One Knox SC Faces North Carolina FC in Thrilling 2-2 Draw

Photo by One Knox SC (@OneKnoxSC)

By Dominic Throngard

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – One Knoxville SC and North Carolina FC met at Knoxville’s Regal Soccer Stadium on Saturday for a contest that ended in a thrilling 2-2 draw.

The first half was chock-full of excitement with NCFC scoring early on from a rebound off the gloves of a great save by One Knoxville’s Sean Lewis and then One Knox eventually rallying back to go up 2-1 in the first half. The team looked on the back foot to start being caught out looking on the first goal, but then a header from Jalen Crisler off a free kick lit the unit up and they found their stride. The second goal came in the form of a beautiful counterattacking display capped off by a great shot that bounced off the keeper’s gloves and into the net. NCFC’s keeper Tor Saunders ended up coming off with an injury. The first half then ended with a bit of a scuffle after some rough play from North Carolina. 

The second half started with a literal bang as some fireworks unrelated to the contest went off across the river. North Carolina found the back of the net in minute 61 thanks to some fancy footwork getting the ball behind the backline and McLaughlin positioning himself well near the penalty spot to convert. The fireworks then continued literally and metaphorically throughout the second half with a variety of close calls for each side and cards flowing more freely than in a casino. Maldonado ended up exiting the game for NCFC after picking up his second yellow in stoppage. One Knox continued to throw everything they had forward trying to pick up the win, but NCFC held on in the end and walks away content with the point. 

After the match, man in charge Mark McKeever said, “It was a roller coaster, wasn’t it? Part of me is really disappointed, part of me is really proud we came back… I felt as though that we should’ve had a wee bit more quality to see the game out, so I’m disappointed in that regard.”

In regards to the season, he put it bluntly, “We have to start winning our home games. We needed that one.”

Looking forward to Northern Colorado he said, “The worst thing that could happen is to play another quality team like Northern Colorado, the best thing can happen is to play another quality team like Northern Colorado. There’s pros and cons there, but it’s a level field… I’m ready for it.”

One Knoxville takes on Northern Colorado Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. ET in Regal Soccer Stadium.