After a 1-0 loss to Charlotte Independence Saturday night, North Carolina FC is not mathematically eliminated from the playoffs yet but things are looking bleak.
Late in the first half, NCFC got a big break when Charlotte’s leading goal scorer, Dane Kelly, was given his marching orders in the 44th minute after he went in with his studs up on NCFC’s DJ Taylor.
NCFC was not able to capitalize on its advantage however as Charlotte grabbed the opening goal early in the second half with Aaron Mound heading home a Jake Areman freekick following a foul from Taylor.
After Charlotte’s goal, it was primarily one-way traffic with NCFC in the driver’s seat but despite consistently being in and around the Charlotte box, shots were few and far between for the hosts.
NCFC’s push for an equalizer took a hit in the 67th minute when captain Nazmi Albadawi picked up his second yellow card, with the first coming during the altercation following Kelly’s red, for holding up a player as he ran by.
Following Albadawi’s second yellow, the referee attempted to regain control of the game by giving out cards like he was Oprah Winfrey. Conor Donovan, Dre Fortune and NCFC head coach Dave Sarachan were all shown suspect yellows following Albadawi’s second. In total, the referee gave out nine yellow cards and straight red over the course of the game.
With the win, Charlotte now has 24 points with three games left to play while NCFC’s maximum point total, if it wins its remaining four games, is just 25. If NCFC does win out and Charlotte picks up just one point, NCFC would have the tiebreaker on total wins, but if Charlotte manages to win one more, or tie two more, or NCFC fails to win any of its remaining games, NCFC will be mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.
NCFC’s next game will be on Sept. 23 when it heads to Memphis to take on 901 FC.