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Just more than 18 minutes into the second half a through ball in front of North Carolina's 18-yard-box forced goalkeeper Jacob Wescoe to charge off his line.

No Tar Heel defenders were in a position to help with the clearance" leaving Wescoe in a kind of no man's land.

""It's not a good feeling when the ball goes by" Wescoe said. You're the last guy back there and when it goes by you I mean" what can you do?""

Hard to say. Wescoe was unable to clear the ball" which allowed Demon Deacon forward Cody Arnoux to chip in for a score tying the game.

And the barrage was not over.

Five minutes later Wake Forest had netted two more goals giving them a lead they would never relinquish.

A 4-2 result in WFU's favor would seem odd after witnessing the first 45 minutes; a period in which the Tar Heels could do no wrong.

They allowed no shots no corner kicks and most importantly no goals.

Double teams were well executed clearances from the back were timely and practically every header or loose ball was gathered by a Tar Heel.

But when playing an undefeated — and No. 1 nationally ranked — Wake Forest squad" 45 minutes is not enough.

""Wake is very skilled at what they do" they're very dynamic senior defender Ryan Adeleye said. They're a team that finishes their chances. If you're not focused and fall asleep for a couple seconds — well" we got punished for that today.""

After putting together their most dominating half of the season" the Tar Heels saw a different Demon Deacon squad take the field to start the second period.

Wake Forest's tactics hadn't necessarily changed but their execution finally was done correctly.

Mainly WFU began to take advantage of North Carolina's defensive alignment.

The Tar Heels play with four defenders in the back. Two out wide Zach Loyd and Jordan Graye and two inside Sheanon Williams and Adeleye. Generally the four line up in a tactical formation called the flat-back-four.

The basis of this structure is simple — to catch opposing players in an offside position. It prevents attackers from simply booming the ball over the defense because forwards usually react on judgment calls when the ball is played.

Still with all its positives the formation can be countered. The solution: through balls played on the ground from a closer range.

It would be the Tar Heels' fatal flaw and when they finally realized their weakness" it was too late.

""In the second half" we were a little bit more stretched out. We took a couple chances as far as offsides were concerned. We should have dropped back a little more Adeleye said.

Two of Wake Forest's second-half goals occurred on through balls — one directly leading to a score and the other setting up a penalty kick that was then converted.

We wanted to keep our lines tight and narrow down the gaps between our defenders coach Elmar Bolowich said.

We were just making a few critical errors. We got our stride after a while" but then it was too late.""



Contact the Sports Editor at sports@unc.edu.


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