North Carolina FC isn’t exactly the new kid on the block, but it never hurts to learn a little bit more about Bethlehem Steel FC’s next opponent.
Who is North Carolina FC?
Although North Carolina FC rebranded at the end of the 2016 season, they’ve been around in the League since 2006. Previously known as the Carolina RailHawks, North Carolina has a few trophies to their name and a history of challenging for championships. The club most recently won the NASL Supporters Cup in 2013 and 2011 before that. The club is still based out of Cary, North Carolina, just outside of Raleigh, and plays at WakeMed Soccer Park.
Although they have rebranded as North Carolina FC in 2016, they still maintain connections to their historical roots as the Carolina RailHawks. The RailHawks history features prominently in their organization and many fans of the original franchise still refer to the club as such.
North Carolina on the field
North Carolina FC is going to be a tough opponent this weekend for Steel FC, as both clubs are coming off victories over the weekend. North Carolina hosted defending USL champs Louisville City FC for their season-opening match over the weekend, downing the 2018 USL Cup Champions 4-1 and only giving up a goal in the last minute of second-half stoppage time. North Carolina showcased a host of dangerous attackers, with four different players notching goals in the opening match. Their defense shows minimal signs of weakness as well, being less than a minute away from recording their first shutout of the season.
Last season, 2019 Steel FC signee and former Union academy player Ben Ofeimu scored his first professional goal at North Carolina FC in a 2-1 Bethlehem win.
Steel FC hosts North Carolina FC at Talen Energy Stadium at 7:30 p.m. ET on March 16 for the club’s home-opener in its 2019 USL Championship.
Players to Watch
Marios Lomis – North Carolina FC’s first goal-scorer of the season created dangerous opportunities in his last match.
Thomas McCabe – Scored North Carolina’s second goal in their match against Louisville City FC and consistently causes problems for opposing defenses.
Alexandros Tabakis – An outstanding goalkeeper who was less than a minute away from maintaining a clean sheet in his first match of 2019.
Dave Sarachan – After a lengthy career in collegiate, national, and MLS coaching ranks, Dave Sarachan has taken the reins at NCFC this season. Sarachan was the interim US Men’s National team coach throughout most of 2018 before Gregg Berhalter was named as the permanent head coach. Previously, Sarachan has been an assistant with DC United, the USMNT, and LA Galaxy, and he won MLS Coach of the Year honors as the head man for Chicago Fire in 2003 when he won the Supporters’ Shield, the US Open Cup, and guided the Fire to the MLS Cup final.