North Carolina FC vs Swope Park Rangers
When: Saturday, June 15, 4:00 PM CT
Where: Sahlen’s Stadium, Cary, North Carolina
How to Watch: ESPN+ ($4.99/month or 49.99 annually)
Matchday 14 for the Swope Park Rangers sends them to North Carolina FC for a visit with former United States Men’s National Team interim manager and former Kansas City Comet, Dave Sarachan. This is just Sarachan’s second job as head coach, having previously managed the Chicago Fire from 2002-2007, where he led the Fire to a Supporters’ Shield in 2003 and won the US Open Cup in 2003 and 2006. This will be the first ever meeting between these two sides.
North Carolina will be coming off a 4-0 US Open Cup defeat to New York City FC on Wednesday, but previously handed the Tampa Bay Rowdies their first loss of the season on the road by a score of 3-1. North Carolina is also unbeaten at home this season, with two wins and three draws.
NCFC sits in sixth place of the USL Championship Eastern Conference with a record of six wins, five draws, and two losses. Dave Sarachan’s side is led by Dutch forward Marios Lomis, who leads the team with six goals. Tied with three assists each is Ben Spears and Steven Miller.
After Hartford Athletic’s win and SPR’s loss last weekend, the Rangers have dropped to dead last in all of the USL Championship with eight points off of one win, five draws, and seven losses.
Paulo Nagamura’s side have had four players that have shown well this season, including Alexander, Mark Segbers, Camden Riley, and Felipe Hernandez, who leads the team with five goals. Hernandez and Riley were also rewarded with a spot in Sporting Kansas City’s bench for their defeat in the US Open Cup match against Minnesota United on Wednesday.
Here is my predicted XI:
Eric Dick hasn’t gotten a start since May 22, so I believe he’ll start in goal. Alexander and Mark Segbers should start as usual with Mo Abdulnadi and Kaveh Rad as the center back pairing. In the midfield you’ll probably see Felipe Hernandez and Rassambek Akhmatov with Camden Riley sitting in front of the back four. Wilson Harris will likely start up front and I’d like to see Jerome Ngom Mbekeli and Will Little on the wings. I’m unsure if Sean Karani is fit after leaving the match last weekend injured.
With just eleven goals scored given up all season for North Carolina, it’s unlikely that Paulo Nagamura’s side will be looking to attack and should be content with a low-scoring affair. Any sort of win would be great and a draw would be very pleasing as well.
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