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Match Previews - 8.12.2023

By Staff, 08/11/23, 4:15PM EDT


All 12 clubs in action for third consecutive Saturday

Postseason Push continues in Charlotte

Matchup: Charlotte Independence (9-7-6, 5th) vs. South Georgia Tormenta FC (8-10-3, 7th)
Venue: American Legion Memorial Stadium; Charlotte, N.C.
Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET
Weather: Partly cloudy, 88°
Broadcast: ESPN+
Hashtag: #CLTvTRM
Series (First Meeting): 2-2-1 (2022)

  • On the road again: Saturday's match will serve as just the second time South Georgia have traveled to Charlotte. Last time the Ibises faced the Jacks at American Legion Memorial Stadium, the visitors emerged with a 2-0 victory.
  • Sterling season: Kazaiah Sterling - the all-time leading scorer in the series - has scored 25 goals across all competitions for Tormenta FC since joining a season ago. Only Ricardo Pepi's mark of a goal every 108 minutes tops Sterling's 119 across the League One regular season and postseason (min. 10 matches).
  • (Pack) Man on a mission: Tasked with containing Sterling, Charlotte goalkeeper Austin Pack leads the league with 80 saves on the season. The first-year starter is on track to set a new league one record of 116 saves - topping Akira Fitzgerald's record of 105 set a season ago.
  • Matheus Cassini (TRM): Cassini bagged the fastest goal in Tormenta FC history on Wednesday with his second-minute opener against Fuego FC. Cassini has already matched his goal total from a season ago (5) in half the time.
  • CLT: F - Khori Bennett (questionable, injury)
  • TRM: D - Jake Dengler (questionable, injury)

Now or never for Lexington, Central Valley

Matchup: Lexington SC (5-10-6, 10th) vs. Central Valley Fuego FC (5-13-2, 11th)
Venue: Toyota Stadium; Georgetown, Ky.
Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET
Weather: Scattered thunderstorms, 83°
Broadcast: ESPN+
Hashtag: #LEXvCV
Series (First Meeting): 1-0-0, CV (2023)

  • Stagnant Saturday: Regardless of result, neither Lexington nor Central Valley will be able to move up the table by the conclusion of Week 22. Still, a win will be critical to both's late-season push as the window to move up the table rapidly shrinks.
  • Time to put it together: Lexington's Ates Diouf has been named Player of the Week after his hat-trick performance in LSC's upset win at Northern Colorado. Lexington lead the league with five players named Player of the Week (Owen Green, Week 5; Amal Knight, Week 9; Ates Diouf, Week 12; Tate Robertson, Week 14)
  • Third-string 'keeper for Fuego FC: With goalkeeper Ofek Antman still out with a lingering injury plus Mitch North out serving a suspension, goalkeeping will be a big question come Saturday. Fuego FC maintains the second-worst goal differential (-14) and has accumulated the fewest clean sheets on the season (1).
  • Ates Diouf (LEX): Diouf tallied his first professional hat trick and the first in LSC history as he led Lexington to a remarkable, upset victory over Northern Colorado. The 23-year-old added 11 duels won, seven recoveries and five fouls won to his productive two-match week.
  • LEX: None reported
  • CV: GK - Ofek Antman (out, injury), GK - Mitch North (out, suspension)

Pair of Contenders meet at WakeMed

Matchup: North Carolina FC (11-4-5, 1st) vs. Greenville Triumph SC (9-6-5, 6th)
Venue: WakeMed Soccer Park; Cary, N.C.
Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET
Weather: Partly cloudy, 91°
Broadcast: ESPN+
Hashtag: #NCvGVL
Series (First Meeting): 4-2-2, GVL (2021)

  • POTM v. COTM: In a battle of two of the summer's hottest clubs, the recently announced Player of the Month, North Carolina's Oalex Anderson, will face the Coach of the Month, Greenville's John Harkes.
  • Solid on both ends: North Carolina and Greenville are two of the best when it comes to scoring and defending. North Carolina have scored 34 (2nd) goals to Greenville's 32 (T-4th), while both have conceded an even 25 (T-3rd).
  • Turning the tide?: While Greenville have controlled the all-time series with a 4-2-2 record and +4 goal differential, North Carolina's two wins have come within the last three meetings.
  • Leo Castro (GVL): The veteran’s surprise move to League One in the offseason has been paying dividends as the 34-year-old goalscorer is enjoying his most productive campaign since his 2015-16 season with Mamelodi Sundowns FC in South Africa. Castro recorded his second brace in as many weeks and won five duels and three recoveries in just 75 minutes of Week 21 action.
  • NC: F - Shak Adams (out, injury), D - Luke Croll (out, injury), GK - Nick Holliday (out, injury), D - Daniel Navarro (out, injury), F - Nathan Ntalu (out), M - Pecka (out), GK - Tor Saunders (out, injury), M - Jaden Servania (out, injury)
  • GVL: D - Tyler Polak (doubtful, injury)

