By Charlottetowne Hops FC
Charlottetowne Hops FC welcomed the visiting 865 Alliance for the Hops’ inaugural home match at the CSA OrthoCarolina Sportsplex in Pineville, NC on May 13. Hops head coach Morteza Ebrahimi, on the strength of adding several players to the roster, was able to make four changes to his starting lineup from last week’s 3-1 loss to Apotheos FC, including a trio of French players. Midfielder Thomas Brulay, winger David Imbert, and midfielder Jordan Da Costa all would have a massive impact on the outcome of Saturday’s match.
The Hops got on the score sheet early, with Imbert scoring in the game’s 12th minute on a strike from just inside the box and into the upper right corner that 865 goalkeeper Darrin De Meza could do nothing about. Twelve minutes later, Jamie DiLuzio got onto the score sheet, after assisting on the club’s first-ever goal last week, to bring Charlottetowne’s lead to 2-0.
The Hops were controlling the match with 865 barely able to attack. Possession and the lead were very much in favor of Charlottetowne, and it looked like they were heading into the break with the clean sheet. However, 865’s Jean-Pierre Elyze-Vital found the back of the net for the visitors right before halftime to cut Charlottetowne’s lead to just one goal.
The Hops sought to take the air out of the ball to start the second half, fending off a few early attacks from 865 Alliance before getting their two-goal cushion back in the 71st minute. Da Costa fired from far outside the 18-yard box, and De Meza parried it away. The ball only went as far as Charlottetowne defender Joe Pickering, who headed the ball past the flailing goalkeeper to push the Hops’ lead to 3-1.
That’s where the game would finish. Charlottetowne finished with a few late substitutions, a luxury they didn’t have on matchday 1, and continued possession in spite of 865 Alliance’s attempts to get back in the game. The match earned Charlottetowne Hops FC its first three points as a club and gave 865 Alliance its first loss of the season.
Photo Credit: CJ Hellner