A brace from Zach Steinberger was enough to earn three points, but NCFC were able to nab a stunning consolation goal.
Adam Straith's powerful header off a first-half set piece ended as the deciding goal as FC Edmonton won 2-1 over Indy XI.
A piece of individual magic, and an inch-perfect set piece handed Miami FC and Puerto Rico FC a point apiece in NASL action.
With the score locked at 1-1, Bill Schuler latched onto a superb cross to hand North Carolina the stoppage time winner.
The Chicago Fire, Houston Dynamo and Columbus Crew SC will open the U.S. Open Cup on the road against lower-division opponents.
Miami FC stay top of NASL thanks to their 3-2 win over Indy Eleven, with Robert Kcira's luscious effort the difference.