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Carolina Core FC Defeats Nova FC 3-2 in U.S. Open Cup First Round

Pachittoo Polanco (1 goal, 1 assist) stars as CCFC defeats Nova FC 3-2 at home in Lamar Hunt US Open Cup First Round


Greensboro, North Carolina (March 21, 2024) – Carolina Core FC defeated USL League-Two side Nova FC 3-2 on Thursday night at UNCG Stadium. 

Carolina Core FC Against Nova FC 

Thursday’s match marked CCFC’s entrance into the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, competing as one of eleven MLS NEXT Pro teams. 

Goal-Scoring Plays

CCFC – Drake Hadeed, 18th minute: NoVa defender, Nicolas Blassou, attempted to clear his lines, but the ball deflected off of Drake Hadeed and landed in the back of the net. 

NOVA – Noah Holmes, 34th minutes: Noah Holmes scores a left footed shot off the post and into the bottom left corner of the goal.

NOVA – Alex Abril, 40th minutes: Alex Abril scores a right-footed shot to the top right side of the goal. Assisted by Michael Medina on a cut back pass to the penalty spot.

CCFC – Pachittoo Polanco, 50th minute: Pachittoo Polanco scores the equalizer off of a rebound with a right footed shot to the top left corner of the goal. The goal is Pachittoo Polanco’s second goal in all competitions.

CCFC – Josuha Rodriguez, 82nd minute: Josuha Rodriguez scored a left footed shot from the center of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Pachittoo Polanco.

Postgame Notes

  • First U.S. Open Cup Match
  • Drake Hadeed makes history scoring first U.S. Open Cup goal 
  • Pachittoo Polanco becomes first CCFC player to score in multiple competitions
  • CCFC vs. NoVa ESPN Box Score


Carolina Core FC competed in its first ever U.S. Open Cup match against Northern Virginia FC at UNCG Stadium in Greensboro, NC. The team recorded its first win in club history, coming back from 2-1 to secure a 3-2 victory over NOVA FC. 16-year-old Antigua and Barbuda international Drake Hadeed (18’) opened the scoring with his first ever professional goal. Pachittoo Polanco would then score the equalizer (50’), marking his second goal in as many games. In the 82nd minute, Josuha Rodriguez would find the net to secure the victory after running onto a backheel flick by Polanco. Rodriguez used his left foot to slot the ball into the bottom right corner of the goal, giving Carolina Core FC its first ever win as a franchise.


Drake Hadeed, making just his second professional appearance at 16 years old, marked a significant milestone in his professional career by scoring his first professional goal and the first U.S. Open Cup goal in CCFC history. Included in the starting lineup for the first time, Hadeed made an immediate impact in the game, finding the back of the net in the 18th minute. 


Pachittoo Polanco found the back of the net in his second consecutive appearance for CCFC. In his first start for the club, Polanco found the equalizer (50’) with a right-footed shot into the top left corner of the goal. Pachittoo has now scored in MLS NEXT Pro and the U.S. Open Cup, with two total appearances. Polanco also recorded a game-winning assist in the match, setting up Josuha Rodriguez in the 82nd minute. 


Carolina Core FC — Alex Sutton; Juan Pablo Rodriguez, Kai Thomas, Christian Diaz (Ibrahim Covi – 45'); Joni Bazaes (Jeremiah White IV – 75’), Facundo Canete, Jesus Orejuela, Drake Hadeed (Jacob Evans – 45’), Derek Cuevas; Pachittoo Polanco (Angel Aguas – 87’), Tyler Freeman (Josuha Rodriguez – 45’).

Substitutes not used — Robert Bailey, Federico Stachuk 

Nova FC — Bill Hamid; Nicolas Blassou, Oniel Fisher, Andrew Iglesias (Agwie Chunga – 86’), Michael Medina (Isiah Dorsey – 58’), Alton West (Badr Laghjibi – 58’); Daniel Akinkoye, Akingbolahan Akinkoye (Nicolas Likulia – 58’), Adrin Kofi; Noah Holmes, Alexander Abril (Alex Kryazhev –75’)

Substitutes not used — Jake Langley, Mike Akinkoye, Christophe Koffi,, Nicolas Blassou, Karl Mbouombouo 

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 U.S. Open Cup 

Nova FC at Carolina Core FC

Thursday, March 21, 2024 – UNCG Stadium (Greensboro, NC)

Goals by Half            1      2      F

Carolina Core FC      1      2      3

Nova FC                    2      0      2    

Scoring Summary: 

CCFC: Drake Hadeed – 18’

NFC: Noah Holmes– 34’

NFC: Alex Abril(Michael Medina) – 40’

CCFC: Pachittoo Polanco – 50’

CCFC: Josuha Rodriguez (Pachittoo Polanco) – 82’

Misconduct Summary:

NFC: Michael Medina (caution) – 16’

NFC: Mike Akinkoye (caution) – 37’

CCFC: Derek Cuevas (caution) – 43’

CCFC: Facundo Canete (caution) – 48’

NFC: Adrin Kofi (caution) – 79’ 

CCFC: Pachittoo Polanco (caution) – 80’

CCFC: Josuha Rodriguez (caution) – 83’

Referee: MJ Tehini

Assistant Referees: Ian Watson, Travis Poole

Fourth Official: Robert Leonard

Weather: Sunny, 62 degrees

Attendance: 1,511 

All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial


Head Coach Roy Lassiter

On the U.S. Open Cup match win …

“It feels really good. I think we made this a harder job than it needed to be. NoVa is a good, older, and more experienced team, with a very experienced goalkeeper. I've known him (Hamid) for a long time, so I knew that some of our shots on him weren't going to fly, but they (NoVa) came out and gave us a good game. The energy we brought in the second half really helped us turn the game around. We'd been down before and came back, which speaks to how resilient this team is. They're always going to keep going.”

On the supporter’s energy…

“The supporters keep coming out, helping us, and cheering us on, which keeps us in the game. They stay in the game the entire time, regardless of the score. The fans' energy in Charlotte (vs. Crown Legacy) was contagious, and it’s great to see that same energy now at home. The energy just builds our confidence as a team. It's only been two games, and we've got some things to work on, but that's normal. We're just going to keep driving away, taking it game by game.”

Forward Pachittoo Polanco

On being a part of something new…

“It's fantastic. It’s not just the players that make this work. From the coaches, to the staff, to the front office, to the fans. We're (the players) just a part of it. Everyone is just putting their grains of sand into this.”

On what it means to compete in the historic Open Cup…

“There's no really top or bottom teams in this tournament. Every team comes out to compete, and tonight we did that. We didn't come out underestimating anyone, and we knew we had to get a win no matter what. This is a beautiful cup to play in; it's the oldest cup competition in the US. It feels great to get the first win in our history, not only for us but also for the fans. For me personally, being able to get a goal and an assist in this match is beautiful.”

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