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Match Previews - 9.9.2023 | 9.10.2023

By Staff, 09/09/23, 3:15PM EDT


All 12 teams in action and in contention for postseason berth

Charlotte look to increase Playoff Odds in Clash with Chattanooga

Matchup: Charlotte Independence (11-8-7, 4th) vs. Chattanooga Red Wolves SC (6-14-6, 11th)
Venue: American Legion Memorial Stadium; Charlotte, N.C.
Kickoff: Saturday, Sept. 9; 7 p.m. ET
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 74°
Broadcast: ESPN+
Hashtag: #CLTvCHA
Series (First Meeting): 2-1-2, CHA (2022)

  • Bouncing back from a blowout: While the Red Wolves handed the Independence their largest loss ever in the pair's first meeting (7-1!), the series has been an even 1-1-2 since that point with Charlotte maintaining a +1 goal differential.
  • Moving down?: The Red Wolves will remain in 11th through the end of the week regardless of result, but a Charlotte loss paired with victories by Greenville and Madison could see the Jacks drop as far as sixth place.
  • Live to see another day?: Charlotte aren't able to clinch a postseason position just yet, but Chattanooga is in a position to be eliminated this weekend. A Red Wolves win or draw, though, would ensure they live to see another week. That may prove difficult, though, as the Red Wolves' leading scorer, Chevone Marsh, will be sitting this one out due to a yellow card accumulation suspension.
  • Mekeil Williams (CHA): The veteran Trinidad and Tobago international scored his first goal of the season - and fifth of his career - in match-winning fashion over Madison on Saturday. The 33-year-old defender registered 10 recoveries, eight duels won, six completed long balls and completed nearly 85% of his passes.
  • CLT: D - Clay Dimick (out, injury), M - Rayan Djédjé (out, injury), D - Fabrice Ngah (out, injury)
  • CHA: D - Nicolás Cardona (out, international duty), M - Christian Enriquez (out, injury), GK - Ricardo Jérez (out, international duty), D - Manuel Madrid (out, injury), F - Chevone Marsh (out, suspension), D - Richard Rentería (out, injury)

North Carolina Aim to maintain first place in Greenville

Matchup: Greenville Triumph SC (10-8-7, 5th) vs. North Carolina FC (14-6-5, 1st)
Venue: Paladin Stadium; Greenville, S.C.
Kickoff: Saturday, Sept. 9; 7 p.m. ET
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 75°
Broadcast: ESPN+
Hashtag: #GVLvNC
Series (First Meeting): 4-3-2, GVL (2021)

  • First in?: A North Carolina FC win is the first of three requirements NCFC will need to lock up its first postseason berth since 2019. In addition to a victory, NCFC will need Madison and Northern Colorado to claim victories.
  • Switching things up: Historically, Greenville have dominated North Carolina with its 4-3-2 record since the pair first met back in 2021. In the past four meetings, though, a revamped NCFC side has claimed three victories and conceded just one loss. A Greenville loss would mark the first time in club history that it has failed to record a single point against an opponent in a multi-match season series.
  • Smooth sailing: Greenville have the second-easiest remaining strength of schedule. After facing a big test against first-place NCFC on Saturday, one would expect Greenville to lock up a postseason position in the coming weeks.
  • Garrett McLaughlin (NC): Since slipping on the captain's armband eight matches ago, McLaughlin has helped NCFC to a 5-2-1 record with three goals and one assist.
  • GVL: D - Tyler Polak (out, injury)
  • NC: F - Shak Adams (out), GK - Nicholas Holliday (out, injury), M - Kyrome Lumsden (out), M - Raheem Somersall (out), D - Daniel Navarro (out, injury), M - Pecka (out, injury)

Critical Contest with Huge PLayoff Implications at Breese Stevens FIeld

Matchup: Forward Madison FC (10-8-7, 6th) vs. One Knoxville SC (9-9-8, 7th)
Venue: Breese Stevens Field; Madison, Wis.
Kickoff: Saturday, Sept. 9; 8 p.m. ET
Weather: Partly cloudy, 71°
Broadcast: ESPN+
Hashtag: #MADvKNX
Series (First Meeting): 1-0-1, KNX (2023)

  • Trading places: A potential victor in this one will move to sixth place, meaning Madison can retain its position above the playoff line with a win or Knoxville can jump back into a postseason position for the first time since June with a win.
  • Playing down to the competition: Madison has struggled this season against teams below the playoff line; the 'Mingos are 6-6-3 with a -5 goal differential against such sides. At the same time, Knoxville has also had trouble with teams in a postseason position; One Knox is 3-6-5 with a -4 goal differential.
  • Three of four: A pair of sides trending in different directions at a crucial point of the season, Madison has lost three of its last four while Knoxville has won three of its last four.
  • Jordan Skelton (KNX): The first-year Knoxville defender scored his first professional goal - the match-winning score in OKSC's victory over South Georgia. Skelton tallied 12 clearances, completed four long passes, won three duels, recorded three recoveries and helped his side limit the league’s highest-scoring offense to just one goal. 
  • MAD: M - Julio Benitez (out, injury), M - Isidro Martinez (out, injury), D - Timmy Mehl (out, injury)
  • KNX: F - Rodolfo Castro (out, suspension), D - Jalen Crisler (out, injury), D - Sean O'Hearn (out, injury), D - James Thomas (out, injury), M - Yesin van der Pluijm (questionable, injury)

