Men’s Soccer Central: #13 Charlotte at FAU

BOCA RATON, Fla. – The Charlotte men’s soccer team plays its third consecutive road contest when it takes on fellow American Conference transplant, FAU, on Sunday night. Kickoff from FAU Soccer Stadium is set for 7 pm ET on FAUSports.com.

Fans can follow Sunday’s contest via Sidearm Live Stats, HERE, or via Sunday’s live stream on FAUSports.com, HERE.

THE BASICS
– Sunday’s matchup between the Charlotte 49ers and the FAU Owls marks the 12th all-time meeting between the programs on the collegiate pitch and the sixth time they’ll have met in Boca Raton.
– Charlotte comes into Sunday’s match following a tight, 1-1, draw at Memphis on Wednesday night. The result leaves the 49ers in seventh in the American standings with just four points through three matches.
– After not playing last week due to the effects of Hurricane Ian, the Niners moved up in the latest United Soccer Coaches Poll from No. 14 to No. 13 this week.
– This week in American Conference action, SMU and FIU are leading the line in the league with nine points apiece and records of 3-1-0 through four matches played. Defending league champs and preseason favorite Tulsa, along with Memphis and FAU are close behind with seven points and ledgers of 2-1-1 in AAC action.
– A win Wednesday would mark CLT’s 500th victory as a program dating to the team’s inception in 1976. In just under 50 years of play, CLT has amassed a .605 win percentage, while averaging over 10 wins per season.

SCOUTING THE OWLS
– FAU arrives at Sunday’s match following a, 3-0, loss at Tulsa on Wednesday night, marking the Owls first defeat in AAC play. The Owls 2-1-1 record comes following a, 1-1, home draw with USF, a 1-0, victory over UAB and a, 2-1, dub over UCF in Orlando to open the month of October.
– On the stat sheet, the Owls have struggled a bit to find the back of the net, scoring just eight times in 10 matches, while being shutout on five separate occasions. Leading the line for the Owls in scoring is senior forward Victor Claudel, who found the net four times and scored the opener at UCF last weekend.
– On the touch line, FAU is coached by sixth-year head man Joey Worthen who led FAU to its first C-USA Championship match last season and has the Owls near the top of the table early on here in 2022.

SERIES HISTORY
– After joining the American as affiliate members for the 2022 season, Charlotte and FAU will meet in Boca Raton for the second straight season and for the sixth time in a series dating to 2003.
– The last time the programs met, they played a 110 minute cagey affair in the 2021 Conference USA Quarterfinals in Charlotte. The sixth-seeded Owls nipped the Niners, 5-3 on PK’s after the sides played 110 scoreless minutes.
– The last time they met in Boca Raton, the Niners smashed FAU, 5-1, behind a pair of goals from the 2021 Conference USA Golden Boot Winner, Preston Popp.
– In the Niners five previous contests in Florida with FAU, they are a perfect, 5-0-0, while winning all five matches by multiple goals and a pair by more than four goals, earning a sparkling goal differential of +16 against the Owls at FAU Soccer Stadium. The only time CLT has fallen to FAU was in the sides first-ever contest, 4-1, in 2003.

CLT EARNS POINT AT MEMPHIS, DRAWS TIGERS, 1-1
– Despite a dominating effort in the final third that led CLT to outshoot Memphis, 18-8, across 90 minutes, Charlotte and the Tigers drew, 1-1, in AAC play on Wednesday night.
– Junior Jonathan Nyandjo broke his career-high for goals in a single season when he netted his fourth of the year on a brilliant solo run through the middle to even the score early on in the opening half.
– The result marked the 49ers first draw in a regular season match since tying Duke, 0-0, to open the Spring and COVID-19 impacted 2021 Spring season.

NINERS NEARING HISTORIC WIN TOTAL
– A victory Charlotte’s match on the road at AAC foe Tulsa on Sunday would give Charlotte men’s soccer, 500 victories in its 47-year history.
– Since beginning play in 1976 the Charlotte men’s soccer team has amassed a number of milestones on the way to 500 college soccer victories including a sparkling, .605 win percentage (current record of 499-309-103).
– Along with its incredible win percentage, the 49ers have experienced 36 winning seasons through the conclusion of last year, 31 seasons of 10 or more wins, 16 NCAA Tournament appearances, nine conference titles and a pair of appearances at the NCAA College Cup, all while averaging 10.7 wins per season.

PLAYING FOR MORE THAN WINS
– This week across the American Athletic Conference in all sports is Powerful Minds Week to raise awareness for student-athletes who struggle with their mental health.
– The initiative was brought forth by the conference’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee and is a week that coincides with Mental Health/Illness Awareness Week across the country.
– As part of the initiative players will be wearing green ribbons on their jersey’s while coaches will display the same ribbon’s either on the front of their shirts or on their sleeves as arm bands.
– The display by athletes and coaches will include all competition in every sport across the American from October 3-9, including Sunday night’s contest between Charlotte and FAU on the collegiate pitch.

THE BACK FOUR IS STILL GETTING IT DONE
– Despite giving up a first half PK against Coastal Carolina Sept. 21, the Niners went 521:44 consecutive minutes without conceding a goal in the early portions of the season in a stretch that included five consecutive shutouts against Gardner-Webb, Georgia Southern, Detroit Mercy, Winthrop and UAB. Following its pair of first half goals given up at Tulsa and its early goal at Memphis, the Niners still have yet to concede in the final 45 minutes of any match this year. All five conceded goals came in the opening frame.
– The Niners back four has been anchored by seniors Sean Suber and sophomore Lasse Laursen who have played virtually every minute for CLT at center back, with the duo also combining for six goals this season.
– Senior Thomas Wallis has also been a fortress between the sticks, tallying 27 saves on 32 shots on goal, including a career-best, five save night against Gardner-Webb in the home opener.

A BUSY STAT SHEET
– In nine matches, the Charlotte 49ers have tallied 99 total points, recorded by 16 different players. Nine players currently have more than one assist and seven different players have found the back of the net on more than one occasion.
– Heading into Sunday’s match the Niners have had just one player score more than once in a match, with CLT featuring four, five, five and five different goal scorers in its wins over Gardner-Webb, Georgia Southern, Detroit Mercy and Winthrop. Kam Lacey became the first 49er this season to score more than once in a single match with his brace against Coastal Carolina. The Niners 32 goals through nine matches to open the year is the most in program history.
– Of the Niners 31 goals scored, those have been scored by 12 different goal scorers, a total that already trumps the 10 different marksmen the Niners roster featured in last year’s NCAA Tournament squad. – On the stat sheet, the Green & White have 11 players who have tallied at least four points this season. Leading the Niners in points are seniors Cameron Lacey and Alex Willis with 14 and 13 apiece. Willis has scored in five of the Niners eight matches and along with Lacey are the only Niners to have tallied at least a point in six of CLT’s nine contests.

UP NEXT
Charlotte returns home for the first time in nearly a month when it hosts UCF in American Conference play next Saturday evening. The opening touches from Transamerica Field are slated for 7 pm ET on ESPN+.