the first half on a well-worked free kick to give NCFC the lead at halftime, and a second-half brace by forward Yamikani Chester secured victory for the home side.
“Obviously a good result,” NCFC head coach Dave Sarachan said. “Getting a clean sheet is a big deal, so that was important. I thought some new faces that saw the field tonight stood up and did well.”
It didn’t take long for NCFC to get going offensively, and the first real opportunity of the night came when midfielder Steven Miller drew a foul a few yards removed from the 18-yard box. The subsequent free kick was taken by Kristo, who made the most of the opportunity and perfectly placed a curler into the left corner of the net for his third goal of the season.
NCFC continued to generate scoring opportunities as the game progressed and limited Loudoun United thanks to goalkeeper Darrin MacLeod, who made three saves in his third start in league play.
With his team ahead 1-0 after 45 minutes, Sarachan decided to insert Chester into the match coming out of halftime, and the Malawi international reciprocated with two goals in quick succession.
Already with a goal to his name, Kristo added an assist in the 72nd minute, playing in the lightning-quick Chester, who easily slotted his effort past Loudoun United goalkeeper Calle Brown.
Not long after, Chester struck again in the 74th minute with a brilliant individual effort. Having dispossessed an opponent in the midfield, Chester made a run on goal, shook off a tackle from a defender and fired from well beyond the area for his fifth goal of the season and his second of the night.
Having taken full control of the match, NCFC saw out the result from then on, securing its eighth shutout of the season.
Yamikani Chester is the first NCFC player this season to score twice in the same half.
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