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Talking Points - Week 11

By ETHAN TRIEBSCH -, 06/02/23, 1:15PM EDT


Northern Colorado, Charlotte enjoying solid starts to second League One season

The Hailstorm extinguish Fuego FC, Charlotte challenge its Dogwood Derby rival at the top of the table, Greenville rally for an unlikely result, and more from a busy week of League One action.

Here are the biggest takeaways from Week 11 of the 2023 League One regular season.

1. Hailstorm off to Historic Start with big home win

Northern Colorado continued its strong start to its second season, dismantling fellow 2022 expansion side Central Valley in the former's home opener and first match at Future Legends Complex.

"We didn’t win a home opener last year across our three temporary venues last season," Hailstorm Head Coach Éamon Zayed said. "We lost two and drew one, so it was good to end that streak."

The Hailstorm capped off an undefeated, 3-0-0 May with the victory thanks in large part to breakout stars Lalo Delgado in goal and Trevor Amann up top. The strong month confirmed Northern Colorado's third unbeaten month across its last four, its fifth consecutive unbeaten match at home and its 10th total unbeaten match across its last 11.

"I’m just confident," Amann mentioned following his third brace in his last four matches. "I’m a striker in form at the moment, pretty much everything I shoot goes in."

2. Jacks tame Red Wolves for First Time

With table-topping North Carolina FC the lone club that abstained from Week 11's action, the Charlotte Independence's big 3-0 victory over Chattanooga Red Wolves SC means the Jacks are level on points with their Dogwood Derby rivals.

The Indepdence's victory, - it's largest win since October 2022 and first-ever against a Chattanooga side that has historically dominated Charlotte - has the second-year League One side off to its best start to a season since 2018.

"We had a good week training, and we came in with confidence from last week’s game against North Carolina," stated Charlotte Independence Head Coach Mike Jeffries. "We definitely wanted to push the tempo early and be able to press. I think it was fantastic that we had a great early goal from Joel [Johnson]. That kind of opened the game up for us a little bit."

“To be up 2-0 at halftime, we’ve never been there before this year so it’s nice for sure,” Jefferies said. “I thought we did a good job managing the game. Austin, again, came up with a big play, and it’s nice to get goals from a couple of different people. Also, to keep the strikers getting goals was a big plus.”

3. Devin Boyce enjoys return to Werner Park

Kicking off a largely disappointing week for an underperforming Union Omaha side even with Noe Meza's Player of the Week performance, Greenville Triumph SC rallied to erase a two-goal deficit at Werner Park and force a 3-3 draw.

"Credit to Omaha – they played extremely well," said Greenville Head Coach John Harkes. "They’re a well-organized side and we gave up a few balls in some bad spots, but what a great effort from our guys tonight to respond and keep fighting. We showed grit, determination, and resilience tonight, and what a great trio of goals from Leo [Castro], Devin [Boyce] and [Jacob] Labovitz."

Now 0-19-2 all-time in matches when trailing by two goals, Greenville's impressive draw was sparked by former Omaha star Devin Boyce who excelled in his first match back at Werner Park since downing Greenville in the 2021 USL League One Final. Boyce's two goal contributions were the first since his assist in the 2021 final.

"It feels fantastic," Boyce said of the result. "Sometimes in this sport, the hard times tend to last longer than the good, so to be able to get my first goal for Greenville and do it against my old side is a special feeling. I’m just happy we could get a get a point out of it and show a lot of resilience coming back. I’m really proud of the guys."

4. Everything else

    • A solid performance for both sides, Knoxville's three-match unbeaten streak means the first-year League One side is off to one of the best starts for an expansion side in league history.
    • Despite 2022 MVP and Golden Boot winner Emiliano Terzaghi on the field and the return of 2022 USL League One Final MVP Kazaiah Sterling, the pair of League One originals ended in a defensive 1-1 draw.
    • The 'Mingos secured the all-time series lead (3-2-6) against Omaha with a big 2-1 victory despite being outshot 21 to 3.

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