Venue: CHI Memorial Stadium; Chattanooga, Tenn.
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 66°
Hashtag: #CHAvOMA | #USLPlayoffs
It'll be a matchup of a top offense in Chattanooga Red Wolves SC (12-11-7, 4th) and a top defense in Union Omaha (10-7-13, 5th) as the 2022 USL League One Playoffs presented by Hisense kick off on Saturday evening. Omaha's quest to become the first back-to-back champion in league history will start in Chattanooga with the Red Wolves aiming to claim their second consecutive Quarterfinals victory after downing North Texas SC last year.
The reigning champions have struggled significantly down the stretch as the Owls have failed to pick up a win in nearly two months with their last victory coincidentally coming over Chattanooga on Sept. 3. For Chattanooga, the Red Wolves picked up the most points out of any playoff-bound team in their final three matches with a pair of wins.
The Omaha defense will likely have their hands full, especially if Golden Glove winner Rashid Nuhu is still sidelined with an injury. Omaha has averaged the lowest possession in the league at 45% compared to Chattanooga's league-best 53% meaning Omaha may need to hunker down for long stretches of the match. While those trends were prevalent in the pair's previous trio of meetings this season, Omaha was able to exploit Chattanooga's possessional grasp by scoring early or late against the Red Wolves.
CHA - Juan Galindrez: With the most goals in Red Wolves history and second-most in league history, Juan Galindrez will be hungry to build on his career-best 13 regular season goals. The Colombian led all regular-season goalscorers with a 0.73 goals per 90 minutes mark.
OMA - Rashid Nuhu: While Nuhu's status is yet to be determined, the back-to-back Golden Boot winner's presence always serves as a game-changer. The Owls conceded 0.91 goals per match and won 51% of their possible points with Nuhu but conceded 1.57 goals per match and won just 38% of their possible points without the Ghanaian standout.
June 4: Chattanooga 0, Omaha 1
July 30: Omaha 1, Chattanooga 1
Sept. 3: Omaha 2, Chattanooga 1
All-time series: 2-2-2 (2020)