After an impressive record breaking 15-game undefeated streak, the Red Wolves still remain undefeated at home. Red Wolves return to the fortified confines of CHI Memorial Stadium Saturday night playing host to North Carolina FC. The last time out for the Red Wolves was a frustrating outing in Greenville against the Triumph, where the away side was agonizingly sent down to 10 men only 25 minutes into the game for a questionable red card decision against Sebastian Capozucchi.
No matter for a Red Wolves side that has preached battling through adversity all season long, and now they look to get back to bounce back against 12th place North Carolina. The side showed great fight back and intensity even down a man for most of the match in Greenville, with Jonathan Ricketts being awarded a Team of the Week nod for his dynamic play on both ends of the pitch. The Red Wolves doubled Greenville’s shots on target at a tally of 4-2, won more duels, more aerials and intercepted more passes on the night in what was an aggressive and high pressing performance that unfortunately did not yield the result it deserved.
While it is fair to say that things have not fallen the way North Carolina might have wanted in the 2021 campaign, there is still plenty of life left in John Bradford’s side. Supporters at WakeMed Soccer Park were rewarded with an exemplary performance on Saturday night in a 4-1 thrashing of the New England Revolution II.
In a vintage performance, club legend Nazmi Albadawi turned back the clock scoring a brace in his 165th appearance all time for the club. Bright young star Jay Tee Kamara added a goal in the match alongside as did Josh Coan in a comprehensive victory. It was a solid performance in front of net as the home side turned in 4 of their 6 shots on target, while Nicholas Holliday had a bright day in goal keeping out 5 of New England’s 6 shots on target.
There are important ramifications for both sides coming into the match Saturday night disregarding placements in the table. Although North Carolina currently sit bottom of the league, they remain only 8 points out of a playoff spot with 8 games to go and perhaps may look to make a late season push. On the other side of the pitch, the Red Wolves sit joint top of the league with Union Omaha and will want to secure 3 points Saturday night to keep the rest of the league at bay to secure home-field advantage in the playoffs.
Jonathan Ricketts and his battle against youngster Jay-Tee Kamara will be one to watch on Saturday night, as the homegrown right back looks to carry on in what has been a dependable and shining season for the homegrown talent. Manager Jimmy Obleda will look to his other defensive options in place of Sebastian Capozucchi, with dynamic left back Jonathan Esparza looking likely to get the nod. Ricky Ruiz will also be a man to keep an eye on for the Red Wolves, having created 40 chances so far in the 2021 campaign he will be eager to breakdown a defense that has given up 34 goals in 20 games so far.
Manager Jimmy Obleda has challenged fans saying, “We need our supporters to come out this weekend and make the environment as supportive and challenging as possible.” Undefeated at CHI Memorial this season, the bond between supporters and their squad has lifted the Red Wolves to lofty heights. Now, the Red Wolves call on those supporters to be the 12th man in the homestretch of the campaign.
The action Kicks off at 7 PM EST on a Saturday night under the Floodlights at CHI Memorial Stadium as the Red Wolves welcome North Carolina FC to Chattanooga.