North Carolina FC to Face Atlanta United 2 in Road Test
CARY, N.C. - After three home matches in its first four USL Championship contests, North Carolina FC is on the road for a match against Atlanta United 2 on Saturday, April 13 at 7:30 p.m. at Fifth Third Bank Stadium. North Carolina FC (2W-0L-2D, 8 points) will look to remain undefeated on the season, and stay near the top of the Eastern Conference standings.
Heading into the match, NCFC's eight points are good for third place in the table, while Atlanta is just behind with seven points in eighth place. NCFC has a strong record when facing this Atlanta team. The side defeated ATL UTD 2 in both 2018 contests, outscoring them 10-1.
The series domination was highlighted by Donovan Ewolo's four-goal performance at Atlanta on September 21, 2018. The rivalry between the two geographical locations goes much deeper, as teams from the Triangle have faced off against various Atlanta opponents since the early 1990s.
Atlanta is a tough opponent to prepare for, as the organization can pull players from MLS side Atlanta United and Atlanta United's Academy. MLS players have recently come down and made an impact for ATL UTD 2, like Romario Williams, who scored a hat trick to secure a draw against Charlotte just weeks ago.
Atlanta has seen improved results from last season, already with wins against Hartford Athletic and Memphis 901 FC to bring the home side plenty of confidence.
North Carolina FC will look to its own confidence for a positive result. In the first road trip of the season, NCFC defeated Bethlehem Steel FC 1-0. The side is also coming off two come-from-behind draws. In the previous game, NCFC went down to 10 men and fell behind by a goal, before Marios Lomis' wonderful free kick pulled NCFC level to remain undefeated.
Players To Watch:
North Carolina FC No. 31 Steven Miller
With Austin da Luz missing due to a red card last match, look for North Carolina FC's veterans to step up against what is likely going to be a young Atlanta opponent. Steven Miller already has one assist on the season and is always dangerous on the wings. Look for the versatile midfielder to make a living on either flank.
Atlanta United 2 No. 8 Kevin Barajas
Kevin Barajas is a dangerous midfielder. An Atlanta native, Barajas joined the club after a successful tryout. He's also in great form and scored the game-winning goal against Memphis 901 FC earlier in the week. Prior to going pro, Barajas starred with the University of Kentucky where he was an All-Conference USA selection.
The road trip continues with an away match at Charlotte Independence on Saturday, April 20. Fans are encouraged to join Oak City Supporters on a bus trip to Matthews for the match. North Carolina FC returns home to face Hartford Athletic on Saturday, April 27 at 7 p.m. at Sahlen's Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park. Tickets are available online now, or by calling the Coastal Credit Union Box Office at 919-459-8144.
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