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Homegrown Standouts Lead NCFC Past Necaxa

By Staff, 03/23/19, 6:46PM EDT


Panchot, Duvernay, Perez all feature in 2-1 victory against Liga MX side in exhibition

North Carolina FC had plenty to celebrate in a 2-1 victory against Liga MX's Necaxa in an international exhibition on Saturday afternoon as part of the Friendship Cup doubleheader. | Photo courtesy Rob Kinnan / North Carolina FC

CARY, N.C. – North Carolina FC capped off a historic Friendship Cup doubleheader with an electric 2-1 victory against Liga MX’s Club Necaxa on Saturday afternoon at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park. The victory was the second of the day for the club as the NWSL’s NC Courage rolled to a 4-0 preseason win against league rivals Orlando Pride in a preseason exhibition earlier in the afternoon. It was also NCFC’s fourth victory all-time against Mexican opposition.

NCFC hit the ground running and in just the second minute a shot by Manny Perez flashed by the post. Just two minutes later, Austin Panchot had a great opportunity saved, but those early opportunities set the stage for what was to come next from the hosts.
North Carolina first took the lead in the 20th minute as Panchot cleaned up a deflected ball in the box as he ripped his shot off the crossbar and into the net. Perez started the play with a cross into the penalty area and Dre Fortune’s opening attempt was deflected to the waiting Panchot.
Five minutes later, NCFC struck again on a clinical counterattack. The play once again started with United States U-20 international Perez as he found space on the right wing. His well-placed cross was met by a running Caleb Duvernay, who chipped his shot over the Necaxa goalkeeper as the duo who had previously played together collegiately at North Carolina State after coming through the NCFC Youth Academy connected perfectly.

Both sides continued to entertain into the second half, but Necaxa pulled a goal back in the 67th minute when Pedro Campos found a gap in the NCFC defense and scored on a shot from close range off a pass by Ricardo Marín.

Left to defend a one-goal lead, NCFC bolstered its backline with the introduction of Aaron Guillen and Alex Comsia. The duo helped see out the rest of the game on the backline with some help from goalkeeper Darrin Macleod, who came up with several big saves in the game’s final minutes.

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