A Dogwood Derby in the USL League One Final
Matchup: No. 2 North Carolina FC vs. No. 4 Charlotte Independence
Venue: WakeMed Soccer Park; Cary, N.C.
Kickoff: Sunday, Nov. 5; 5 p.m. ET
Weather: Sunny, 70°
Hashtags: #NCvCLT | #USLPlayoffs | #DogwoodDerby
Series (First Meeting): 8-8-2 (2015)
- That tastes like promotion: Following back-to-back last-place finishes in its first two seasons in the league, John Bradford constructed a league-record, 33-point turnaround from 11th place in 2022 to second place in 2023. Competing for a title for the first time since the 2010 USSF Division 2 Professional League Final, North Carolina FC will look to cap off a stellar 2023 season with its first league final title ahead of a return to the USL Championship in 2024.
- A crown for the Queen City: The Charlotte Independence are a win away from becoming the first professional sports team in Charlotte to win a league title since the Charlotte Eagles won the 2005 USL Second Division Final. Just the second No. 4 seed to reach the league's crowning match, the Jacks have joined Greenville, North Texas and Omaha as the only clubs in league history to reach the USL League One Final within its first two seasons in the league.
- End of an era: Dating back to the 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, the Dogwood Derby - the rivalry match between North Carolina FC and the Charlotte Independence - currently sits at an even 8-8-2 record over its nine-year history. Now being played on the biggest stage yet in what could be the last matchup for some time, the Dogwood Derby edition of the USL League One Final will be just the second professional league final in American soccer history contested by a pair of in-state opponents.
- Everything on the line: After a record-breaking season, the 2023 USL League One Final will guarantee a fifth unique champion in the league's fifth season, and either North Carolina or Charlotte will claim a league final crown for the first time in their combined 26-year histories.
PLAYER TO WATCH
- F - Oalex Anderson (NC): The Player of the Year finalist and All-League First Team forward doubled his career scoring total with 17 goals in 2023. The St. Vincent and the Grenadines international will look to lift his first trophy since winning MLS Cup 2016 with Seattle Sounders FC.
- NC: M - Pecka (out, injury)
- CLT: D - Clay Dimick (out, injury)
TEAM MATCH PREVIEWS