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Match Previews - 8.26.2023

By Staff, 08/24/23, 9:15PM EDT


High-stakes, six-match slate set for Saturday night

League One Heavyweights clash in South Carolina

Matchup: Greenville Triumph SC (10-7-6, 5th) vs. Union Omaha (11-5-7, 2nd)
Venue: Paladin Stadium; Greenville, S.C.
Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET
Weather: Scattered thunderstorms, 88°
Broadcast: ESPN+
Hashtag: #GVLvOMA
Series (First Meeting): 2-2-5 (2020)

  • History in the making?: The Owls are two wins shy of topping Lansing Ignite FC’s all-time league record of six consecutive victories which has sat untouched since 2019. Omaha’s five consecutive victories are the most in club history and the longest win streak across the league since Oct. 2021.
  • Hot summer for Greenville: Greenville has enjoyed a special summer with a 7-2-5 record and +8 goal differential across its last 14 matches.
  • Home advantage?: A battle of 2020 and 2021 USL League One finalists, Greenville will aim to claim its first-ever victory over Union Omaha at home.
  • Jacob Labovitz (GVL): Labovitz bagged his third goal of the season on Wednesday to lead Greenville over Chattanooga, 2-1. Coming off a 12-goal season, Greenville is solid when Labovitz finds the back of the net; Triumph SC is 7-2-2 when the second-year professional scores.
  • GVL: GK - Jared Mazzola (questionable, injury), D - Tyler Polak (out, injury), D - Jamie Smith (probable, injury)
  • OMA: F - Noe Meza (questionable, injury), D - Stefan Mueller (out, injury)

Lexington, Richmond Look to get back on track

Matchup: Lexington SC (6-11-6, 10th) vs. Richmond Kickers (6-9-9, 9th)
Venue: Toyota Stadium; Georgetown, Ky.
Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET
Weather: Partly cloudy, 83°
Broadcast: ESPN+
Hashtag: #LEXvRIC
Series (First Meeting): 1-0-1, RIC (2023)

  • Performing below expectations: With the most points won below expected across the league (6.1), according to American Soccer Analysis, Lexington has struggled to hang on to leads and close out matches.
  • Slow season in Richmond: At 1.1 points per match, the Kickers are on pace to record their least productive season since 2018. While Richmond have put together a third consecutive season of 30 or more goals, the difficulties have come on the defensive end of the pitch; the Kickers have conceded the most goals in their League One history (37) even with eight matches remaining.
  • Players' Shield holders in 10th?: The Kickers haven't earned a victory since July 1. Win or draw, the Kickers will remain in ninth, but a loss to Lexington would see the Players' Shield holders fall to 10th in the table.
  • Nil Vinyals (RIC): Vinyals produced his third consecutive match with an assist, helping Simon Fitch open the scoring for Richmond late in its match against North Carolina.
  • LEX: None reported
  • RIC: F - Ethan Vanacore-Decker (out, injury)

Early season contenders aim to cement place near top of table

Matchup: North Carolina FC (13-4-5, 1st) vs. Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC (10-5-7, 4th)
Venue: WakeMed Soccer Park; Cary, N.C.
Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET
Weather: Isolated thunderstorms, 87°
Broadcast: ESPN+
Hashtag: #NCvNCO
Series (First Meeting): 2-1-1, NCO (2022)

  • Double-digit streak: Riding its longest unbeaten streak since 2011, North Carolina’s 10-match unbeaten run is just the sixth time in League One history a club has gone undefeated in 10 or more consecutive matches.
  • Time to right the ship: The good news for the Hailstorm is that they are tied for the most matches remaining in the league. The bad news is that the second-year side is winless across a club-record six.
  • Staying on top: Due to its four-point lead atop the table, NCFC is guaranteed to remain on top through the end of Week 24. A much-needed Northern Colorado win, though, could see the Hailstorm work their way up to second by the end of the week.
  • Oalex Anderson (NC): Enjoying a career season in Cary, Anderson’s seventh career brace propelled NCFC to a big win against his former Richmond side and has tied the St. Vincent and the Grenadines international with Trevor Amann with a joint-league-high 17 goal contributions.
  • NC: GK - Nick Holliday (out, injury), M - Kyrome Lumsden (out), D - Daniel Navarro (out, injury), F - Nathan Ntalu (out), M - Pecka (out, injury)
  • NCO: F - Valentín Sabella (out, injury)

