NCFC

NCFC v Edmonton Rubber Match Preview

Photo Credit: Rob Kinnan-NCFC

It’s been an interesting week for North Carolina Football Club.

First, NCFC drew level with FC Edmonton at Sahlen’s Stadium with an early goal from Christian Ibeagha in the fourth minute and then a Brian Sylvestre own goal late in the game. I don’t want to dwell too much on Sylvestre’s own goal since he’s been such an integral player for the club, so instead let’s take a look at some own goals that were more embarrassing to overshadow the one on Saturday. Look at John Arne Riise for Liverpool in a Champions League semi final! Check out this own goal that a Minnesota United keeper scored! Think you’re having a bad day? Jonathan Walters scored two (2!) own goals and also missed a penalty in a game! I feel better now.

Either way, it’s another draw on the books for NCFC on this Fall season – three in a row, in fact. With that result, NCFC is ranked 5th in the NASL combined standings: two points behind New York Cosmos (4th) and three points behind Jacksonville Armada (3rd). The playoffs are definitely within touching distance, but NCFC is going to have to start getting three points instead of just one point in games that they should be comfortable winning. Either NCFC goes down and claws their way back into the game to get a draw (which is very commendable), or NCFC looks comfortable with a lead and then squanders it by giving away soft goals.

The big news of the week is that the United States Soccer Federation denied NASL division two status, beginning in 2018. Obviously, the club wants to be chosen as a MLS franchise by that point, but it does put everything in an awkward situation. It would be a logical move for the club to relocate to the USL (and from what the rumors are, it looks like NCFC is the most likely club in NASL to be accepted into the USL), which would create some great rivalry games with Charlotte and Charleston. But at the same time, it just adds further headaches and some uncertainty to the staff and players when they need to have their focus on NASL playoffs. Knowing Steve Malik and how he operates, I definitely do not see NCFC moving backwards.

Last time NCFC travelled to Edmonton, it did not go as I envisioned to say the least. I predicted a 3-0 win for NCFC which angered some Eddie Redditors. Edmonton ending up winning 2-1 and to make it even worse, television viewers were treated to some of the worst commentators in soccer history: Gareth and Steve. Here’s hoping that NCFC gets some revenge for us all.

Predicted Outcome: 2-1 NCFC. I’m really starting to feel that Renan Gorne is going to start getting on the end some of Nazmi’s passes.

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You can find JP on Twitter at @jp_rcs.