JP’s Prematch Report (4/29/2017)

North Carolina FC at Puerto Rico FC – 7:30 PM EST Saturday April 29, 2017

Well the NCFC – Miami Fusion rematch ended the same as the first: NCFC scoring early followed by Miami equalizing later on. This time it was way later on with Robert Baggio Kcira scoring in the 95th minute to cause NCFC to drop two points. 

Courtesy of @northcarolinafc

There were some bright spots, however. Lance Laing scored in his second consecutive game after slotting home a pass from Tiyi Shipalane. As Ryan from Oak City Supporters highlighted in his season preview, a lot of people were excited with Laing’s arrival because of his pedigree. With 2 goals and 1 assist in 3 games, you have to be pleased with his return so far. If only he wasn’t concussed by a certain Miami player and forced to missed the game against San Francisco. (By the way, you have to love that Farfan didn’t even make the bench for this game. My prediction from last week was correct.)

Another bright spot was Brian Sylvestre. The keeper made eight saves against the Fusion, including that amazing save against Enzo Rennella in the 29th minute.  Jamie Chavez also had a couple of efforts on goal, but Sylvestre was not having it. Unfortunately, the Kcira shot went past him for the equalizer but I hope he can shake it off and focus on the Puerto Rico match. NCFC has yet to keep a clean sheet and I’m sure everyone on that defensive line wants to start racking those up.

The next opponent for NCFC is Puerto Rico FC, who are currently at the bottom of NASL’s standings with three points out of four games. They recently lost to the Eddies of Edmonton, but have tied the other opposition so it’s hard to tell if they are good or bad. Maybe with three draws, we should put them in the “okay” drawer for now?

I went to Puerto Rico a long time ago, but I remember having a good time down there so there’s not many snarky things I can say about it. The one thing I remember most of all was that there were about a million billboards with Ricky Martin shilling for Pepsi. They were everywhere. Maybe Pepsi needs to go back to the drawing board and put Ricky back as their centerpiece.


Players to watch

Hector “Pito” Ramos, Puerto Rico FC:  The Puerto Rican national has found the back of the net twice this season, but most importantly has created 11 chances so far this season.  He has been in the NASL Team of the Week twice, and at 6’3” he will be a lot for the NCFC defensive line to handle.

Lance Laing, NCFC:  It has to be Laing, right? As mentioned above, he has done well in all the matches he has played in so far for NCFC. He and Matt Fondy both lead the team in goals scored, so you have to expect Laing fancies his chances against a team that has let in six goals so far (NCFC has too, but shut up).

Predicted Outcome: 2-1 NCFC


North Carolina Courage vs Orlando Pride – 4:00 PM EST Saturday April 29, 2017

The battle of the lionesses! The Courage (2-0) take on the Orlando Pride (0-1-1) this Saturday to hopefully extend their winning streak. The Courage bested the Thorns last week after a Debinha header, while the Pride tied the Spirit 1-1.

As you may have read last week and heard on the podcast this week, I’m a huge fan of Debinha. I was really impressed with her against the Spirit, and was very happy when she got on the scoresheet against the Thorns (if only she had connected on that bicycle kick). She will be going up against her compatriot – and Mike favorite – Marta. I actually watched a little bit of Orlando’s match against the Spirit last weekend to see how we would stack up, and Marta totally got owned on the Spirit’s equalizer. So that was fun to see. But I think Debinha is a star in the making. 

I also think this is the week that the Jess McDonald/ Lynn Williams partnership really starts to flourish. McDonald provided the cross for Debinha last week, and both players have had plenty of chances to score. Both of them really dominated the league last year, so hopefully they start to click as the games go on.

Song of the Week

Durham represent!

Beer of the Week

Speaking of Durham, this week’s Beer of the Week comes from Durham-based brewery Fullsteam. I know that a couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I was moving away from drinking IPAs, but Rocket Science is one IPA that I will always order. I’m a big fan when they mix it with grapefruit juice during their Shandy months.

Question of the Week

I have to bring a dish to work next week for a potluck lunch. What do you have for me? – Zach

You could always be the guy who signs up to bring paper plates and napkins, or a box of pre-made brownies. But you don’t want to be that guy, so I’ll give you a side dish that I’ve been a fan of for awhile now.

Personal confession: I put Sriracha sauce on pretty much everything. Like I probably use way too much of it, but don’t judge me. This recipe has the heat from the Sriracha, but the honey mixed in gives it a sweet taste. Plus Brussels Sprouts are pretty cheap to buy frozen.

Or you could just bring a two liter bottle of Pepsi.

You can find JP on Twitter at @jp_rcs. Email your questions to