Photo by Charlotte Eagles
It's a weekend full of PDL action at all levels of college soccer, led by a two-sided, top-25 clash in the NAIA.
Sunday's match to watch is a big showdown as Reading United AC midfielder Jorge Guinovart, Thunder Bay Chill defender Mitchell Osmond and Rio Grande take on Charlotte Eagles midfielder Mutaya Mwape and Lindsey Wilson.
A true Big Ten feature leads Friday’s action as top-ten conference rivals take the field with PDL players on both sides of the ball.
Michigan State remains a perfect 7-0-0 on the season so far, having just knocked off formerly unbeaten Michigan in Big Ten play last week, and aim to keep it that way against a very difficult Maryland team. Led by a PDL duo of K-W United FC midfielder Ken Krolicki and Chicago FC United forward Ryan Sierakowski, the Spartans will try and establish themselves as top dogs in the Big Ten with a home win over the Terrapins. Don’t expect a shootout though, as Michigan State has allowed just two goals all year.
Maryland also enters the match unbeaten, though with a lone scoreless draw against Indiana as the only blemish on their record this season. Like Michigan State, the Terrapins are no slouch defensively, only allowing goals in two of their seven matches this year and just four total. Led by Tampa Bay Rowdies U23 midfielder Andrew Samuels, the Terrapins will hope to blemish that perfect Spartans record and place themselves in discussion as potentially the top team in the country
Simultaneously, a pair of top-level ACC matches take place on Friday night, beginning with Virginia welcoming the North Carolina Tar Heels to Charlottesville.
Still unbeaten on the year, the Cavaliers lone draw came at home against Syracuse earlier in September in a hard-fought double-overtime affair. The Cavaliers haven’t looked unbeatable, being forced into overtime three times this year, but are riding high at the moment after knocking off in-state rivals Virginia Tech last week. PDL talents like Colorado Rapids U23 goalkeeper Jefferson Caldwell, Fresno Fuego defender Sergi Nus, Cincinnati Dutch Lions midfielder Kennedy Nwabia, and AC Connecticut midfielder Edward Opoku will hope to keep the Cavaliers winning habits intact.
The Tar Heels have won every match but one, an in-state loss to rising UNC-Wilmington, and sit high in the ACC with a 2-0-0 conference record after beating Pittsburgh and then Duke last weekend in a fantastic rivalry match. North Carolina one-ups Virginia with five PDL Players to Watch of their own. Two goalkeepers in the Charlotte Eagles’ James Pyle and Carolina Dynamo’s Alec Smir, one midfielder in the Wilmington Hammerheads FC’s Cam Lindley, and two forwards with North Carolina FC U23’s Alexander Rose and Tobacco Road FC’s Alan Winn.
The second big ACC match of the night comes in upstate New York as Syracuse welcomes Duke in a battle of teams coming off tough recent losses.
Syracuse plays host in Friday’s showdown, and they’ll do so after having suffered a tough upset loss to Cornell on the heels of an ACC loss to Louisville. After starting the season on a run of six unbeaten, the Orange have dropped two straight and need a bounce-back win to earn their first conference win of the year. Hopefully leading them to victory on Friday will be a trio of PDL players in K-W United FC defender Kamal Miller, Reading United AC midfielder Mo Adams, and Reading forward Hugo Delhommelle.
Duke enters the match at 5-1-1 with a recent stinging loss of their own, as they fell to North Carolina in an in-state showdown last weekend. But more recently, the Blue Devils picked themselves back up and dusted themselves off with a 4-3 win over Wisconsin in out-of-conference play. Led by their PDL duo of New York Red Bulls U23 defender Markus Fjortoft and forward Brian White, Duke will try and keep Syracuse mired in their recently poor results while boosting themselves further back into winning habits.
Despite being somewhat overshadowed by the three other big matches on Friday, the NAIA showdown between Carroll College and Corban is no less interesting of a game.
Carroll College have started the season well, currently sitting on an impressive 4-1-0 record, including a perfect 2-0-0 start to conference play. Most impressive was an early September win against Presentation, in which Carroll put up an insane 14 goals, with an astounding ten players reaching the score sheet. Carroll will likely be underdogs entering the match, but they’re by no means pushovers for Corban.
The Corban Warriors have been as impressive as possible to start their NAIA campaign, opening the year with a 6-0-1 record and a 2-0-0 conference record. The lone draw against Westmont College was a scoreless affair in which the strong defense held firm but the offense simply couldn’t break through. The team has allowed just five goals through seven matches, in large part because of Portland Timbers U23 goalkeeper Jordan Farr managing things from the back.
Saturday’s match to watch is an NCAA DII showdown between two strong teams in Lincoln Memorial and Lenoir-Rhyne.
Lincoln Memorial remain unbeaten on the season entering Saturday’s match, with a 4-0-0 out-of-conference record and two draws in their two conference games so far. While they’ve allowed quite a few goals defensively, two or more in half of their matches, their offense has been explosive and has kept them afloat by scoring three goals in four of six games.
Lenoir-Rhyne isn’t unbeaten, but does boast a 4-1-0 record entering their sixth match of the year. After winning their first four matches by a combined 9-1 score, the Bears found themselves held scoreless and on the receiving end of a 1-0 upset loss to Carson-Newman on Wednesday. Led from the front by Ocean City Nor’easters forward Ismael Noumansana, Lenoir-Rhyne will need to be more potent offensively to avoid a second straight disappointment.
Finally, on Sunday, it’s a double-sided PDL showdown when the University of Rio Grande takes on Lindsey Wilson in NAIA action.
The Rio Grande RedStorm have been strong as expected to start the year, boasting a 5-1 record as they enter their final non-conference match against a top-25 opponent in Lindsey Wilson. Led by Reading United AC midfielder Jorge Guinovart and Thunder Bay Chill defender Mitchell Osmond, the RedStorm will hope to enter their grueling conference slate on a winning note.
As good as Rio Grande has been this year, Lindsey Wilson has arguably been even better. Currently holding a 4-0-0 record, the Blue Raiders have taken down two top-25 opponents in their four wins this season, and will look to make it three against Rio Grande. A major factor in the Blue Raiders’ success has been Charlotte Eagles midfielder Mutaya Mwape, who has five goals and two assists so far this season.
Tag(s): Top Performers