Memphis concedes three unanswered goals in a 3-2 loss at North Carolina FC


The Memphis 901 FC failed to defeat North Carolina FC in consecutive matches after the home side pulled off a 3-2 comeback victory with 3 unanswered goals.

The loss marks the 4th time this season that Memphis has dropped points from a winning position. 

The 901 FC (2-6-4) was unable to climb out of the bottom of Group G while North Carolina (4-6-1) kept the 3rd position in the group.

Forward Cal Jennings’s first half brace pulled the 901 FC into 2-0 halftime lead.

North Carolina’s halftime changes led to three unanswered goals and a three-point cushion over Memphis in Group G. 

After a late 3-2 over North Carolina earlier in the week, the 901 FC returned to WakeMed Soccer Park in search of consecutive wins.

Matt Hundley looked to build off his dominant Thursday night in North Carolina.

The young forward netted a brace including the match-winning goal three days prior to Sunday’s match.

He earned a start on the left wing, while Cal Jennings retained his starting striker role. Raul Gonzalez III made his second consecutive start in the midfield.

Memphis wasted little time in exploiting the weak points of NCFC’s backline. 

The former ALL-AAC Team recipient, Jennings broke the deadlock in the 24th minute but it was the veteran Marc Burch who orchestrated the opening goal.

Burch whipped in his trademark left-footed corner to an unmarked Jennings who easily guided his header past goalkeeper Alex Tambakis. 

North Carolina failed to mend an unorganized backline as Memphis doubled the lead due to poor man-marking.

Gonzalez III dashed down the right flank before slotting a grounded cross in between Tambakis and Akeem Ward. 

Jennings predatorily dove in front of Ward and rolled the ball past Tambakis.

The goal marked Jenning’s third of the 2020 campaign and tied him with Keanu Marsh-Brown, Rafael Mentzingen and Brandon Allen as the 901 FC’s leading goal scorer.

NCFC head coach, Dave Sarachan, made two offensive minded substitutions to start the second half. Dre Fortune came in for Pecka and Marios Lomis was swapped for Robert Kristo. 

Minutes before the hour mark, The 901 FC’s backline experienced déjà vu from the midweek match.  

NCFC’s Sam Brotherton redirected a cross into a dangerous area in front of goal which allowed Conor Donovan to power a shot through two 901 FC defenders and past goalkeeper Jimmy Hague.

Sarachan’s halftime tactical/personnel changes continued to give the 901 FC headaches at the back.

Donnavan ignited a counterattack with a 50-yard lofted pass to substitute Kristo.

Burch was unable to match Kristo for pace down the wing as the forward curled a grounded pass across the face of goal.

NCFC’s Hadji Barry, with space at the back post, struck a first-time shot past Hague for his first goal of the season.

With the match abruptly tied at 2-2 North Carolina used momentum and pace to create 3 additional goal scoring chances in the subsequent five minutes of play. 

Memphis warded off several NCFC counter attacks before the match tempo slowed with 15 minutes left to play. 

The home side regained momentum for the final 5 minutes of the match.

North Carolina relentless on the break, once again caught the 901 FC’s defense out of position.

Steven Miller, in the 89th minute, combined with the trailing run of substitute Nazmi Albadawi and the comeback was complete.

The Palestinian National Team member sent a volleyed stirke from 18 yards into the bottom left corner.

The match progressed into added time. Carrol produced one last gasp effort from the right flank with a lifted pass into the back post.

Allen failed to make clean contact with the cross and Tambakis lunged to make the save. 

NCFC ran out the clock in the final minutes to cap off 3 unanswered goals and steal 3 points from the 901 FC.

Memphis capp off their 3 match road trip on Saturday, September 19 at Louisville City FC.

Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. at Lynn Family Field.

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