The title for the first USL League One championship was awarded to NCFC through penalty kicks on

The title for the first USL League One championship was awarded to NCFC through penalty kicks on

CARY, N.C. – North Carolina FC has claimed the USL League One Championship with a nail-biting victory in penalty kicks (5-4) against the Charlotte Independence, after a tied score of 1-1 at WakeMed Soccer Park on Sunday night. Raheem Somersall was awarded the Final MVP for his role in leading NCFC to their first league final championship and second title in the team’s 17-year existence.

After allowing a goal in the initial period of added time, North Carolina FC tied the game in the 112th minute with a deflected shot from Somersall that hit the crossbar, bounced off Independence goalkeeper Austin Pack’s back, and rolled into the goal in front of an enthusiastic supporters’ section, leading to a penalty shootout.

During the penalty shootout, Brooks Thompson made a crucial save in the second round of penalties while all other players successfully scored their shots, including Luis Arriaga who sealed the victory in the fifth round and sparked the celebration.

Hector Acosta of Charlotte left the 4,458 attending fans feeling solemn when he scored the winning goal in the 99th minute. He headed in a corner kick from Luis Álvarez at a short distance.

The additional back-and-forth play occurred after a full ninety minutes, but it was not sufficient to determine a winner between the in-state foes. Charlotte had a slight advantage in shots attempted, 19-15, but the home team had more shots on goal, putting the Independence’s goalkeeper to the test five times.

In the 29th minute, Charlotte appeared to have a chance to score first despite being outplayed, as they made a second attempt from a corner kick. However, Mikey Maldonado and David Garcia teamed up to stop the shots as they made their way through a crowded group of players.

The first half was cautious, with a score of 0-0. Both teams had similar numbers of shots, with Independence in the lead at 8-7. They both scored twice.

In the 54th minute, Garrett McLaughlin made a remarkable attempt at scoring, causing the Independence goalkeeper to make a great save. This happened after Oalex Anderson headed the ball down at the back post.

Match Notes

North Carolina has managed to score in their past 22 games of the season, marking their longest streak of scoring in the competition since at least 2019/2020.

NCFC completes an impressive transformation from last place to first in their last year in USL League One. They will now move up to the USL Championship, the second tier of professional soccer in the United States, starting in 2024.

Box Score:

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Substitutes Not Utilized: Daniel Navarro, Tor Saunders, DJ Benton, Max Flick

CLT (4-2-3-1): Austin Pack, Avionne Flanagan, Nick Spielman, Héctor Acosta, Joel Johnson, Omar Ciss, Bachir Ndiaye (Rayan Djedje – 91’), Tresor Mbuyu (Fabrice Ngah – 112’), Gabriel Obertan (Brad Dunwell – 112’), Miguel Ibarra © (Luis Álvarez – 81’), Khori Bennett (Dane Kelly – 75’)

Unused Substitutes: Shalom Dutey, Matt Levy



CLT: 1


“The North Carolina Football Club scored a goal in the 111th minute, but it was an own goal by A. Pack.”

CLT: H. Acosta – 99’ (L. Álvarez)


In the first round of the competition, D. Kelly from CLT scored successfully, while L. Perez from NCFC also scored successfully.

Second round (1-2) – CLT: J. Johnson (kept out), NCFC: J. Servania (scored)

In Round Three (2-3), CLT’s H. Acosta had a successful outcome, while NCFC’s D. Navarro also achieved success.

Fourth Round (3-4) – CLT: L. Alvarez Escoto (wins), NCFC: M. Maldonado (wins)

In the fifth round of competition, N. Spielman was successful for the CLT team and L. Arriaga was successful for the NCFC team in the CLT vs. NCFC match-up.


NCFC: L. Perez scored in the 86th minute and N. Ntalu scored in the 108th minute.

CLT: A. Flanagan – 71’, T. Mbuyu – 88’



CLT: –

Attendance: 4,487