Scorching-Hot Omaha look to deliver another blow to Players' Shield Holders

Matchup: Union Omaha (13-5-7, 3rd) vs. Richmond Kickers (6-10-10, 10th)
Venue: Werner Park; Papillion, Neb.
Kickoff: Saturday, Sept. 9; 8 p.m. ET
Weather: Partly cloudy, 80°
Broadcast: ESPN+
Hashtag: #OMAvRIC
Series (First Meeting): 3-2-3, RIC (2020)

  • Two totally different trends: In a matchup of the hottest team against the coldest, Richmond is riding a 10-match winless streak - its longest since closing out its tenure in the USL Championship with 10 winless matches in 2018 - and Omaha is enjoying the longest winning streak in club and league history at seven.
  • A lot on the line: An Omaha victory would extend its league and club-record winning streak to eight, even up the all-time series with the Kickers at 3-3-3 and position Omaha at the top of the table for the first time since Sept. 4, 2022 pending an NCFC loss or draw.
  • Still a chance: Still not out of the race for the postseason, the Kickers are in desperate need of a victory. A win in Omaha could position Richmond within a couple wins of a playoff position should a few other things go the way of the Players' Shield holders.
  • Pedro Dolabella (OMA): The second-year Brazilian midfielder has tallied four goal contributions across Omaha's seven-match winning streak. The 24-year-old recorded a goal and an assist in Wednesday's record-breaking victory over first-place NCFC.
  • OMA: M - Stefan Mueller (out, injury)
  • RIC: M - Kharlton Belmar (out, international duty), F - Ethan Vanacore-Decker (out, injury)

High-stakes meteorological matchup in Store for Sunday

Matchup: Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC (13-5-7, 2nd) vs. South Georgia Tormenta FC (9-12-5, 8th)
Venue: Future Legends Complex; Windsor, Colo.
Kickoff: Sunday, Sept. 10; 6 p.m. ET
Weather: Scattered thunderstorms, 67°
Broadcast: ESPN+
Hashtag: #NCOvTRM
Series (First Meeting): 2-1-2, NCO (2022)

  • Back to the top?: As long as North Carolina is not victorious against Greenville on Saturday, Northern Colorado would return to the top of the table with a victory over South Georgia.
  • Rogers' record-breaker: Even with Trevor Amann breaking Emiliano Terzaghi's record for most goals in a single season just last week, Hailstorm defender Arthur Rogers is just two assists and 11 chances created away from setting new single-season league records in both categories.
  • Still in it: Winless since Aug. 19, Tormenta FC are certainly in need of a victory in Windsor in order to better its position in the race to the postseason. A South Georgia win and Knoxville loss would position the defending champs at seventh place and just one spot shy of jumping back into the postseason conversation.
  • Noah Powder (NCO): A midseason addition to the Hailstorm, Powder has now matched a career-best five goal contributions in a single season thanks to a goal and two assists in Northern Colorado’s big Week 25 victory. The Trinidad and Tobago international also won eight duels and three tackles.
  • NCO: GK - Lalo Delgado (questionable, injury), F - Valentín Sabella (out, injury)
  • TRM: D - Nick Akoto (out, suspension), HC - Ian Cameron (out, suspension), D - Jake Dengler (questionable, injury)

Central Valley, Lexington desperate for last-minute postseason push

Matchup: Central Valley Fuego FC (5-16-4, 12th) vs. Lexington SC (7-12-7, 9th)
Venue: Fresno State Soccer Stadium; Fresno, Calif.
Kickoff: Sunday, Sept. 10; 10:30 p.m. ET
Weather: Clear, 89°
Broadcast: ESPN+
Hashtag: #CVvLEX
Series (First Meeting): 1-1-0 (2023)

  • Time running out: By the time Central Valley kicks off the final match of Week 26, the second-year side will know what's at stake. If Madison and Greenville win on Saturday, Central Valley must defeat Lexington in order to preserve its postseason hopes.
  • Home field advantage: With one win and four goals for each side in the even, two-match series, Central Valley will look to keep the home side's winning percentage at 100%.
  • Essentially a must-win: Lexington are not in a position to be eliminated in Week 26. Still, a victory would be incredibly helpful as LSC aim to extend its solid finish to its first season.
  • Terique Mohammed (LEX): The former Canada youth international recorded his third assist of the season on Wednesday to set a new career-high. Mohammed also led the league with his 12 duels won, four tackles won and four interceptions in Week 25.
  • CV: GK - Ofek Antman (out, injury)
  • LEX: None reported

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