North Carolina FC lost its third consecutive game on Saturday, Aug. 14, falling 4-0 to North Texas SC on the road.
Across the 90, defensive mistakes and poor individual defending cost NCFC. The hallmark of the stretch, through late June and July, that saw NCFC pick up 11 of the 12 points it has this season, was solid defense, but that defensive confidence has been eroded over the last four games.
After picking up three clean sheets in conceding just four times in the month of July, NCFC has conceded 13 in the first two weeks of August.
North Carolina held 61% of the possession in the first half, but apart from a brief stretch between the second and third goals where NCFC looked like it was starting to get into the game, North Texas dominated a defensively poor NCFC throughout the opening 45 minutes.
North Texas opened the scoring in the 10th minute with Kalil ElMedkhar turning NCFC center back Shermaine Martina before tucking it into the near post.
In the 24th minute, after another bit of spotty defending, a ricochet off the post fell to Kazu right in the middle of the box and he shot the ball into an open net. NCFC keeper Jake McGuire had no chance to make a save on the shot after diving at the initial shot that hit the post.
North Texas’ third and final goal of the first half was the worst of the game from NCFC’s perspective. Midfielder Peter Pearson gave the ball away in the midfield with an under-hit pass and North Texas defender Derek Waldeck took off with the ball, sprinting at the NCFC defense. Both NCFC center backs, Malick Mbaye and Martina, just continued to back off and didn’t challenge Waldeck. Waldeck eventually slipped the ball across to Gabriel Morais at the top of the NCFC box, who blasted the ball past McGuire.
In the 59th minute, another moment of poor individual defending from NCFC gave North Texas it’s fourth goal of the night from the penalty spot.
Despite conceding four goals, McGuire was a bright spot for NCFC, making three saves, including an incredible one in the 55th minute.
18-year-old academy standout Cole Frame got the start against North Texas after scoring the team’s lone goal in the loss to Chattanooga Red Wolves SC on Tuesday, Aug 10. Frame had some good moments throughout the game, and continues to be a prime example of NCFC head coach John Bradford’s trust in the young players on the roster.
North Carolina FC has some time to reset ahead of the team’s next game, which is not until Aug. 25, when Forward Madison FC comes to WakeMed Soccer Park.