The fourth-ranked North Carolina men’s soccer team (11-2-1, 4-1-0 ACC) was riding a nine-game winning streak, the second-longest in program history, going into a match against No. 2 Wake Forest (11-1-0, 5-0-0 ACC) on Friday in Cary. But the Tar Heels hit a wall against the Demon Deacons.
“We just played fatigued, looked tired,” head coach Carlos Somoano said. “Wake Forest is not a good team to play tired against.”
Over 2,000 watched as Cam Lindley’s second-half free-kick strike wasn’t enough in North Carolina 2-1 loss in a match featuring the top teams in the ACC.
Omir Fernandez scored off of a pass to the right side of the box that left him open, and Jon Bakero provided the game-winner for the Demon Deacons on a cross into the middle of the box.
In a game featuring two of the highest-scoring offenses in the country, the first half was a defensive struggle until Fernandez netted one in the 39th minute. North Carolina came out strong in the second half, as Lindley fired a free kick one yard out of the box in the upper right corner in the 47th minute. Wake Forest goalkeeper Andreu Cases Munet didn’t budge.
The Demon Deacons wouldn’t go away quietly, though. Bakero’s game-winner in the 65th minute left his team as the only in the ACC without a conference loss.
The Tar Heels have some time to rebound, as their next outing is at Louisville on Oct. 13. The seventh-ranked Cardinals should provide another stiff test.
Somoano doesn’t quite see it in those terms; the schedule has been unrelenting, night in and night out in the ACC. “The last game was tough, this game was tough, the next game is tough, the one after that will be tough,” Somoano said. “I guess if you’re thinking there’s a tough one, then you got to convince me which one is the easy one.”
Good luck doing that.