Labor of your hands: Own goal triggers 1-1- draw between NC FC, Edmonton
Posted September 2
"He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need."
Labor Day has often been referenced as a time to bless the work of our hands. The goalkeepers for North Carolina FC and FC Edmonton accepted that calling Saturday evening at WakeMed Soccer Park … until one did not, leading to an own goal by North Carolina, an Edmonton equalizer, a 1-1 draw.
“We had a lot of chances on both ends. I thought we had the better of [Edmonton],” said NCFC manager Colin Clarke. “Obviously, the goal we conceded is just something you don’t see every day. But I thought the guys put a lot of heart and effort into it and played well. We needed to do better in front of their goal. We never hit the target with the amount of chances we had from eighteen yards and in.”
The home team jumped out to an early lead. Earning four corner kicks in as many minutes to open the match, NCFC defender Christian Ibeagha misdirected a Lance Laing corner service off the inside right post and across the goal line for the 1-0 advantage.
“Santa Claus came to town with our defending from the corner kick after five minutes,” said FC Edmonton manager Colin Miller. “We didn’t start well … we continually gave the ball back to North Carolina, and if you do that down here you’re going to in for a difficult evening.”
From that point forward, the offense picked up for both sides but the goalkeepers stayed strong. The two teams combined for 24 shots on the night, with Eddies keeper Tyson Farago earning five saves and NCFC minder Brian Sylvestre thwarting three. Edmonton also put another three shots off the woodwork, not including an Ibeagha clearance in the first half that also clanged off the crossbar, narrowly averting an own goal.
With North Carolina FC seemingly cruising to a home ground victory, misfortune struck in the 70th minute. Ibeagha nodded a benign back header back to Sylvestre, who instead of picking up the ball chose to play it with his feet. The sphere snuck between Sylvestre’s legs, then the keeper tried to recover the ball with his feet instead of diving on it. He slipped again, and the ball dribbled over the goal line for the 1-1 equalizer.
Sylvestre remains the NASL leader in saves this year and has been one of the team’s standout performers. As calamitous as was Saturday’s mistake, both managers expressed sympathy and admiration for him after the match.
“I’m sick for [Sylvestre] because he’s kept us in so many games,” Clarke said. “He’s been superb this season, and I’d loved to bail him out in the end.”
“I know big Brian [Sylvestre] from my Vancouver Whitecaps days,” Miller said, referencing their days together in Canada. “He’ll be disappointed because he’s had a hell of a season for North Carolina. These things happen; it’s not one he’ll enjoy looking at. But the big fella overall has had a wonderful season.”
After an awful spring campaign, FC Edmonton has only one loss in their opening seven games this fall season and are riding a five-match unbeaten run. Miller attributes the turnaround with some player acquisitions during the midseason break, along with changes in formation and mindset.
“We’ve now gone 4-4-2 with the extra player up front. We’re now looking more aggressive going forward than we’ve done in previous years,” Miller said. “We said to the group, right from the start, let’s win the fall season. We lost eight games by one goal during that spring season, so it wasn’t as if we were being hammered and not playing well. We were not getting breaks like this during the spring season.”
For the moment, North Carolina FC (7-8-8, 29 pts.) remain tied for fourth in the overall league table. North Carolina FC has only one loss over their last eight games, but it’s also won only two of those nine with no victories over the past five matches, four of them in Cary. Moreover, six of NCFC’s final nine regular season games are on the road, beginning next Sunday with a rematch at FC Edmonton.
“We’ve been on the road in Miami and gotten three [points]; we’ve been to San Francisco and gotten one,” Clarke said. “We’re picking up points on the road. We’ve only been beaten once in [eight] games. We have to keep it positive and build on those positives.
“We’re still in fourth place in the combined, overall standings,” Clarke continued. “No need to panic, but there’s a sense of urgency. The next three points will be big, because it will damage to someone else we’re fighting with.”
NCFC:Sylvestre, Miller, Ibeagha, Tobin, Black, Marcelin, Fortune (Kandziora, 72’), Shipalane (Carranza, 71’), Albadawi, Laing (Glenn, 84’), Gorne
FCE: Farago, Diakite, Galvao, Nicklaw (Di Biase, 58’), Sansara, Zebie, McKendry, Fisk (Nyassi, 78’), Corea, Keegan (Fordyce, 65’), Ameobi
NCFC: Ibeagha, 4’ (Laing)
FCE: Sylvestre, 70’ (OG)