Greenville, SC - After suffering its first loss at home last Saturday, the Greenville Triumph will head to CHI Memorial Stadium for its second match-up against the Chattanooga Red Wolves. The home Chattanooga side sits above Greenville in the League One standings with 23 points through 12 games played and a 6-1-5 record. The two clubs last played to a 1-1 draw on June 26, also at CHI Memorial Stadium.
Chattanooga is a very good team with an in-your-face game plan. They can be very physical, and they're very athletic. They've found one win in the last five matches, with their most recent outing resulting in a 1-1 draw against North Texas after scoring in the eighth minute of stoppage time following a red card to NTSC. Chattanooga has only been shut out twice this season, both of which came in the first five weeks. The Cardiac Red Wolves squad is undefeated at home and have a very talented bench that is known for its ability to produce late in matches.
At This Point: The first half of the season for Greenville has been filled with adversity, and most people may not realize that 14 out of the 20 Greenville Triumph players have been injured already this year. The Upstate side suffered its first home defeat last Saturday, but that didn't come without great stretches of soccer. Aaron Walker and Evan Lee, in particular, were fantastic -- Walker recording his first goal and showing real creativity in the final third and Lee doing an excellent job defensively and stepping into the midfield at proper times. But when fatigue hits, and available resources have dwindled, the amount of individual focus needed to win games increases drastically. A key component for Greenville moving forward will be continuing to increase individual ownership as the team waits for healthy bodies to be available again.
Greenville attack: The first hour of Saturday's loss saw great movement off the ball from Greenville, and there were plenty of positive moments to be taken away. There was good spacing, great movement off the ball and the creativity in the attack was perhaps better than it has been all season. The decision-making in the attack, when to penetrate on the dribble or when to break them down with vertical passing patterns, was spot on. Alex Morrell is coming alive in the attack, and Allen Gavilanes continues to create havoc down the left side. Walker is also playing with more confidence, and if he could find a little more help on the defensive side of things and stay a little higher up the pitch, he could be a big difference maker in Saturday's match.
Mindset: Playing Chattanooga always comes with some added mental preparation, especially playing Chattanooga at home. The Tennessee side plays on a turf surface and has created a very difficult playing environment at CHI Memorial. Even more so in this match, staying switched on and keeping a cool head will be massively important.
Injury Report: 2020 All-League selection Noah Pilato continues to be sidelined with a back injury while defender Jacob Goodall and rookie Will Mejia remain on the injured list. Starting wingback, Abdi Mohamed will be unavailable for this weekend's match due to an injury sustained in the match against Tormenta FC. Aussie striker Lachlan McLean returned to the 18-man roster last weekend but did not play. He continued to train through the week and will be available in a limited capacity this weekend.
League One Standings: Union Omaha and Chattanooga take the top-two spots with identical records and points collected through 12 games played. Omaha sits at the top of the table with a +8 goal differential compared to Chattanooga's +5. Greenville sits below them at third with 22 points through 13 games played. Rounding out the cut-off point is South Georgia Tormenta FC, Toronto FC II and Fort Lauderdale CF, respectively.
Golden Boot: Marios Lomis continues to lead the league in goals with 11 after scoring the league's second hat trick this season in the 3-0 Greenville win against Revolution II. The Dutch striker remains Greenville's points leader with 23 from 11 goals and one assist. Lomis is now the first and only Triumph player to reach double-digit goals in a single season. Lomis was also nominated for June's Player of the Month after receiving the award in May.
The Greenville Triumph will be traveling to Toronto FC II in almost two years, as the Canadian-based side did not participate in USL League One's 2020 season. The match will kick off at 4:00pm EST.