The Charlotte Independence will play their second preseason match this Saturday at 2:00 PM ET versus UNC-Chapel Hill Men's soccer team at Wingate University. Fans are welcome to attend, but there are some need-to-know.
What's the gameplan, coach?
"We're planning to stretch out some of the guys fitness-wise," said Independence Head Coach Mike Jeffries. "Obviously, we're still getting fit so maybe we'll push some guys a little bit longer."
Last week, the Independence started the majority of their returning players and then relinquished the second half to trial players looking to make an impression. Rookie, midfielder Callum Ross netted the only Charlotte goal of the game as the Independence fell to Columbus Crew SC by a score of 2-1.
Preseason is the time to try new things, right?
"For us right now it's getting used to the system and how we play and what's expected," said Jeffries. "Rather than experimenting and changing shapes, it's more about getting the basics right the simple tactics. We spent the first week working on our defending and pressing. This week was more of the possession side. As we go through the later stages of preseason, then we'll start looking at tweaking and adjusting."
What should fans be looking for?
"This week we spent a little more time on our possession and moving the ball and building," said Jeffries. "Hopefully, we're able to put together in the game tomorrow."
Coach Jeffries said last week the two focuses of early preseason are to get returning players game-fit and to evaluate trialist so the coaching staff could make proper decisions.
What about the opponent?
The UNC Men's soccer team had an overall record of 14-3-4 last season and made the trip to Houston, Texas to compete in the Semifinals of the 2016 NCAA Men's Soccer Division I National Championship. UNC won the ACC Coastal Division title for the second year in a row and concluded the year with a No. 4 national ranking.
"UNC is a top college program," said Jeffries. "We've had competitive games with them two years, running. They play the game at a good tempo so I think it'll be a nice test for us."
The Tar Heels waived farewell to Colton Storm and Walker Hume who were selected in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft. Storm was taken 14th overall by Sporting KC, while Hume was drafted in the second round by FC Dallas. Returning stars include German forward, Nils Bruening who lead UNC in goals (8) this past season and midfielder Cam Lindley who was named TopDrawerSoccer's 2016 Men’s Soccer Freshman of the Year after his seven assist season.