By Jordan Shim —
Fifth-ranked men’s soccer suffered their second defeat of the season, falling 3-2 to NC State on senior day.
A second-half brace by Mo Thiaw gave the Cards the lead with 10 minutes to go, but the Cards conceded two goals late for the NC State to pull off the upset.
“We had some good chances. But it’s difficult to win when you’re giving up three goals,” coach Ken Lolla said.
NC State struck first in the 32nd minute on the counter. After dispossessing Louisville, the Wolfpack sprinted the other way. David Leora cut inside from the right flank and found Manny Perez streaking to the goal with a fantastic through ball. Perez outpaced Ziyad Fekri and fired past Louisville goalkeeper Will Meyer, ending Louisville scoreless streak of 563 minutes.
NC State did everything to thwart Louisville’s pressure and went into the break with a 1-0 lead.
Tate Schmitt had a golden opportunity in the 50th minute with a free header, but NC State goalkeeper Leon Krapf came across the goal and made a tremendous save to hold onto the goal advantage.
Louisville got their equalizer in the 58th minute via a penalty kick. Off of a long throw-in by Tim Kubel, Thiaw drew the foul. Thiaw placed the spot kick to the left post for his seventh goal of the season.
Thiaw gave the Cards the lead in the 79th minute off a fantastic shot from a tight angle.
NC State terrorized Ziyad Fekri with pace all night long and exploited the freshman for the second, three minutes after conceding. Perez played a through ball to Loera, who beat Fekri to the ball. Loera connected his cross to Clayton Sparks, who finished to the far post from close range.
With the game looking to head to overtime, the Wolfpack tested Fekri with pace, and it paid off. Perez beat Fekri after gathering a through ball and tapping in the game winning goal with two minutes to go.
Lolla said they could have made adjustments.
“Had I had to do it over again, I probably would have changed the shape a little bit at the end having gone up a goal. And I told them I take responsibility for that. We didn’t change shape to preserve the game, and it cost us,” Lolla said.
The Cards are on the road for the regular season finale taking on No. 7 Clemson. Kickoff is slated to begin at 7 p.m.
You can follow Jordan on Twitter @tlcjordanshim.