Soccer Preview UAB

Charlotte's Preston Popp dribbles past a defender.   

Charlotte's men's soccer team (1-2-1) returns home to take on UAB (2-7-1) this weekend on Saturday, March 13 at 2 p.m. This will be the first home conference game for the Niners, and they are ready for the challenge that awaits them. 

"We are coming off of a high-quality win," said Head Coach Kevin Langan. "This gives us great confidence as we return home."

The Niners got off to a slow start to the season as they would tie with Duke and drop two games to UNCW and West Virginia. Charlotte has gotten it together, though, as the team is coming off a huge win over nationally-ranked Kentucky on March 6. The 49ers will look to continue their hot streak against the Blazers this weekend.

On the other side, UAB has had quite an up-and-down season. The Blazers who played in the fall boasted a poor 1-6 record. Since returning to play, UAB has had much of the same issue as they are 1-1-1. They will look to improve their record this weekend. 

Key Players for Charlotte:

The first player to watch for has to be junior Preston Popp. Popp has been big for the Niners as he has scored two goals, including the game-winner against the Wildcats of Kentucky. He has also been named Conference USA offensive player of the week so look for him to be big down this weekend. 

Junior forward Alex Willis has ramped up production so far this season. Willis has scored two goals as well as recording a single assist on the season so far. Willis was awarded an accolade of his own as he was named the National Team of the Week. He will need to show up if the Niners will be able to come out on top. 

Lastly, look for redshirt senior defender Patrick Hogan to be a presence on the ball's defensive side against the Blazers. Hogan, whose veteran leadership has been key for the young team, will be a factor this weekend. 

Key Players for UAB:

The Blazers have struggled this season, but one of the squad's bright spots has to be senior midfielder Joseph Buete. Buete has scored two goals so far this season and leads the team in points. The Niners will have to slow him down if they want to come out on top. 

The next player to watch for has to be freshman forward Tyrell Price. Price, who is new to the team, has made an immediate impact for the squad as he is second in goals with one and points with 3. He will look to pick up where he has left off in this weekend's contest. 

Lastly, watch for senior midfielder Grayson Dupont to be a force. Dupont, who has a single goal this season, will add to his total against Charlotte. 

Keys for a Charlotte Win:

The first key has to be getting out to a fast start in the game. The Niners have given up many goals in the first half of play this season, and it has created a hole that has seemed hard to get out of. Charlotte needs to strike early and often if they want to get a win. 

The next key is limiting penalties in the box. Penalty shots allow for easy opportunities for opponents to get on the board. The 49ers will need to play smart to come out on top this weekend. 

Lastly, the Niners will look to attack during the game against the Blazers. Head Coach Kevin Langan has preached to the team that they will be victorious if they can play hard together. Charlotte will do just that this weekend. 

"We've had some fantastic performances, but you need to get the result," said Langan. "Hopefully, this will propel us as we attack the conference season." 

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