Donning the nostalgic orange kits and going by its former name, North Carolina FC celebrated its inaugural RailHawks Throwback Night on Oct. 9.
After the game, club legend Nazmi Albadawi, who retired earlier this season, was recognized with a ceremony in the owner’s suite where he presented with gifts from the club and supporters. Albadawi first signed for the club in 2014 and made 113 appearances in his first four seasons before signing with FC Cincinnati. Albadawi eventually returned to NCFC in 2019, where he played the final years of his career,
“When you think of this club, he's probably the first guy that you may think of, or he's in a shortlist of those that you would think of,” said NCFC head coach John Bradford. “And the sacrifice and hard work that he's done on the field, off the field has been everything for the club for the time.”
The afternoon’s celebrations were dampened, however, by a downpour of rain and Chattanooga Red Wolves SC, who won 3-2 to complete the season-series sweep.
“Overall for our group, some very good stretches and some good attacking play,” Bradford said. “I thought we started both halves pretty well in terms of getting on the scoresheet and then some really disappointing moments defensively to let them get back in the game and a stretch of about 10 minutes in the second half where we just let our foot off the gas.”
After a pair of corner kick goals saw the two sides enter the halftime break locked at 1-1, a trio of quick goals in the second half gave Chattanooga a 3-2 lead by the 60-minute mark.
Aziel Jackson, who assisted Pecka’s first-half goal, gave NCFC an early second-half lead, finishing off a pass from Luis Arriaga at close range.
The lead did not last long, however, as the Red Wolves grabbed a pair of goals in the 54th and 57th minutes to take a 3-2 lead.
Goalkeeper Jake McGuire kept the RailHawks in the game with a penalty-kick save in the 68th minute. McGuire was excellent throughout the game, making five saves on the afternoon.
Defender Nelson Martinez picked up a knick late in the second half and after the game Bradford said the decision to take him out was out of an abundance of caution given the stretch of games the team has coming up.
Bradford also provided an update on defender Shermaine Martina, saying the defender underwent surgery, which went well, but he does not know if the defender will play again this season.
NCFC will be back in action on Wednesday, Oct. 13 as the team travels to Arizona to take on FC Tucson.