North Carolina FC (5-2-1, 1st) will be eager to bounce back from a disappointing Week 9 loss as it faces the Richmond Kickers (2-1-4, 7th) at WakeMed Soccer Park on Wednesday evening. Among clubs that have played seven or more matches, North Carolina and Richmond are the only sides to lose just once through their last seven matches.
While North Carolina has controlled the overall series, Richmond has won two straight against NCFC and even won its last contest against the side with a pair of stoppage-time scores. That said, NCFC is 5-1-0 against the Kickers at WakeMed Soccer Park and has outscored the Roos 17-9 at home.
A win for NCFC would mark the first time a team that finished in last place has defeated the Players' Shield winner in the subsequent season. For the Kickers, a victory would see them vault into second place.
NC - Rafa Mentzingen: Currently leading the Golden Boot race, Mentzingen has already matched a career-best six goals in a single season (2019, 2022) through just eight matches. NCFC is 5-0-0 when Mentzingen finds the back of the net.
RIC - Nathan Aune: Aune scored his second goal in three matches and helped the Kickers erase a two-goal deficit against Greenville in the second half last week, earning Team of the Week recognition.
NC: D - Luke Crull (questionable, fitness)
RIC: D - Dakota Barnathan (questionable, injury), F - Ethan Vanacore-Decker (out, injury), M - Nil Vinyals (questionable, injury)