Talking Points – Week 10

Talking Points – Week 10

After North Carolina FC (6-3-1, 1st) pulled off its biggest comeback win since joining League One over the Richmond Kickers (3-2-4, 4th) on Wednesday, both sides experienced opposite results on Saturday with Richmond downing Lexington SC (2-5-1, 11th) and North Carolina falling to the Charlotte Independence (4-2-4, 2nd) in the Dogwood Derby. 

Richmond raced out to a 2-0 lead on Saturday before a flurry of North Carolina FC chances found the back of the net. NCFC’s three goals in 14 minutes between the 62nd and 76th minutes proved enough to topple the Kickers. North Carolina FC’s victory marked the first time a team that finished in last place has defeated the Players’ Shield winner in the subsequent season in league history and pushed the club’s record to 3-71-3 when trailing 2-0.

“Obviously, it was a tremendous comeback, being down 2-0 in the second half,” NCFC Head Coach John Bradford said. “The message at halftime was to just stay the course. We made some mistakes with those goals in the first half but we knew the opportunities would come and just needed to get that first goal. Then the second goes in and you would almost be satisfied with a tie but then you look up and it’s 3-2 and [McLaughlin] gets his first goal of the year as well.”

On Saturday, though, NCFC got a taste of its own medicine as Charlotte overcame a one-goal deficit to win 2-1, taking a lead in the all-time series dating back to 2015 at 8-7-2. The win also exemplifies Charlotte’s recent dominance over its in-state foe, going 7-1-1 in the pair’s last nine meetings and remaining perfect against NCFC at American Legion Memorial Stadium since 2019.

“I thought even though we conceded early in the second half, we were good and we showed good character coming back from conceding the first goal to get a result,” Charlotte Independence Head Coach Mike Jeffries said.

300 miles away, Richmond bounced back from its Wednesday loss to NCFC with a strong 2-1 victory over expansion side Lexington in front of a packed City Stadium. Leading his side to victory, first-year Kicker João Gomiero secured his third goal of the week to earn Player of the Week honors.

“It felt amazing because I felt we’ve had really good games at home and it was frustrating to go a couple of games without scoring,” Gomiero said following the win over Lexington. “It was such a big game for us coming back from two games on the road and scoring the second goal which opened up the lead. With so many people in the stadium, so many familiar faces, it was just a great feeling. It feels amazing to be a part of history now.”

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