Game: Charlotte Independence vs. Harrisburg City Islanders
Date: Saturday, April 2
Time: 7:00 PM
Venue: Ramblewood Soccer Complex (Charlotte, NC)
Referees: REF: Jaroslaw Werel, AR1: Ryan Dos Reis, AR2: Daniel Richman, 4TH: John Barr
Streaming: USL Soccer.com
What Charlotte will look like
Against Louisville City last week, Charlotte started goalkeeper Cody Mizell, Reading United alum Patrick Slogic at left back, the Ugandan National Team's Henry Kalungi and ex-Vancouver Whitecaps Bilal Duckett at center back, and Liverpool youth product Jack Metcalf at right back. The midfield was composed of ex-Seattle Sounders' David Estrada, former Philadelphia Union and Harrisburg City Islander Yann Ekra, Lewis Hilton, former Real Salt Lake SuperDraft pick Enzo Martinez, and Colombian Jorge Herrera. At forward was Colorado Rapids loanee Caleb Calvert. Charlotte lost to Louisville City 1-0, however they signed former Philadelphia Union loanee Brian Brown to a loan from Harbour View FC in his native Jamaica.
What Harrisburg will look like
The Islanders will most likely not make too many changes to the lineup they put out against the Richmond Kickers last week. HCI stalwart Nick Noble will most likely start in goal, ahead of outside backs Shane Campbell and Jamie Thomas. While Shane Johnson and Shawn McLaws started at center back last week, look for one of them to possibly be replaced by Bermudian international Dante Leverock, who was unavailable due to playing with Bermuda in CONCACAF Gold Cup Qualification. Ex-FC Dallas midfielder Bobby Warshaw will go alongside fellow Central Pennsylvania native Garret Pettis, Josh Hughes, and Jamaican Paul Wilson. Up top will be ex Philadelphia Union forward Aaron Wheeler and last week's goalscorer Jose Barril. Leverock coming back should help bolster the Harrisburg defense, which allowed three goals to Richmond in the loss.
What to expect
These teams were mirror images of each other last season, and conventional wisdom has these teams fighting for one of the last playoff spots in the USL Eastern Conference this year. Look for Harrisburg to tighten up on defense considerably over last week. The return of Leverock should help out considerably, and look for Warshaw to continue to integrate into the team. Once he and Wheeler and Barril get on the same page, this could be a formidable offense.