The Red Wolves travelled to North Carolina to play North Carolina FC in rain-soaked conditions in a crucial battle for playoff positioning. The first half started slowly under poor weather conditions, with North Carolina opening the scoring in the 14th minute, as the home side scored first off a corner kick.
Tim Trilk would come up big 10 minutes later to deny North Carolina with a big stop to keep the score line within one. After a flurry of chances went begging the Red Wolves would finally find the equalizer in the 36th minute, as super Jonathan Ricketts turned home a beautiful Ricky Ruiz corner kick with a diving header. The league leader’s 9th assist on the season and Ricketts scoring his fourth goal of the campaign would even the score at 1-1.
The second half would start in favor of the hosts, as Aziel Jackson fired past Trilk in goal on an assist from Luis Arriaga to put NCFC up 2-1. However, down 2-1 the away side would turn up the heat in a big way, equalizing six minutes later through Jorge Luna, with Daniel Navarro doing well to assist the goal following a dangerous corner kick.
Three minutes later, the Red Wolves would turn the screw as Rey Ortiz played a delightful ball across the box and Marky Hernandez slammed it home to give the Red Wolves their first lead of the game at 3-2. Obleda’s side would win a penalty 10 minutes later, but Red Wolves Captain, Jose Carrera-García, was unlucky to find the back of the net.
It was all Red Wolves in the final 25 minutes creating chance after chance with a relentless high press and terrorizing front line. Juan Galindrez would come on and find himself unlucky not to score, as his first effort was met with a save and the rebound went clattering off the bar. Rey Ortiz also went close late on with a gorgeous bended effort that once again was saved by the outstretched glove of McGuire in goal.
With one last chance in 5 minutes of stoppage time NCFC found themselves with a chance in the middle of the box, but the Red Wolves backline stood tall and did well to close out the space and secure a hard fought three points in tough conditions on the road. The win moves the Red Wolves to 43 points, remaining in second place just one point behind Union Omaha and eight points clear of defending champions Greenville Triumph for an all-important first round playoff bye.
The Red Wolves return to CHI Memorial Stadium Saturday, October 16th at 7 PM EST as the home side welcomes Toronto FC II to Chattanooga.