Cary, NC – The United Soccer League (USL) Playoffs officially start this week and North Carolina FC has their one chance to make it into the bracket with a play-in game, here at home in Cary.
In this year’s USL season, North Carolina FC finished seventh in the Eastern Conference, out of 18 teams. While that’s enough to keep them in playoff contention, it’s not enough to automatically get the home team into the playoff bracket.
That will be determined with a match this Wednesday, October 23, 2019 at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park. NCFC will take on the tenth-ranked Birmingham Legion FC for a spot in the bracket. At the same time, eighth-ranked Ottawa Fury FC and ninth-ranked Charleston Battery will also be competing for a spot in the playoffs.
NCFC has played Birmingham twice this season, with one scoreless draw and one 0-1 loss.
If NCFC wins on Wednesday, they will next take on second-ranked Nashville SC on Saturday, October 26, 2019 in Tennessee. NCFC has also played Nashville twice this season, with one 1-0 victory and a recent 0-2 loss on the road.
As the seventh-ranked team in the Eastern Conference this season, NCFC had a 16-8-10 win-draw-loss record, with a stretch of undefeated games at home from April to August. NCFC also won three of its previous four games this season, with the sole loss against Nashville SC.
To contrast with their upcoming opponents, Birmingham had a 12-7-15 record. But Nashville is the most intimidating; despite being the second-ranked team in the conference, they had the most wins all season, with a 20-7-7 record. To find a team with more wins in the entire league, you would have to go to the Western Conference, with Phoenix Rising FC’s 24-6-4 record. Phoenix Rising FC were also last year’s runners-up, losing to the Eastern Conference’s Louisville City FC.
Tickets for the play-in game at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park at 7 PM are on sale now.
Story by staff reports. Photos courtesy of North Carolina FC and USL.