North Carolina FC at Greenville Triumph
Saturday, September. 9, at 7:00 p.m. ET | Paladin Stadium | Greenville, South Carolina
Social Media: @NorthCarolinaFC
GREENVILLE, SC. (September 8, 2023) – North Carolina FC head to South Carolina for their third match in a week to face Greenville Triumph SC on Saturday, September 9, at 7:00 PM ET at Paladin Stadium. North Carolina is coming off the midweek loss yet are still atop the USL League One table with a 14-6-5 record.
North Carolina fell to second place Union Omaha, 4-3, during their midweek matchup at Werner Park. The Owls struck early with a set piece header to go up 1-0. However, Garrett McLaughlin equalized the match only moments later with a perfect ball played by Oalex Anderson, allowing him to chip the keeper. Right before halftime Omaha doubled their lead after a counterattack goal was conceded. The scoring didn’t stop for the Owls as they opened a 4-1 lead.
North Carolina answered back with long range sniper from Rafa Mentzingen to give NCFC some momentum in the second half. Nelson Flores Blanco was able to make a perfect pass to Preston Popp to put away for his first professional goal. However, North Carolina couldn’t complete the comeback.
North Carolina sits atop of the USL League One standings with 47 points. McLaughlin moved up in the league assists rankings; now tied for fourth with six. Anderson and Mentzingen are high in the ranking of goals + assists with 18 and 14. For the third straight match, NCFC saw a new player added to their scoring sheet this season when Preston Popp recorded his first professional goal with the club. North Carolina FC is in a tight race for the first-place spot in the regular season and every point will be critical down the stretch.
Scouting Greenville Triumph SC
The Triumph are sitting in fifth place in USL League One but are just 10 points from first place. Greenville is sixth in goals and assists with 37 and 27, respectively. They have the third-highest duels won with 1320 and second most clearances with 458. The Triumph are looking for a win in the third and final match up with North Carolina FC as they lost both of the two previous matches by a 2-1 scoreline at Paladin Stadium in April and WakeMed Soccer Park in August.
Players to Watch
North Carolina FC – Defender Nelson Flores Blanco
The El Salvadorian national team member has been a key to both defense and offense for North Carolina. Flores Blanco is pushing his offensive outlook as this week he used his speed and technical skills to get his second assist of the season. He has received the honor of USL Team of the Week. Flores Blanco will continue to push up the field giving North Carolina FC the best opportunity in their attacking third.
Greenville Triumph SC – Defender Jamie Smith
The NC State alumni is one to watch in this upcoming weekend match up against North Carolina FC. Smith has just recorded his first USL League One goal this past weekend to tie up the match between Triumph and Lexington. With 39 duels won, the defender is one to take on any player that comes his way. Smith plays to the final whistle and is helping set the tone for the Triumph as they are trying to stay in playoff position.
North Carolina FC comes back home after a double game week on Saturday, September 16, at 7:00 PM ET to take on South Georgia Tormenta FC at WakeMed Soccer Park. The match will stream live on ESPN+ and @NorthCarolinaFC will have live updates on social media.