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North Carolina FC forward Cole Frame loses possession of the ball during the game versus North Texas SC on Sunday, Sep. 26, 2021 in Sahlen's Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park. NCFC lost to North Texas SC 1-0.

North Carolina FC fell 1-0 to North Texas SC on Sunday, Sept. 26 at WakeMed Soccer Park. 

The loss is the team’s second in a row since the high-flying win in Nazmi Albadawi’s final game. Across the 90, North Texas outshot the hosts 14-12 despite NCFC holding 61% of the possession.

“The start of the game, it took us a little while to get ourselves going,” said NCFC head coach John Bradford. “We were fortunate not to have conceded early, which was a disappointing start. Then after that, I thought we found our way and were the better team for the majority of the first half, up until the last five minutes. Just disappointed on the goal that we gave up, because I think it's avoidable.”

After knocking on the door throughout the half, North Texas finally managed to beat NCFC keeper Nicholas Holliday in the 41st minute for the game’s only goal. Dominick Hernandez cut inside and let the shot fly, finding the side netting.

Holliday came up with three saves to deny North Texas up to that point, but persistence paid off for the visitors. The young keeper was fantastic throughout the evening, showing a high level of maturity as he continues to get consistent minutes.

“There's no replacement for match experience and so for a young guy like Nick to have these games, several back to back right now, it's multiplying his experience and his ability to read games,” Bradford said. “There's still so much for him to improve on and so much to grow, but with where he's at right now, it is such an exciting starting point.”

NCFC had a few chances of its own in the opening half but struggled to connect in the final third despite holding 60% of the possession. Aziel Jackson even managed to put one in the back of the net, but it was immediately brought back by the linesman’s flag. 

The most telling stat for NCFC in the first 45 was its 38.1% duel success rate. The forwards were able to get into dangerous spots, but could not do much once in those positions.

The two sides continued to swap chances in the second half, but a mixture of some solid goalkeeping at both ends and a few flags from the linesmen kept the game at 1-0. Substitute Thorn Simpson had a really good chance to pull NCFC level late in stoppage time, but the forward put his shot just wide.

In the 68th minute NCFC center back Shermaine Martina, who has been dealing with injuries throughout the season, went down near midfield and was eventually helped off the field, putting no weight on his left leg as he exited.

After the game, Bradford said it was too early to know anything yet regarding the injury.

NCFC will try to get back in the win column next weekend as it travels up to Canada to take on Toronto FC II, who currently sit just above NCFC in the USL League One table.

Sports Editor

I'm Nicholas Schnittker, one of the two assistant sports editors for Technician. I'm in the class of 2022 and am currently majoring in communication and minoring in journalism. I have been at Technician since August 2018 and an editor since May 2019.