North Carolina FC vs South Georgia Tormenta FC
Saturday, September 16, at 7:00 p.m. ET | WakeMed Soccer Park | Cary, NC
Social Media: @NorthCarolinaFC
CARY, N.C. (September 15, 2023) –North Carolina FC are back at home this weekend to face South Georgia Tormenta FC. Kickoff at WakeMed Soccer Park is set for Saturday, September 16, at 7:00 PM ET. North Carolina FC enters the weekend needing one point, or outside help, to become the first team in USL League One to clinch a 2023 playoff spot.
North Carolina won on the road this past weekend, 2-0, against Greenville Triumph to become the first team to 50 points in the USL League One season. NCFC took the early lead when Garrett McLaughlin got fouled in the box, and Rafa Mentzingen put away the penalty kick for the 1-0 lead only seven minutes into the match. North Carolina doubled their lead midway through the half when Oalex Anderson did a triple scissor move around the defenders then sent a cross for Jaden Servania to finish. Servania has contributed on at least one goal in the past five matches.
North Carolina ranks third in USL League One in goals for the season with 47 and first in total shots with 373. NCFC also has 29 big chances scored, the second highest in the league. Rafa Mentzingen added another goal to his score sheet this past weekend, making him tied for fifth in the Golden Boot race with 11 goals while Anderson is sitting second in Golden Boot race with 13. With headline finishers firing on all cylinders, North Carolina looks to keep the offense booming down the final stretch of the regular season.
Scouting South Georgia Tormenta FC
This is the third, and final, meeting between North Carolina and the defending league champions this season, with NCFC falling at home 0-1 in the season opener then winning at Tormenta, 2-3. Winless in their last four, Tormenta currently sits in eighth place with 32 points going into the weekend; five points off playoff positioning.
High-scoring affairs are common with this South Georgia side. They rank second in USL League One in goals with 49, second in assists with 33, first in big chances scored with 32, and third in shots with 35. They’ve also conceded 49 goals, the second most in the league, behind only Chattanooga.
As the final weeks of the season approach, Tormenta is looking to make a similar run to last year’s where they catapulted into the thick of the playoff standings and eventually lifted the trophy. They’ll need to make up some ground quickly, so expect their best on Saturday night.
Players to Watch
North Carolina FC – Midfielder Rafa Mentzingen
The midfielder earned his 10th USL One Team of the Week honors this past week, adding to his honor-filled campaign. Mentzingen tallied his 11th goal last weekend, converting a penalty to move into a tie for fifth in the Golden Boot race. Mentzingen is third in the league in total shots with 90 and tied for third in the league with 10 big changes scored. The fast pace and footwork of the midfielder is dangerous whenever Rafa is on the field.
South Georgia Tormenta FC – Midfielder Pedro Fonseca
The 4x USL Team of the Week honoree is continuing to push the offensive boundaries for South Georgia. The Brazilian talent produced an impressive amount of offense for Tormenta FC this past month. Fonseca recorded three goals while also having two assists, and eight goal-scoring chances created. The midfielder looks to bring an elevated presence to the attacking zone and try to push for a win to catapult them forward in the post season race.
North Carolina FC travels west to face Central Valley Fuego FC on Wednesday, September 20, for a 10:00 p.m. ET (7 PT) kickoff at Fresno State Soccer Stadium. The match will stream live on ESPN+.