No. 13 North Carolina men's soccer team (2-0-1, 0-0 ACC) experienced the first loss of the season against Florida International (2-0-1) 2-1, in Chapel Hill on Saturday night.
The Tar Heels maintained most of the possession since the beginning of the game and built their attacks from behind. North Carolina’s defensive line was high up the pitch and prioritized pressing high whenever they lost the ball to rapidly regain possession.
UNC had two goalscoring chances in the first 20 minutes of play from the lateral edges of the box, but it was the Panthers who scored first in their first true offensive chance they had 25 minutes into the game. A poor heading clear by junior defender Riley Thomas gave the ball away in a compromised position, and Florida International took advantage of the defensive mistake.
The second half saw a Tar Heel team that was less threatening and suffered more on the defensive end. The game became more disorganized as UNC lost a lot of the tactical structure it began the game with.
The second goal for Florida International came in the 17th minute of the second half, originating from a left-sided cross. North Carolina’s defensive fragility was seen again as the Panthers’ offense had time to take a touch inside the six-yard box and have a clear shot on goal.
Despite their struggles in the second half, the Tar Heels kept their heads up. North Carolina fired back with a goal as graduate midfielder Hilli Goldhar's strike from the edge of the box landed in the top right corner.
Even though UNC gave it all in the end, the ball did not find its way inside the net, and North Carolina dropped the game, 2-1.
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