Match Recap: Two Minutes Turns Into Three Points as NCFC Gets Come From Behind Win over Greenville

North Carolina FC 2 – 1 Greenville Triumph SC

CARY, NC— Two second-half goals within two minutes extended North Carolina FC’s unbeaten streak to nine games and gave them some breathing room at the top of the USL League One table.

The Saturday night match was NCFC’s third game in a week, so it was a slightly sluggish start for the Dead Whales that saw them concede the game’s first goal shortly after the first-half hydration break.

“A shaky one,” was Mikey Maldonado’s assessment of the start of the game. “Of course, we didn’t come off strong…it wasn’t good enough for us. I mean, we played better in training, and we know we should be doing better.”

North Carolina created some good scoring opportunities for themselves in the first half, starting with a fantastic link up play between— who else? —Oalex Anderson Jr. and Garrett McLaughlin. Anderson played in a great ball to McLaughlin, who got behind the defense and went 1v1 with goalkeeper Jared Mazzola. The Greenville goalkeeper tipped the shot away for a corner kick.

That wasn’t the only promising partnership in the first half for NCFC: Rafa Mentzingen and Louis Pérez combined to create some good looks at the goal, but the opening goal eluded North Carolina’s attack. All of which goes to show that, even when they’re not at their best, NCFC is still plenty dangerous in transition.

The visitors from South Carolina broke the deadlock in the 36th minute when North Carolina had problems clearing the ball out of danger. After pinging around the top of the box, the ball fell to the feet of Aaron Walker just outside the box. Walker laid the ball off to Lyam MacKinnon at the top of the penalty arc, and it was an easy turn and blast to the near post that put Greenville on top.


Head coach John Bradford’s message to the team at halftime centered around ramping up their intensity in the second half, particularly since they were chasing a result.

It took North Carolina FC only two minutes to turn the game around in the second half. And it started with David Garcia getting the turnover in the back and lobbing the ball up the field to Raheem Somersall, who gave the ball to Anderson. The striker tried to make the turn, but a Greenville defender blocked the passage. Somersall was there with a saucy volley off his heel to Mentzingen, who blasted the ball on goal. Mazzola made the initial save, but the rebound came out to McLaughlin, who came in with a great finish.

Two minutes later, it was Pérez with the lethal lefty from the top of the box that curled around a bunch of bodies to beat Mazzola and give the Dead Whales the 2-1 lead.

NCFC was disappointed not to come away from Richmond with all three points on Wednesday after conceding the equalizer at the end of stoppage. So, with more than half an hour left to play on Saturday, Bradford’s side wanted to be sure to maintain focus to see out the win.

“I think the guys put the work in this week and were able to grind it out tonight, so I’m sure they’re tired and sore,” Bradford said after the game.


Goalkeeper Brooks Thompson has been with North Carolina FC for a few weeks, but the team’s long road spell delayed his introduction to the supporters at WakeMed Soccer Park.

Thompson, with his self-described “crazy” style of goalkeeping, came up big when he needed to, giving his team the chance they needed to pocket the three points.

The goalkeeper, on loan from Philadelphia Union 2, was thrown right into the mix after injuries to Nicholas Holliday and Tor Saunders but seems to have clicked with his back line straight away.

“All the guys made it super easy for me to get involved in the squad, build some trust up,” he said when asked about his transition to the team. “[I] kind of got thrown in and took it and ran and sometimes that’s just what you’ve got to do with your opportunities.”

“Brooks was great,” said Bradford of his home debut. “Ever since he’s been plugged in, he’s done really well. The guys have a good confidence with him and he’s able to make some plays…so I’m excited for him.”


With four goals in July and his outstanding decision-making with and without the ball, Oalex Anderson earned Player of the Month honors. Anderson has found a new freedom and joy in his role with North Carolina this season, helping his club go undefeated in July and moving up to second place in the 2023 Golden Boot race.


North Carolina FC heads back up the road to Richmond for one last regular season matchup in 2023 on Saturday, August 19. They return home on August 26 to take on Northern Colorado Hailstorm. You can get tickets at

North Carolina FC (4-4-2): B. Thompson; C. Lue Young, G. Fernandes, D. Garcia, N. Flores Blanco; R. Somersall, M. Maldonado, L. Pérez (L. Arriaga 62’), R. Mentzingen; O. Anderson, G. McLaughlin© (M. Flick 83’)

Greenville Triumph SC: J. Mazzola; N. Shultz, N. Franke, B. Fricke, E. Lee (J. Smith 69’); L. MacKinnon (L. Coutinho 69’), N. Pilato, A. Gavilanes (J. Labovitz 83’), A. Walker© (V. Evans 83’); T. Shaw, L. Castro

North Carolina FC: 2
Greenville Triumph SC: 1

North Carolina FC: G. McLaughlin (unassisted) 54’; L. Pérez (unassisted) 56’
Greenville Triumph SC: L. MacKinnon (A. Walker) 36’

North Carolina FC: none
Greenville Triumph SC: T. Shaw (YC) 45+1’;

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