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Preview: NCFC Wraps up a Busy Week in San Francisco

What’s good Raleigh?  JP’s out of town sipping mai tai’s in Bora Bora, so you’re stuck with me for this NCFC preview. We’ve got much to discuss so lets get to it.

North Carolina FC comes to the end of a run of three games in seven days on Saturday against the San Francisco Deltas.  The trek started one week ago when the Oaks battled back from a two goal deficit at home against Jacksonville to end the game in a draw. Led by a breakout game for ‘Raleigh City Sports Player of the MonthDre Fortune, a point was salvaged and NCFC remained atop the NASL Fall table. Fortune has since been named to the NASL ‘Team of the Week’ for his goal and crossbar shot that led to Laing’s match tying goal, but, let’s be honest:

RCS POTM > NASL TOTW.

A quick three sleeps later, the NASL’s Spring Season champs, Miami FC, came to ‘The Sahlen’ seeking their first win against NCFC this year. An early goal from Miami was not answered and the David Beckham FCs left with all 3 points.  Honestly, other than Renan Gorne’s first appearance as a late substitution, there really wasn’t much worth discussing, so lets move on shall we?

As if three games within seven days isn’t bad enough, the higher-ups at the NASL scheduling office saw fit to send NCFC to the west coast to face the San Francisco Deltas on short rest. The squad has only faced the Delta’s twice, and only once visited Kezar Stadium.  Neither of which have gone well.

Home Field Advantage?

On the ‘Intimidating Atmosphere’ scale, Kezar Stadium’s dwindling attendance and running track place it somewhere between a Chuck E. Cheese and a middle school Sadie Hawkins dance. In fact, Delta’s CEO, Brian Helmick, recently pinned the worlds’ saddest diary entry entitled ‘Love me, Please Love me, you Love me right?  painting a grim picture of the clubs future unless attendance picks up. The United States can be an unstable place for Division 2 soccer clubs, but it’s amazing to see a first year franchise flush with tech company money (boasting investors from Apple, Facebook, Google, PayPal, Twitter, & Yahoo) already touting their own impending doom.

Stats? Stats!

Lets talk a little statistics. The Deltas have had an interesting start to their expansion year. The club currently sits in 2nd place in the overall NASL standings, 5 points ahead of NCFC.  They are, by far, the most penalized team in the league but also lead the league in clean sheets. Ex-Railhawk/Rowdie/Fury/Geico Caveman/Striker Tommy Heinemann is the only player to crack the top 10 in the league in goals or assists. One final thing to bore you, the Deltas sit 2nd in both goals scored and goals allowed.

What the hell does all this mean? The Delta’s are a pretty boring team to watch, but are consistent enough defensively to squeak out a number of draws and one goal wins.  However, they have let the bottom fall out a number of times including a 7-0 loss to Miami late in the Spring Season.

So, you’re saying there’s a chance!

Absolutely.  With the additions of Glenn and Gorne, along with a healthy Schuler and Fondy, the Deltas are a  team that NCFC should be able to put some goals on.  Again, due to this being our 3rd match in 7 days, I won’t try to take any guesses on how we lineup. I’d assume the defensive line stays similar to our last match baring any injuries/heavy legs, but after that it’s anyone guess. In four Fall Season matches so far, the team has experimented up top with someone different in every match.

Prediction

NCFC wins this one 2-1. The boys finish the congested week with a needed 2-1 win over San Francisco’s stingy defense.

Song of the Week

MOSSS – Here If You Want (Pale Blue)

 

A bit of a bias pick, but hey, JP, you leave town and I do what I want.  ‘Here If You Want (Pale Blue)‘ is the debut single from an ex bandmate of mine and the track just passed a million streams.  It’s got that perfect summer vibe to sit on your porch/balcony/chill spot of choice and just groove to. Crack open a Natty Light and check it out on Apple Music or wherever you stream your tunes to.

Final Nugget

Oak City Supporters will be hosting a watch party for the match at London Bridge Pub on Saturday night at 8pm.  Come hang out if you’d like some company watching the match.