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Match Previews - 9.2.2023 | 9.3.2023

By Staff, 09/02/23, 1:30PM EDT


Trio of high-stakes contests wrap up Week 25

First vs. Last With Plenty to play for

Matchup: North Carolina FC (13-5-5, 1st) vs. Central Valley Fuego FC (5-15-4, 12th)
Venue: WakeMed Soccer Park; Cary, N.C.
Kickoff: Saturday, Sept. 2; 4 p.m. ET
Weather: Sunny, 84°
Broadcast: ESPN+
Hashtag: #NCvCV
Series (First Meeting): 2-2-0 (2022)

  • Trust the process: Chasing its first regular season title since 2013, North Carolina FC is now guaranteed to finish above 11th place in what will be its best finish since at least 2019.
  • Turning it around late?: After struggling to find the back of the net for much of the season, Fuego FC has netted seven goals in its last two matches - the most in the league in that span.
  • What's at stake: With Omaha taking the week off, North Carolina will retain their top spot regardless of result. A Central Valley win, though, could see Fuego FC move out of last place for the first time in nearly a month.
  • David Garcia (NC): Enjoying a productive first professional season, Garcia netted his first professional goal for NCFC on Saturday. The Spanish defender also tallied seven recoveries, five duels and two fouls won.
  • NC: F - Shak Adams (out), GK - Nicholas Holliday (out, injury), M - Kyrome Lumsden (out), D - Daniel Navarro (out, injury), M - Pecka (out, injury)
  • CV: GK - Ofek Antman (out, injury)

League One Originals Face off in Chattanooga

Matchup: Chattanooga Red Wolves SC (5-14-6, 11th) vs. Forward Madison FC (10-7-7, 6th)
Venue: CHI Memorial Stadium; Chattanooga, Tenn.
Kickoff: Saturday, Sept. 2; 7:30 p.m. ET
Weather: Sunny, 82°
Broadcast: ESPN+
Hashtag: #CHAvMAD
Series (First Meeting): 3-3-6 (2019)

  • Making 'Mingo history: Two wins away from confirming their most successful season in club history, the ‘Mingos are closing in on their first postseason appearance since the club and league’s inaugural 2019 season.
  • Defensive woes: Chattanooga have all the pieces to be a solid contender. Unfortunately, the Red Wolves’ league-high 49 goals allowed have stunted their success.
  • Even playing field?: Tending to play down to the level of their opponents, the ‘Mingos are just 2-2-1 in their last five contests which have all come against clubs below the playoff line. What's more, the 'Mingos have only defeated the Red Wolves once across the pair's last five meetings.
  • Christian Chaney (MAD): Chaney confirmed his seventh career brace in a homecoming match against his former side, Central Valley Fuego FC. The Fresno native guided a 10-man ‘Mingo squad to a 4-4 draw in his hometown to earn Player of the Week recognition.
  • CHA: M - Christian Enriquez (out, injury), D - Manuel Madrid (out, injury), D - Richard Rentería (out, injury)
  • MAD: M - Julio Benitez (out, injury), M - Isidro Martinez (out, injury), D - Timmy Mehl (out, injury)

Hailstorm, Independence clash in Colorado

Matchup: Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC (11-5-7, 3rd) vs. Charlotte Independence (11-7-7, 4th)
Venue: Future Legends Complex; Windsor, Colo.
Kickoff: Sunday, Sept. 3; 6 p.m. ET
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 87°
Broadcast: ESPN+
Hashtag: #NCOvCLT
Series (First Meeting): 3-2-0, NCO (2022)

  • Back to winning ways: A much-needed victory for the Hailstorm - their first since July 22 - over first-place North Carolina is huge in the second-year side’s quest for the Players’ Shield and a playoff berth.
  • Triple threat: Across five previous matchups, Northern Colorado and Charlotte have netted an even 10 goals. Trevor Amann, Dane Kelly and Irvin Parra are tied for the series lead with three goals apiece.
  • Second place on the line: A pivotal match in the race for the Players' Shield, a draw would see the pair retain their current position in the table. A potential victor, though, would surpass Omaha and slot into second place heading into Week 26.
  • Arthur Rogers (NCO): Now just two shy of setting the League One record for most assists in a single season, Rogers provided a pair of helpers across a pair of Week 24 contests for Northern Colorado. The Londoner also added 13 recoveries, nine duels won, six duels won, five chances created, two blocks and completed 87% of his 102.
  • NCO: M - Valentín Sabella (out, injury)
  • CLT: None reported

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