Carolina Core FC Defeats Crown Legacy FC in Shootout to Secure two Points in MLS NEXT Pro debut

Carolina Core FC Defeats Crown Legacy FC in Shootout to Secure two Points in MLS NEXT Pro debut

Carolina Core FC defeated Crown Legacy FC 2-3 in penalty shootout

Matthews, North Carolina – Carolina Core FC (1-0-0, 2 points) defeats in-state opponent Crown Legacy FC (0-1-0, 1 points) on Sunday night at Mecklenburg County Sportsplex. Carolina Core wins an extra point by defeating Crown Legacy FC 2-3 in a penalty shootout.

Carolina Core FC Against Crown Legacy FC

Sunday’s match marked the first meeting between new in-state rival Carolina Core FC and Crown Legacy FC.

Goal-Scoring Plays

CLFC – Nicholas Scardina, 21st minute: Nicholas Scardina scores off a deflection from Alex Sutton’s right foot into the center of the goal.

CCFC – David Polanco, 91st minute: David Polanco scores a head into the bottom right corner of the goal. Assisted by Kai Thomas.

Postgame Notes

CCFC Inaugural Match
16-Year-Old Drake Hadeed Makes Professional Debut
Pachittoo Polanco Scores First Goal in CCFC’s History
MLS NEXT Pro Box Score


Carolina Core FC begins their first season in MLS Next Pro with a valuable extra point on the road after the shootout. Crown Legacy FC’s Nicholas Scardina opened the scoring in the 21st minute with a deflected strike to the center of the goal. However, in the first minute of stoppage time, David Polanco would score CCFC’s first goal with a header to the bottom right corner, after a phenomenal cross by Kai Thomas. It ended 1-1 in regulation, guaranteeing both teams with at least a point, but continued onwards to a penalty shootout. Carolina Core FC would secure the extra point, with Alex Sutton saving two penalties, much to the delight of the traveling supporters.


In the 80th minute, 16-year old Drake Hadeed made his professional debut. Entering the match for captain, Jacob Evans, the young midfielder added an attacking threat as CCFC pushed hard for an equalizer. Having already made his U23 and senior debuts for Antigua and Barbuda this past year, Hadeed looks to continue reaching milestones with CCFC and further developing as a professional.


With the Foxes chasing a much needed equalizer in the dying embers of the second half, CCFC pushed numbers forward and created a host of chances. In the first minute of stoppage time, Kai Thomas intercepted a pass in the center of the pitch and found himself with space to run into on the right flank. Kai sent in a curling cross to the far post where an unmarked David Polanco headed the ball into the bottom right corner of the goal. David makes history by scoring the first goal in Carolina Core FC’s history. This was David’s first goal of the MLS Next Pro season.


Carolina Core FC — Alex Sutton; Juan Pablo Rodriguez, Ibrahim Covi, Kai Thomas; Carlos Mario Diaz (Kiki Gregoire – 46′), Facundo Canete, Luis Lugo (Jesus Orejuela – 46′), Jacob Evans (Drake Hadeed – 80′), Jathan Juarez; Yekeson Subah (Pachittoo Polanco – 70′), Papa Ndoye (Tyler Freeman – 80′).

Substitutes not used — Robert Bailey, Angel Aguas, Jeremiah White IV, Aryeh Miller

Crown Legacy FC — Chituru Odunze; Julian Bravo, Jack Neeley, William David Sangoquiza Paredes, João Pedro Reginaldo; Philip Mayaka, Filip Mirkovic (Brian Carmona Romero – 71′), Cam Duke (Aron John – 71′); Nicholas Scardina (Dylan Sing – 78′), JahLane Forbes (Josue Rodrigues da Conceicao Cruz – 61′), Jonathan Nyandjo (Chandler Young – 78′).

Substitutes not used — Jean-Aniel Assi, Erik Peña Boardman, Nicholas Holliday, Assane Ouedraogo

Next Game

Carolina Core FC visits Atlanta United 2 continuing their start of the season road trip on Sunday, March 24 at Fifth Third Bank Stadium. The match kicks off at 3:00 PM ET on

2024 MLS NEXT Pro Regular Season

Carolina Core FC (1-0-2, 5pts) at Crown Legacy FC (0-0-3, 3pts)

Sunday, March 17, 2024 – Mecklenburg Sportsplex at Matthews (Matthews, NC)

Scoring Summary:

CLFC: Nicholas Scardina – 21′

CCFC: David Polanco – 90+1′

Misconduct Summary:

CCFC: Juan Pablo Rodriguez (caution) – 34′

CLFC: JahLane Forbes (caution) – 36′

CCFC:Ibrahim Covi (caution) – 48′

CCFC: Jesus Orejuela (caution) – 53′

CLFC: Filip Mirkovic (caution) – 64′

CCFC: David Polanco (caution) – 90+2′

Referee: Alyssa Nichols

Assistant Referees: Colin Ashley, Hillis Waddell III

Fourth Official: John Rush

Weather: Cloudy, 67 degrees

Attendance: 1,372

All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial


Head Coach Roy Lassiter

On general thoughts for the first match…

“Well, first of all, I thought the boys stayed in the game the whole entire time. It was a battle. Crown Legacy is a very, very good team, very experienced team, seasoned team. They had great movement and we had to deal with a lot of their moving parts that were on the field.

I thought we solved the problem out there on the field today and just kept going. We kept going, we kept fighting. We know that if we kept on going that something could happen, but we just could not stop. We couldn’t quit. We had to keep going. And sure enough, we had our opportunity and we capitalized on it. They had their moments too. They had their moments to even score again and we did well with it. So, I am really pleased with the boys’ effort today.”

On the team’s debut…

“It felt really good. Even if it didn’t come to pass that we won the game today, I thought there were a lot of good things that happened out on the soccer field today. Again, we’re playing against a seasoned team that’s been together for well over a year now and we’ve just been together for seven weeks. We’re a team that started from scratch. So, I thought that it was good. And I’m just, I’m happy that we got our win against the Crown Legacy team.”

Forward Pachittoo Polanco

On staying prepared after coming off the bench…

“First of all, I wanted to thank God, my parents, and everyone that’s been supporting me throughout this journey. Well, to be honest, it was a lot of the fans that came out and really supported the coaching staff. Everyone took it as a very important game. And most of all, it was mostly for the fans, for me, for the whole team, how important this first game was for us. And we knew we’re still in the game and we owe it to the fans and everyone involved.”

On the historic first goal…

“This goal, what this goal means to the club is another page written in the history book. First MLS Next Pro game, first goal. I’m just proud to be a part of it, and I am proud to be part of this fantastic team. And personally, it’s been a rollercoaster, to be honest. It was fantastic. And I couldn’t have imagined it better. Let’s go.”