North Carolina FC at Central Valley Fuego FC
Friday, May 5, at 10:00 p.m. ET | Fresno State Soccer Stadium | Fresno, CA
Social Media: @NorthCarolinaFC
CARY, NC (May 4, 2023) – Sitting atop of the USL League One table, North Carolina FC heads across the country to face Central Valley Fuego FC. Kickoff at Fresno State Soccer Stadium is set for Friday, May 5, at 10:00 PM ET. NCFC enters fresh off three consecutive victories, while CV Fuego has lost three straight.
Scouting Central Valley Fuego FC
It’s been a rough start to the season for CV Fuego, sitting bottom of the USL League One table after six matches. Fuego won its opener, taking down Chattanooga Red Wolves SC 1-0, but has failed to pick up a win since and have drawn just once. With two goals scored, Fuego has the lowest goal scoring output in the league this season, and have struggled to impose themselves in matches. Last time out, Fuego went down a man just nine minutes in, and held One Knox scoreless until stoppage time until 90+4’ minute dagger from Yesin van der Pluijm. As the season continues to unravel, picking up points is going to be imperative for Fuego if they want to remain in the USL League One Playoff conversation.
Players to Watch
North Carolina FC – Midfielder Mikey Maldonado
The only NCFC outfield player to play every minute of the league season, Mikey Maldonado has been imperative in the center of the park for North Carolina FC. Since arriving from Forward Madison in the offseason, Maldonado has undergone a shift from fullback to central midfield, where he has excelled. His touch maps show that he covers ground all over the field, and is rarely not involved in a sequence of play. Notably Maldonado has supplied two assists, but he’s been more involved on the defensive end disrupting opposing counter attacks and passing sequences. His midfield partner Luis Arriaga has been instrumental in his success, as the two have shown great chemistry through the first six league matches of 2023.
Central Valley Fuego FC – Midfielder Alexis Cerritos
Alexis Cerritos has been a versatile part of the CV Fuego attack in 2023, lining up in central midfield, on the wing, and as an attacking midfielder. The El Salvadorian international has been a creative outlet, with 16 passes into the final third, 13 dribbles completed, and four chances created. He hasn’t ventured into the box much, but he has played a big part in the build-up and transition play. Along with his attacking output, Cerritos has been active out of possession, winning 33 duels and four tackles on the season.
North Carolina FC returns to Cary after a two-week road stretch, hosting Forward Madison FC. The match is set for kickoff at WakeMed Soccer Park on Saturday, May 13, at 7:00 PM ET. You can watch the match, and all 2023 USL League One matches on ESPN+. You can also follow all of the action on North Carolina FC social platforms (@NorthCarolinaFC).