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Match Preview: Legion FC at North Carolina FC - Saturday, May 18

By Clayton Humphries, 05/17/19, 4:15PM CDT

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A new regional rivalry begins

MATCH INFO:
Birmingham Legion FC at North Carolina FC

Saturday, May 18 – 6:00PM CT Kickoff – WakeMed Soccer Park, Cary, NC
Stream – ESPN+

Legion FC is back on the road this weekend as it takes on North Carolina FC on Saturday, May 18 at 6:00PM CT. The boys will look to build off of momentum gained from a comprehensive win the U.S. Open Cup in midweek and rebound from a loss in the league last weekend versus Louisville City FC.

The return of a few key pieces to the active roster will undoubtedly give the squad a boost, as goalkeeper Matt VanOekel and midfielder Mikey Lopez are both on track to return from injury, and loanees Brian Wright, Zach Herivaux and JJ Williams will all make the trip to NC from their respective MLS clubs.

Due to playing a third match in eight days, Head Coach Tom Soehn is again tasked with overseeing rotation within his starting group, but after the midweek U.S. Open Cup match remarked, “it was a good opportunity for us to get some guys in that maybe haven’t played as much, see what they can do, and hopefully get some other guys back to help us by the weekend.”

Center back Marcel Appiah was back in training with the squad this week but will miss his seventh game in a row with a calf strain, and center back Kyle Fisher will remain out due to a hamstring strain, as per the UAB Medicine injury report. Everyone else on the Legion FC roster is healthy and ready to go.

North Carolina FC, led by first-year coach, and MLS coaching veteran, Dave Sarachan, currently sit seventh in the USL Championship Eastern Conference standings, four points ahead of Legion FC, but also will be looking to improve upon a loss at the hands of Ottawa Fury FC last time out.

Striker Mario Lomis leads the frontline with six goals already this year, the midfield is composed of veteran leaders in Austin de Luz, Stephen Miller, and Ben Speas, and the backline is full of young talent. The team’s average age is just over 23, with NCFC academy products like US U-20 hopeful Manny Perez growing into key roles.

Follow @bhmlegion on Twitter for more info and live game updates from Cary, NC, and watch live on ESPN+.

Legion FC return home to BBVA Compass Field to face regional rival Nashville SC on Wednesday, May 22 at 7:00PM. Tickets are available at bhmlegion.com/tickets or by calling the Legion FC Ticket Office at 205-600-4635.

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