Red Wolves, Ibises set for 2022 USL League One Final rematch 

Matchup: Chattanooga Red Wolves SC (5-14-5, 11th) vs. South Georgia Tormenta FC (9-11-4, 7th)
Venue: CHI Memorial Stadium; Chattanooga, Tenn.
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET
Weather: Partly cloudy, 90°
Broadcast: ESPN+
Hashtag: #CHAvTRM
Series (First Meeting): 7-4-2, TRM (2019)

  • Offensive outpouring: Now confirmed as the highest-scoring season in club history for the Ibises, a leaky South Georgia defense won’t really matter if the offense continues to overproduce.
  • History for the wrong reason: On track to exceed North Carolina’s all-time league record of 53 goals conceded set just a season ago, the Red Wolves’ defense and goalkeeping have let the team down.
  • Don't call it a comeback: The 2024 Red Wolves have accumulated the joint-second-most points gained from a losing position (16) and are tied for the fewest points dropped from winning positions (0) in league history.
  • Kazaiah Sterling (TRM): The defending Player of the Week tallied his seventh multi-goal match of his career in a 4-2 thrashing of Madison at Tormenta Stadium before bagging another brace on Wednesday against Northern Colorado.
  • CHA: M - Christian Enriquez (out, injury)
  • TRM: D - Jake Dengler (questionable, injury)

Recent league newcomers battle to better playoff positioning

Matchup: One Knoxville SC (8-9-7, 8th) vs. Charlotte Independence (11-7-6, 3rd)
Venue: Regal Soccer Stadium; Knoxville, Tenn.
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET
Weather: Scattered thunderstorms, 88°
Broadcast: ESPN+
Hashtag: #KNXvCLT
Series (First Meeting): 1-0-0, KNX (2023)

  • Easy pickings?: With a solid position above the playoff line, the Jacks will savor the fact that five of their remaining eight matches will come against teams currently positioned below the playoff line.
  • Heating up at the right time: After a quick start to its first professional season was followed by a slow summer, Knoxville has started to put it together again with three wins across its last five matches. The only other clubs to earn more than nine points across their last five? First-place North Carolina and second-place Omaha.
  • Lots on the line: In one of the most intriguing Week 24 fixtures, a Knoxville victory would confirm the longest win streak in the club's professional history, while a Charlotte win could position the Jacks as high as second in the table.
  • Jalen Crisler (KNX): Crisler tallied his second helper of the season on Friday, assisting Angelo Kelly-Rosales' match-winning score to help Knoxville down Barrel Brawl rival Lexington. Across his three-year professional career, Crisler has helped his teams to a 4-0-3 record when recording a goal contribution.
  • KNX: None reported
  • CLT: None reported

madison Look to avoid slip-up in Chaney's Homecoming

Matchup: Central Valley Fuego FC (5-15-2, 12th) vs. Forward Madison FC (10-7-6, 6th)
Venue: Fresno State Soccer Stadium; Fresno, Calif.
Kickoff: 10:30 p.m. ET
Weather: Sunny, 91°
Broadcast: ESPN+
Hashtag: #CVvMAD
Series (First Meeting): 3-1-1, CV (2022)

  • Playing down to their competition: The 'Mingos have dropped back-to-back matches for just the second time this season, and in both instances, each loss was to a club below the playoff line. Madison are just 6-5-2 with a -3 goal differential against clubs outside of a playoff position and are set to face four consecutive opponents in such a position.
  • Not much time left to turn it around: Currently on pace to surpass Orlando City B’s 2019 all-time league record of 20 losses in a single season by one, Fuego FC’s second season has not gone according to plan. 
  • Trending up?: Finding themselves sitting just above the playoff line following back-to-back losses, a victory and a few other results on Saturday could see the 'Mingos fly back up to third place.
  • Christian Chaney (MAD): After setting Fuego FC's single-season scoring record in its inaugural 2022 campaign, Chaney is just one goal shy of doing the same for Madison following his one-goal, one-assist Week 23 performance for the 'Mingos.
  • CV: GK - Ofek Antman (out, injury)
  • MAD: M - Julio Benitez (out, injury)

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