The No. 4 North Carolina men’s soccer team (3-1-1, 0-1-0 ACC) dropped its first match of the season, losing 4-0 on the road at No. 15 Pittsburgh (3-2-0, 1-0-0 ACC) on Friday night.
Pittsburgh came out of the gates quickly to take an early lead in the 11th minute, and followed up with another goal eight minutes later to stretch the lead to two goals almost midway through the first half.
Looking to gain some offensive momentum, UNC substituted in several offensive players before the halftime break, but could not muster any scoring. In the 36th minute, another shot got past goalkeeper Alec Smir to give the Panthers a three-goal advantage heading into halftime. As a result, North Carolina made several substitutes in an attempt to gain control of the game,
The Tar Heels continued to struggle in the second half, as the Panthers quickly scored once again just two minutes in. Despite several shots on goal from UNC, this early second half goal would be the last goal of the game, resulting in a shutout 4-0 win for Pittsburgh.
Who stood out?
Despite not finding the back of the net, fifth-year forward Santiago Herrera was productive for the Tar Heels, co-leading the team in shots attempted with four. Fellow fifth-year forward Gerit Wintermeyer also chipped in four attempts.
In an attempt to make a comeback bid, substitutes were involved early and often, as Lucas del Rosario, Chris Sullivan, Ernest Bawa and Cameron Fisher also came in to fire shots at the keeper.
Although the Tar Heels lost, they outshot the Panthers, 16-8.
When was it decided?
After Pittsburgh scored in the 11th minute, the Panthers quickly gained control of the game. After that, the Tar Heels were in a hole too deep to dig out of, as Pittsburgh continued to build on its lead.
Why does it matter?
As the No. 4 team in the country, North Carolina has had a strong start to their 2021 season, suffering no losses so far in the regular season before tonight and only having one tie against Virginia Commonwealth.
The Tar Heels who showed up in Pittsburgh tonight were not reminiscent of the team that has dominated opponents in the early part of the season. North Carolina will have to make several changes from their performance against the Panthers to continue its previous success.
When do they play next?
The Tar Heels will return to Dorrance Field on Tuesday to face off against Campbell (2-1-1) at 7 p.m.
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