GREENSBORO, N.C. – North Carolina scored a pair of early goals to jump out to an early lead on its way to a 3-0 win over UNCG in men's soccer exhibition play in front of a crowd of 3,064 Saturday night at UNCG Soccer Stadium.
Kirk Urso scored twice and Alex Dixon had two assists to pace the Tar Heels, who are ranked in the top 5 of all three preseason polls, including No. 1 by TopDrawerSoccer.com. The Spartans settled in after the two early goals and played well in spurts. North Carolina wound up with a 16-12 advantage in shots.
"I think what we learned tonight is that if we make mistakes against a good team, they are going to punish us for it," said UNCG interim head coach Justin Maullin. "We made two mistakes early and they punished us. One of the things we try to tell our team is to let the game settle and I don't think we did a good job of that tonight."
Urso opened the scoring at 2:11 with a goal off Dixon's feed. A turnover by the UNCG defense led to a Tar Heel breakaway. Dixon dished off when he was contested on the left side and Urso knocked it home from just inside the 18 for the early 1-0 advantage.
Dixon had the helper again just over eight minutes later. His pass from the left side this time found Bruno Castro, who beat goalkeeper Peyton Ford for a 2-0 North Carolina lead.
Justin Maullin addresses the media after Saturday night's game.
UNCG had a chance to get on the board midway through the first half as it settled down. Mahdi Ali made a great feed to Duke Garner, but Garner made one move too many and the Tar Heel defense recovered to knock away an attempted shot.
Ford made a great save on a penalty kick early in the second half. After Ford was called for a foul chasing down a loose ball, cutting out Billy Schuler's legs, Schuler lined up to take a penalty kick. Schuler went to Ford's right and he guessed right, knocking the ball down.
UNCG had another great chance to get on the scoreboard with just over 20 minutes left to play. A ball through box found its way to Pete Kurowski, who was alone on the nearside post. But Kurowski popped it just wide.
Urso closed out the scoring at 82:19. After a foul in the box gave the Tar Heels another penalty kick, Urso blasted the ball into the bottom nearside corner, beating the diving Ford.
UNCG had a 6-2 advantage in corner kicks. The Tar Heels played the final 47:38 shorthanded after Stephen McCarty picked up his second yellow card of the night with 2:38 left before halftime.
The Spartans, who finished the preseason 1-1 after beating No. 11-ranked Duke last Saturday, open the regular season at home on Wednesday night, hosting in-state rival Charlotte at 7 p.m.
Goals by period 1 2 Tot
North Carolina...... 2 1 - 3
UNCG................ 0 0 - 0
SCORING SUMMARY: UNC Urso (Dixon) 2:11; UNC Castro (Dixon) 10:15; UNC Urso (penalty kick) 82:19. Shots: North Carolina 16, UNCG 12; Saves: North Carolina 5 (Scott Goodwin 5), UNCG 7 (Peyton Ford 7); Corner Kicks: UNCG 6, North Carolina 2; Fouls: UNCG 20, North Carolina 12.
- UNCG -