NCFC blanks Puerto Rico 1-0 for first road win
Posted April 29
North Carolina FC earned an important 1-0 result over Puerto Rico FC Saturday night at Estadio Juan Ramon Loubriel for its first shutout and first road victory of the 2017 NASL Spring Season. Steven Miller scored the decisive goal in the 28th minute with a header off Lance Laing’s cross and Brian Sylvestre recorded five saves to keep the clean sheet. With the win, NCFC jumps to third in the NASL table with eight points.
Neither team created many chances early in the opening half. As the half wore on, NCFC began to settle in and took the advantage in possession and chances.
The pressure paid off in the 28th minute, as Miller scored his first goal of the 2017 season. Saeed Robinson started the play with a cross to the far post. Laing found the end of the cross and lofted it over the defense and onto the head of Miller, who placed the ball into the back of the net. With the cross, Laing added his second assist of 2017.
Puerto Rico struggled to create chances throughout the half, as NCFC controlled the match. However, the home team’s chance came in the 40th minute, as Michael Kafari made it through the NCFC defense and forced Brian Sylvestre to make a save from a hard shot inside the box.
North Carolina FC entered halftime with its 1-0 lead intact, denying its opponent from scoring in the first half for the third-straight match. NCFC also held an advantage in possession, tackles and clearances at the half.
The second half began much like the first, as NCFC and PRFC traded possession and a few chances. Sylvestre wasn’t called on often during the final 45 minutes, but the goalkeeper was excellent when needed.
Sylvestre was in place to catch a header off a corner kick in the 64th minute, and then came up with a diving save in the 75th minute to push a goal-bound shot over the bar.
The NCFC attack couldn’t find an insurance goal in the second half, but it wasn’t needed, as the team ran out the clock and Sylvestre secured an easy save in the final minute to conclude the match.
PRFC: Trevor Spangenberg; Cristiano Dias ©, Kyle Culbertson, Rudy Dawson, Ramon Soria; Jordi Quintilla (Jairo Puerto, 46’), Michael Kafari (Giuseppe Gentile, 72’), Yuma; Sidney Rivera (Hector Ramos, 46’), Michael Ramos, Conor Doyle
NCFC: Brian Sylvestre; Kareem Moses, Connor Tobin, Christian Ibeagha, Steven Miller; Lance Laing (Tiyi Shipalane, 57’), Bolu Akinyode, Nazmi Albadawi ©, James Marcelin, Saeed Robinson (Paul Black, 69’), Matt Fondy
NCFC: Steven Miller (Lance Laing, 28’)
PRFC: Michael Kafari, 65’
NCFC: Nazmi Albadawi, 47’