UK Soccer Welcomes Charlotte for Top-20 Clash

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LEXINGTON, Ky.  – The last two Conference USA men’s soccer regular season champions will renew their blossoming rivalry Saturday when Kentucky welcomes Charlotte to The Bell for a showdown between top-20 teams.

Kentucky enters ranked No. 20 in the NSCAA Coaches’ Poll and No. 9 in the initial Rating Percentage Index, which was released Monday. Charlotte is ranked No. 14 in the coaches’ poll and No. 15 in the RPI.

The match will be the first of a double header at The Bell as the UK women’s team will play Ole Miss following the match.

Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. SEC Network+ will broadcast the match.

The setup
The winner of the fixture – held in the latter stages of the season the last two years – went on to win the Conference USA regular season title.

Two years ago – the last time Charlotte visited The Bell – the 49ers came back from an early 1-0 deficit and weathered a late Kentucky charge to win the de facto conference championship match.

Last year Kentucky flipped the score line as Noah Hutchins hit a wonder strike late in double overtime to clinch a 2-1 win and at least a share of the C-USA Championship. Kentucky beat FIU a week later to clinch its first league title outright.

The Wildcats have a 2016 record of won 5, lost 2, drawn 2 (1-1-0 C-USA). Charlotte arrives in Lexington with 6-1-0 record (2-0-0 C-USA).

Charlotte – with a 100 percent league record – tops the current C-USA table on six points. UAB is in second on four points, while Kentucky is in a four-way tie for third place on three points. 

The quote
“Charlotte and Kentucky is always really captivating,” senior midfielder Paul Sime said. “The last time we played them at home it was for the conference championship, and unfortunately they beat us. Then we beat them at their place last year so definitely both teams have something to prove. We know what Charlotte is about, they know what we’re about. It’s going to be an intense game where both teams put it all out there.”

The precedent
Kentucky is 1-4 against Charlotte all time with a 6-3 goal differential.

Kentucky is 4-0-2 at home this season. 

The logistics
The match has been designated Kentucky’s annual BlewOut, as UK soccer vuvuzelas will be distributed before the match.

Blue gets in … for free as supporters adorned in UK blue will be granted admission free of charge.

The first 250 fans at The Bell will receive a bluevuzela, and match poster.

Gates will open at 4 p.m. 

Tickets for fans not wearing blue are $5 for the general public and $2 for youth and seniors. Fans can purchase tickets online via Ticketmaster or by calling (800) 928-2287, or at the ticket window at The Bell.

Kentucky’s 600-plus season ticket holders can wear their 2016 Kentucky Soccer scarves to gain admission.

Parking for the match is first come first served located outside the stadium’s main entrance. Overflow parking will be available above the soccer practice pitch.

UK players will sign autographs on the side of the pitch following the match weather-permitting.