Kickers look to turn things around in Chattanooga

Matchup: Chattanooga Red Wolves SC (4-12-5, 12th) vs. Richmond Kickers (6-7-9, 8th)
Venue: CHI Memorial Stadium; Chattanooga, Tenn.
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET
Weather: Partly cloudy, 74°
Broadcast: ESPN+
Hashtag: #CHAvRIC
Series (First Meeting): 8-5-1, CHA (2019)

  • Red Wolves dominance: In the pair's 15th all-time meeting - the most against any single opponent for Chattanooga - the Red Wolves will seek a ninth victory against the Kickers to avoid a season sweep. Still, Chatannooga's eight wins against Richmond is the most against a single opponent in the Red Wolves' five-year history.
  • History in the making?: The Kickers are riding their longest unbeaten streak since their debut 2019 League One campaign after going 0-3-3 across their last six matches.
  • Rough Red Wolves run: Following a promising win against Madison just over two months ago, the Red Wolves have gone a shocking 1-6-3 with a -11 goal differential. On track to concede the most goals in a single season in league history, Chattanooga needs more from its goalkeeping and defending.
  • Michael Hornsby (RIC): After knocking in North Carolina's go-ahead goal via a tough own goal, Hornsby redeemed himself - and then some - with a clutch first professional goal in the sixth minute of stoppage time.
  • CHA: M - Moe Espinoza (out, injury), D - Aarón Lombardi (out, injury), M - Alex Tejera (out, injury)
  • RIC: F - Ethan Vanacore-Decker (out, injury)

Madison welcome Knoxville to Breese Stevens FIeld

Matchup: Forward Madison FC (10-5-6, 2nd) vs. One Knoxville SC (6-9-7, 9th)
Venue: Breese Stevens Field; Madison, Wis.
Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET
Weather: Sunny, 81°
Broadcast: ESPN+
Hashtag: #MADvKNX
Series (First Meeting): 0-0-1 (2023)

  • Road woes: Set for its first visit to Breese Stevens Field, One Knoxville SC is an even 2-2-4 on first-time visits to new venues.
  • Da Silva debut: Former USYNT, MLS and USL Championship winger Pierre Da Silva made his Madison debut on Wednesday evening after signing with the club on Tuesday. He'll look to help a low-scoring 'Mingos side confirm their position in the upper half of the table.
  • Special season in Madison: The ‘Mingos have won the most points above expected (7.74) and have jumped up to second place following a pair of victories. On top of that, Madison is enjoying just its second-ever double-digit win season (2019) since its inception.
  • Stephen Payne (MAD): Adding to his most productive professional season, the former USYNT defender bagged the winning goal in the 90th minute against Chattanooga on Wednesday.
  • MAD: M - Julio Benitez (out, injury)
  • KNX: D - Kyle McDowell (out, illness), D - Sean O'Hearn (out, injury), D - James Thomas (out, injury)

High-stakes contest set for Windsor

Matchup: Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC (10-4-5, 3rd) vs. Union Omaha (9-5-7, 4th)
Venue: Future Legends Complex; Windsor, Colo.
Kickoff: 9 p.m. ET
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 80°
Broadcast: ESPN+
Hashtag: #NCOvOMA
Series (First Meeting): 2-2-2 (2022)

  • Johan time: Northern Colorado will be without Lalo Delgado for the first time this season as the Hailstorm's starting 'keeper was shown the first red card of his career following the conclusion of Wednesday's match. Johan Peñaranda - who excelled for the Hailstorm a season ago - will likely earn his first start of the season.
  • History in the making: In just his second professional season, Northern Colorado's Trevor Amann is three goals shy of setting a new single-season record for goals in a regular season at 19. The Westminster, Colo. native is on track to finish with approximately 26 goals.
  • Back in business: Despite a club-record three consecutive losses, a Northern Colorado win - among a few other things - could see the Hailstorm return to the top of the table. An Omaha victory could bump the Owls up to second place.
  • Shaft Brewer, Jr. (OMA): The RB Leipzig academy product helped Omaha snag a six-point week with his 10 recoveries, six duels won, three chances created and 86% passing accuracy. According to American Soccer Analysis, Brewer Jr.'s 0.42 goals added were the most among all defenders in Week 21.
  • NCO: GK - Lalo Delgado (out, injury), F - Irvin Parra (questionable, personal), F - Valentín Sabella (out, injury)
  • OMA: F - Noe Meza (questionable, injury), D - Stefan Mueller (out, injury)

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