North Carolina FC drew 0-0 with South Georgia Tormenta in Statesboro, Georgia on Saturday, July 3. With the draw, NCFC now has five points from nine games this season.
After providing a spark off the bench in the 2-1 win over Richmond, Cole Frame earned the second start of his professional career against Tormenta, starting in place of Thorn Simpson. In addition to Frame, Damian Las and Nelson Martinez also started against South Georgia, replacing Jake McGuire and Shermaine Martina, respectively.
With Thorn dropping out of the lineup, NCFC’s attack switched positions slightly. Jay Tee Kamara led the line with Selmir Miscic, Luis Arriaga and Frame playing as an attacking trio just behind him. Pecka and Peter Pearson rounded out the team’s midfield as the more defensively minded midfielders.
While the changes to the starting XI were exciting, the bench was arguably even more so. After being injured for most, and in some cases all, of the season so far, Nazmi Albadawi, Robert Kristo and Malyk Hamilton all started the game on the bench.
The opening 45 minutes was an end-to-end affair, but neither team was able to test the other’s keeper much. NCFC narrowly led possession, but South Georgia outshot North Carolina 8-1. Despite the volume of shots from Tormenta, only one tested Las.
Albadawi made his first appearance of the season in the 70th minute, entering in place of Pecka. While Albadawi has undoubtedly been an influence at practices and off the field, his experience and poise on the field has been missed at the start of NCFC’s first USL League One season. His return from injury could be a major step in NCFC improving during the latter portions of this season.
In the 79th minute, Tormenta had a good opportunity to take the late lead via a penalty kick, but Marco Micaletto put his shot wide. The penalty came after a sliding challenge from Max Flick just inside the box. It appeared that Flick got both the man and the ball, but which he made contact with first was difficult to see, and the referee whistled for the penalty.
Although South Georgia dominated both the possession in the second half and outshot NCFC 16-4 across the 90, Tormenta’s one first half shot on target remained the only shot to test either keeper.
Next up for NCFC will be yet another showdown with Greenville Triumph SC, a team who NCFC has lost to twice this season. Round three between the two clubs will kick off at 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 10 at Legacy Early College in Greenville, South Carolina.