North Carolina FC Earns Point on the Road with 1-1 Draw at Hartford Athletic
North Carolina FC returned to USL play on Saturday Night drawing Hartford Athletic 1-1 in Hartford, Conn. After going down a goal early in the match, Yamikani Chester responded with a second half tally earning the team a point on the road.
It only took 17 seconds for Hartford to get on the board. Harry Swartz collected a low cross from Jose Angulo and slotted the ball past Alex Tambakis for the early lead in the first minute.
Down a goal, NCFC created chances quickly. After drawing a foul at the top of the box in the fifth minute, Ben Speas attempted to send a free kick into goal, but Hartford’s keeper Frederik Due was quick to collect his shot.
In the 10th minute, the Athletic almost added a second goal but Tambakis was quick to react and save a one-v-one shot from Wojciech Wojcik.
Just four minutes later, Sam Brotherton found himself on the receiving end of a DJ Taylor cross, but his header barely sailed above the crossbar.
In the 31st minute, it looked like Hartford added an insurance tally from a corner kick, however the referee was quick to call back the goal due to an off-the-ball foul.
NCFC had one more chance in the 42nd when Steven Miller sent a ball into the middle of the box, but Robert Kristo barely missed his connection, sending the teams to the locker rooms with the visitors down a goal at the half.
North Carolina FC picked up the tempo in the second half creating several chances and looking to equalize. In the 52nd minute Kristo found himself in a dangerous position but as he took the shot, Due deflected the ball into corner.
The visitors would get on the board just six minutes later. In the 58th minute, after a couple of close-range attempts, Chester picked up the loose ball and fired a rocket far post past Due to tie the game.
Not content with just one goal, NCFC continued to control the pace of the half creating even more chances. In the 63rd minute, Miller found himself with his back to goal and attempted a bicycle kick, but his attempt ended wide, left of goal.
In the 69th, Kristo sent a cross into the box, but the ball was deflected by a Hartford defender before it could reach an oncoming Nazmi Albadawi.
NCFC continued to look for the elusive game-winner until the end of the match, but to no avail as shots from distance by Albadawi in the 85th and by Miller in the 86th both ended out of bounds fixing the result at 1-1 and earning a point for both teams.
Next, NCFC continues the road trip with a visit to Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, Fla., to face Eastern Conference leader Tampa Bay Rowdies on Saturday, June 8 at 7 p.m.
North Carolina FC returns home on Saturday, June 15, to face Swope Park Rangers in the first match of the Pride Night doubleheader, presented by Credit Suisse, at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park at 5 p.m. The game will be followed by a match between the NC Courage and Portland Thorns. For tickets and information please visit NorthCarolinaFC.com or call the Coastal Credit Union Box Office at 919-459-8144.
With the draw, North Carolina FC now sits in sixth place in the Eastern Conference standings with 20 points, three points out of second place.
Yamikani Chester’s goal was his first of the 2019 USL Championship campaign. He had previously scored a goal against the Richmond Kickers in US Open Cup play on May 15.
Nazmi Albadawi and Robert Kristo earned their first starts of 2019.
Albadawi rejoined the team on Wednesday, May 29, after spending the last year and a half with FC Cincinnati.
The club’s youth-to-pro pipeline was ever present with NCFC Academy product DJ Taylor starting alongside NCFC U-23 products Albadawi and Alex Comsia. Academy products Trace Alphin, Dre Fortune and Caleb Duvernay appeared on the bench. Alphin and Duvernay did not feature in the match, while Fortune entered the game in the 82nd minute.
Alphin made his first appearance on the 18-player team sheet replacing Darrin MacLeod who was away on personal business.
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