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Match Previews - 6.3.2023

By Staff, 06/02/23, 4:00PM EDT


League's second-ever six-match day set for Saturday


Venue: American Legion Memorial Stadium; Charlotte, N.C.
Kickoff: 5 p.m. ET
Weather: Mostly sunny, 88°
Hashtag: #CLTvOMA
Series (First Meeting): 1-1-2 (2022)

Seeking its first victory over Omaha since the pair first met back in April 2022, the Charlotte Independence (5-2-4, 2nd) will hope to extend their win streak to three as they host Union Omaha (2-2-5, 9th) on Saturday afternoon. Omaha's squad - just one of two winless clubs in May - looks good on paper but has struggled to close out matches. The difference for Charlotte has been Austin Pack in goal who has filled in incredibly well following Adrían Zendejas' special 2022 season between the sticks. A win for Omaha would snap a four-match winless streak and likely push the Owls above the playoff line, while a Charlotte victory could see the Jacks surpass NCFC at the top of the table.


CLT - Austin Pack: The only goalkeeper to keep a clean sheet in Week 11, Pack tallied six saves in Charlotte’s 3-0 victory over Chattanooga to add to his league-leading 43 saves to earn his spot on the Team of the Week.

OMA - Noe Meza: Meza scored twice and assisted once in Omaha’s 3-3 draw with Greenville to be named Player of the Week. Across two Week 11 contests, Meza won five duels, created four chances and led the league with 0.68 goals added, according to American Soccer Analysis.


CLT: M - Bachir Ndiaye (out, injury)

OMA: D - Stefan Mueller (questionable, injury)

Greenville Triumph SC vs. South Georgia Tormenta FC

Venue: Paladin Stadium; Greenville, S.C.
Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET
Weather: Mostly sunny, 85°
Hashtag: #GVLvTRM
Series (First Meeting): 9-5-2, TRM (2019)

No pair of clubs have faced off in more League One matches than Greenville Triumph SC (3-5-2, 8th) and South Georgia Tormenta FC (4-5-1, 6th) whose second meeting of the season will be the 17th all-time clash between the League One originals across all competitions. While Greenville and South Georgia haven't won a match since May 3 and May 5, respectively, the Ibises haven't lost to Triumph SC since May 2021 and haven't lost a match in Greenville since August 2020. Kazaiah Sterling - the series' all-time leading scorer with four goals - is off the injury report and ready to go after playing his first full match of the season a week ago. For Greenville, its highest-scoring player in series history and leading scorer from a season ago, Jacob Labovitz, will look to build on his Week 11 performance that saw the second-year pro bag his first goal of the season.


GVL - Devin Boyce: In his first match at Werner Park since winning the 2021 League One title, the former Owl recorded his first goal contributions since that match, tallying a goal and assist to help Greenville rally back for a draw against his former club.

TRM - Nick Akoto: Akoto recorded his first professional goal to earn South Georgia a point against Richmond and himself a spot on the Team of the Week. The 24-year-old defender also registered eight duels won, five recoveries, three crosses completed and two clearances.


GVL: M - Lucas Coutinho (questionable, injury), D - Noah Franke (out, injury), D - Jamie Smith (out, injury), D - Aaron Walker (out, injury), M - Tevin Shaw (out, injury)

TRM: F - Kingsford Adjei (questionable, injury), M - Matheus Cassini (out, injury)

Lexington SC vs. Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC

Venue: Toyota Stadium; Georgetown, Ky.
Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET
Weather: Partly cloudy, 84°
Hashtag: #LEXvNCO
Series (First Meeting): N/A (2023)

2023 expansion side Lexington SC (2-5-2, 10th) will host 2022 expansion club Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC (4-1-2, 4th) on Saturday evening. In three matches since May 13, Northern Colorado have earned nine points with three consecutive victories - a club record - while Lexington have picked up just four points in that span. Lexington's first-year growing pains may be extended as the Hailstorm bring in one of the league's most potent offenses and stout defenses. Historically, the Hailstorm have also had success against clubs that have joined the league since 2022 going a combined 6-2-0 against Central Valley, Charlotte and Knoxville.


LEX - Tate Robertson: Robertson registered his third assist of the season – the most amongst defenders this year – to help Lexington to a 1-1 draw with Knoxville on Saturday and record his first Team of the Week appearance.

