Northern Colorado came home to play their first game in the altitude.
Greeley, Colo. – The long awaited home opener in Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC history was a night to remember. Playing host to North Carolina FC, it was the second time these two have met up in the first months of the USL League One season. Jackson Stadium at the University of Northern Colorado played host as the temporary home for Northern Colorado to start the season.
After 16 minutes of both teams feeling each other out, the first clear chance of the game was finished by Showkat Tahir. The shot was deflected by keeper Johan Peñaranda but it wasn’t enough to be kept out. Seeing the Hailstorm fail to score first for the first time in league play. A few minutes later North Carolina followed it up with a chance to double their lead, with one of their forwards rounding Peñaranda. However, he wasn’t able to find a target with his cross and the threat came to nothing.
Denso Ulysse was able to draw a foul just outside the box to set up an Arthur Rogers free kick. Rogers put the attempt at target just over the bar and it remained 1-0.
The crowd was brought to life when a ball was sent in for Irvin Parra. On a counter attack in the 37th minute, Parra chested the ball down and without hesitating one timed a shot that one would assume will be a goal of the week contender. It was Parra’s team leading fourth goal of the season and brought the game back to level terms.
Just under ten minutes out of the halftime break, the Hailstorm came with a flurry of attacks on the North Carolina goal. The first came from a Rogers corner and was put on target by Parra but right at keeper Will Pulisic. A moment later Danny Robles launched a powerful shot but it was blocked out by the defense. On the other end Peñaranda made a sprawling save to clear the ball off the line and do his part in keeping it all square.
The match would end up 1-1 with both teams taking a point home from the first game to be played in Northern Colorado. “I think overall disappointed not to get the win. I thought we started off slow for whatever reason,” said head coach Éamon Zayed. “I feel like the biggest thing initially was when we went down and when did we equalize. I thought when they scored, it was a good reaction from us.”
Opening in 2022, the 118-acre Future Legends Complex will feature two stadiums, multiple baseball diamonds and multi-purpose fields, an indoor sports arena, lodging, and retail; and will host guests for major sports tournaments, events, leagues, and more.