4 first time players are back among them, a co leading goal scorer in Robert Kristo, the others are backline players, Sam Brotherton, Alex Comisa, & Caleb Duvernay. This group accounted for a heady 6.856 minutes, a dozen goals and 4 assists and they went to the USL Championship playoffs with ex-USMNT HC Dave Sarachan who we were lucky enough to meet after their US Open Cup game at St. John's.
Kristo had previously played in Europe, VFL Osnabruck of Germany and a pair of Italian sides Tuttocuolol and Fideles Andria, then 25 games for NCFC. His average of .95 goals per 90 minutes topped the league of those with at least 800 minutes. He had half a dozen goals coming in off the bench and closed out the year with a goal in each of the final 4 games netting 5 times.
The pair of 22 year olds when acquired, Sam & Alex put up the best defensive numbers for the team since 2011 with 10 shutouts and a GAA of just 1.09. Sam of New Zeland had 2,784 minutes, for 2nd place on the team. During this, his first pro season as he came over from Sunderland in England, he led the defense with a trio of goals over 31 games, topping the team in clearances with 142, blocks with a total of 21 and arerial duels won at 104.
Comsia, out of UNC and a NCFC U-23 veteran, had all his games as starts, missing 6 with a jaw injury. Our of Vancouver he logged 2,389 minutes with 81 clearances, 20 blocks, 32 interceptions and an assist not bad for an ACC Defensive Player of the Year.
Caleb a Cary native, was great with the NCFC Academy and U-23's and was key for Sarachan's debut season at the helm from his left back spot in his debut pro season. Out of NC State, he had 14 games, half a dozen in a row from 6/15-7/17 with 829 minutes and 9 starts. June 22, he had his assist facing St. Louis FC on June 22. March saw him get a goal against Necaxa FC in the 2-1 win over the top tier club of Mexico.