NCO - Trevor Amann: Now leading a tight Golden Boot race, the Colorado native has fittingly become the Hailstorm’s all-time scoring leader with his third brace in his past four matches.


LEX: None reported

NCO: F - Irvin Parra (questionable, personal)

Richmond Kickers vs. Chattanooga Red Wolves SC

Venue: City Stadium; Richmond, Va.
Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 74°
Hashtag: #RICvCHA
Series (First Meeting): 8-3-1, CHA (2019)

Meeting for the first time since a dramatic encounter in the 2022 USL League One Playoffs that went the way of the Red Wolves, the Richmond Kickers (3-2-5, 5th) will be confident in their ability to extend their unbeaten streak to three as they host a struggling Chattanooga Red Wolves SC (2-5-2, 11th) side at City Stadium on Saturday evening. The Red Wolves have historically dominated the Kickers with an all-time advantage of 8-3-1. Still, the Red Wolves have only defeated the Kickers twice in their last five meetings and picked up the fewest points in the league in May (1).


RIC - Justin Sukow: The 24-year-old midfielder tallied his second goal of the season with the league's second-ever Olimpico, securing a draw with South Georgia on Saturday.

CHA - Moe Espinoza: While Espinoza may be unavailable come Saturday, the 2022 League One All-League Second Team selection leads his side in assists with two and has been a solid contributor when on the pitch.


RIC: D - Dakota Barnathan (questionable, injury), M - Zaca Moran (out, suspension), F - Ethan Vanacore-Decker (out, injury)

CHA: M - Moe Espinoza (questionable, injury), M - Christian Enriquez (questionable, injury), M - Yahir Paez (out, injury), M - Andrew Paoli (out, injury), D - Alex Tejera (questionable, injury), D - Mekeil Williams (questionable, injury)

One Knoxville SC vs. North Carolina FC

Venue: Regal Soccer Stadium; Knoxville, Tenn.
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET
Weather: Partly cloudy, 84°
Hashtag: #KNXvNC
Series (First Meeting): N/A (2023)

A big test for both clubs awaits at Regal Soccer Stadium on Saturday evening as One Knoxville SC (4-3-3, 3rd) will host first-place North Carolina FC (6-3-1, 1st) in the pair's first-ever meeting. Knoxville, already having secured the best position in the table by an expansion club after 11 weeks in league history, will take on a club at the top of the table for the first time. While this will be the highest-ranked opponent Knoxville has faced this season, North Carolina are 1-14-3 with a -24 goal differential against clubs positioned third or higher in the table since joining the league.


KNX - Jan-Erik Leinhos: The German defender tallied his first professional assist to help Knoxville to a 1-1 draw with Lexington to go along with three duels won, three recoveries and the best passing score on the week with his 90% completion rate, according to American Soccer Analysis.

NC - Louis Perez: Perez was solid for NCFC across four May matches, tallying two goals and one assist in his side's six-point month.


KNX: D - Kyle McDowell (out, injury)

NC: D - Luke Croll (questionable, injury)

Forward Madison FC vs. Central Valley Fuego FC

Venue: Breese Stevens Field; Madison, Wis.
Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET
Weather: Partly cloudy, 81°
Hashtag: #MADvCV
Series (First Meeting): 2-0-1, CV (2022)

Forward Madison FC (3-1-4, 7th) will be eager to build off its recent victory against Omaha as it looks to knock off Central Valley Fuego FC (2-6-1, 12th) for the first time. Aside from a loss to arguably the league's brightest squad in Northern Colorado, Madison have defeated North Carolina and Omaha in the span of two weeks to build on its strong start to the season. Alternatively, Central Valley have struggled mightily early on, registering just two wins and a league-low 0.78 points per match. 


MAD - Stephen Payne: The former United States youth international tallied his first pair of goal contributions since joining Madison in the offseason, assisting both of FMFC’s two goals in the side’s 2-1 victory in Omaha.

CV - Villyan Bijev: The veteran Bulgarian finally opened his scoring account nine matches into the season, scoring late in Fuego FC's loss against Northern Colorado.


MAD: F - Andrew Wheeler-Omiunu (out, injury)

CV: GK - Ofek Antman (out, injury), F - Cherif Dieye (out, injury)

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