Greenville, SC - The Greenville Triumph played to a 0-0 draw in a Saturday night showdown with North Carolina FC. Tonight's match marked the third meeting with North Carolina FC, with the two sides set to meet once more in the season finale. After tonight's draw, Greenville continues to lead the series 2-0-1 and remains undefeated at home during the 2021 season.
Dallas Jaye was put on a cued rest from Head Coach John Harkes, which allowed for Washington native and former MLS Cup champion Paul Christensen to record his first start with the Triumph. Christensen made two massive saves inside the six yard box that helped Greenville earn a clean sheet. Midfielder Max Hemmings was also given an extended rest out of tonight's starting XI, but was subbed on midway through the second half. Veteran Don Smart also made a second-half return after missing time with a hamstring injury.
"It was exciting getting my first start," said Christensen. "It's about preparation which I had the week to do and then getting to play on the field with the guys, they make it easy. All I did was to do my job and help our team stay at zero."
Overall, it was an uneven performance from the Triumph. Defensively, head coach John Harkes felt the game-plan execution just wasn't there in tonight's 0-0 draw. The Upstate side had moments of quality especially through the first half but the final part of the attack was where Greenville lacked.
"Some of the ideas that we discussed coming into this game weren't executed tonight. At this level, there's never an easy game. You can have one player off or two players off, but when you have three or four players off that becomes a challenge," said Harkes. "We thought we would have more runs in the box and we had a limited number of shots on goal which is unlike us. It's got to be better, but this is an opportunity to reflect and build upon."
In the last match against North Carolina FC, the end was filled with chippy moments of play and unnecessary fouls. Lacking a fourth official, the last 10 minutes of this match were no different. However, Harkes' side did well to keep their composure, earn a point at home and log another clean sheet.
Greenville will look to remain undefeated at home in just one week's time, as the Triumph will host South Georgia Tormenta FC at 7:00pm on July 17th.