Fort Lauderdale CF earned a 1-2 win on the road against North Carolina FC. The team was led to victory at WakeMed Soccer Park by a first-half goal from Mitch Curry and a late winner by Edison Azcona.
Fort Lauderdale opened the match with a few changes to the starting XI; Sami Guediri joined the team on loan from Inter Miami and slotted into the starting lineup, while Brian Rosales was called upon to play as a center back. Guediri featured alongside Inter Miami teammates as USL League One Player of the Month nominee George Acosta also started in midfield and Josh Penn started on the wing.
Fort Lauderdale was forced into an early substitution after a collision prevented Guediri from continuing; the team brought on Ignacio Poplawski, moving Harvey Neville from midfield to left back.
Despite the injury, the visitors started on the front foot, threatening on a number of occasions throughout the first half. In the 11th minute, a swift counter was initiated by a clever backheel pass from Shaan Hundal freed Venton Evans down the left wing, who struck a shot on the edge of the box that drew a save.
In the 30th minute, Fort Lauderdale found its breakthrough goal from a well-worked team move; a threaded pass by Evans from the right half-space found Christian Lue Young near the endline. The fullback then delivered a driven, low cross to Curry, who was waiting at the far post to turn the ball into the back of the net for a 0-1 lead. The goal marked Curry’s second in as many games, coming in his first two starts for the team. The assist was also Lue Young’s second of the season.
Five minutes later, however, North Carolina netted an equalizer; Jay Tee Kamara delivered a square ball across the face of goal to Selmir Miscic, who converted on the chance to make it 1-1.
In the 60th minute Fort Lauderdale made what would prove to be a crucial substitution, bringing on Edison Azcona for Shaan Hundal. The young winger was decisive late in the match, scoring a 91st minute winner; Penn received a pass wide on the right wing, cut onto his left foot and delivered precise cross to the center of the box, where Azcona had drifted into space and rose up to meet the ball, heading it towards the back post and past the keeper to make it 1-2 with just minutes remaining.
The team was able to maintain its lead through the final whistle, claiming a victory in its first-ever matchup with North Carolina FC. Stellar performances from a number of players, including goalkeeper Luis Zamudio and Rosales playing outside of his primary position, helped the team secure three points.
The team will be back in action on Wednesday, June 16 when it takes on Toronto FC II for the first of three consecutive matches against the Canadian opponents. The match will kick off at 7:30 p.m. ET at DRV PNK Stadium and air live on ESPN+.