Cover Credit: Rob Kinnan/NCFC
North Carolina FC vs Jacksonville Armada – 7:30 PM EST Saturday May 13, 2017
This week NCFC, coming off a home loss to the San Francisco Deltas, face off against the Jacksonville Armada. Jacksonville is currently second in the standings with 10 points out of six games, and they have yet to register a defeat. If you look closer, however, you will see that the Armada has only beaten Edmonton with sucessive 1-0 scorelines and the rest of the points are made up of 1-1 or 0-0 draws. And Edmonton is terrible.
The result against the Deltas was a tough one to swallow. NCFC had been on a great run of form since they last played the Deltas, while the Deltas were not doing so well. It’s always tough to lose a game, especially at home, but it’s even worse when you surrender two set piece goals. Plus, and I don’t know if it’s just me, but I really find the Deltas super annoying. They are a new team, their jerseys are trash, Kyle Bekker doesn’t look as cool as Connor Tobin does in the short socks: there are many reasons to dislike them.
NCFC had a couple of chances before Reiner Ferreira headed in the corner in the 22nd minute, and Saeed Robinson almost scored just before haltime but Deltas goalkeeper Romuald Peiser saved well. Billy Schuler equalized in the 85th minute, but then Jackson scored the winner off of a free kick a minute later. Just brutal.
I will go ahead and acknowledge the figurative egg on my face: both my players to watch – Tommy Heinemann and James Marcelin – did not even suit up for the match. Last week, I wondered if Bolu Akinyode would be dropped for Austin da Luz but I never thought that Marcelin would be the one who would be dropped. I don’t know if Colin Clarke was rotating the squad for freshness, but I think a big reason why NCFC lost this game was the exclusion of Marcelin, and the late appearance by Lance Laing. The Laing situation is understandable: he just had a daughter (congrats!) and missed some training. Unless I missed an injury to Marcelin or something, he needs to come back into the squad.
I spent way too much time in an airport in Florida recently due to delayed flights, so I don’t have many nice things to say about Jacksonville.
Players to watch
Zach Steinberger, Jacksonville Armada : Last week, Steinberger scored a pretty incredible goal against the New York Cosmos in the 95th minute.
— /r/NASLSoccer (@rNASLSoccer) May 7, 2017
He’s been twice named to the NASL Team of the Week this season. He also has one of the goofiest player pictures I’ve seen.
Lance Laing, NCFC: The new dad was introduced late in the game against the Deltas presumably because he missed some training to witness the birth of his new daughter. Laing has already been one of the best performers in a NCFC shirt this season, but let’s see if he can get back to form against Jacksonville.
Predicted Outcome: 1-1
North Carolina Courage at Orlando Pride – 6:00 PM EST Sunday May 14, 2017
The Courage are top of the table once again after defeating the Boston Breakers last Sunday. Jess McDonald scored the only goal of the game in the 32nd minute, and that goal makes her the all-time regualr season leading goal scorer in the NWSL with 33 in her career. It could have been a different scoreline if our beloved Debinha had finished her chances, but we will forgive her because she rules.
The Courage now travel to Orlando for a rematch against the Pride, who the Courage beat 3-1 two weeks ago at home. We all know they have a certain Brazilian player who shall not be named, so it will be another tough contest for sure. What’s most important is that this team, which was known as an offensive powerhouse last season, has had three clean sheets out of four matches. Sabina D’Angelo and the back line have done a commendable job and it will be impressive if they hold off the Pride in Orlando.
Song of the Week
Beer of the Week
I still support you, Wicked Weed.
Question of the Week
What is your favorite This Is Sportscenter commercial? – Kyle
You can find JP on Twitter at @jp_rcs. Email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org