The Green Team Gauntlet Round 2

Lexington SC (7-6-11, 27 points) will host the playoff line guardians Greenville Triumph (10-6-8, 36 points) on Friday night in the 2nd matchup of the Green Team Gauntlet (Crane Kick Lex’s name for it) of the season. The last time the 2 green teams of USL1 faced was way back on April 22nd in the 3rd and final home match of Lexington’s inaugural 3-match home stand. Greenville triumphed over Lexington 2-0 in that matchup after Cesar Murillo picked up an early (and debatable) straight red card in the 27th minute. However, both teams have been very different since that end-of-April clash.

Firstly, when Greenville first came to Lexington, they were coming in at the bottom of the league table through 4 matches, having just notched their first win of the season with a 3-0 midweek win over Fuego after losing their first 3 league matches to start the year. Now, the Triumph head back to Lexington as the last team in the playoffs, sitting at 6th in the table and within striking distance of 3rd. 

Greenville does come into this match, having been a little shaky of late, going 2-1-2 within their last 5, coming off a loss to Omaha (who has now won 6 matches in a row). Still, both losses came at the hands of the two best teams in USL1, the previously mentioned Owls and the worst to first darlings of North Carolina FC. The Triumph, on paper, are very similar in the attack with their two-headed beast of Castro and MacKinnon, but their defense is one of the best in the league and one of the most disciplined. Greenville has received the fewest yellow cards of anyone in the league (55) and has seen 1 red card all season. Defensively per match, they are rank as follows: 

  • 5th in Goals Conceded with 1.3, just 0.1 behind 1st place Knoxville
  • 2nd in Interceptions with 9.5
  • 1st in Successful Tackles with 10.1
  • 2nd in Clearances with 18.1
  • 3rd in Saves with 3.1 
  • 3rd in Possession Won in the Final 3rd with 4.3. 

The Triumph has indeed become a complete team, and after a rough start, has sometimes looked like one of the best teams in the league. However, they still have some weaknesses, notable on the road, where they have a -1 goal difference and have gone 1-2-2 in their last 5 away matches, with the win coming way back on June 17th against Fuego, being shutout 2 times on their current 4 away match winless run.

On the other hand, Lexington came into the first match against Greenville, coming off the first win in club history with a 2-1 victory over Tormenta and sitting at 10th in the table. The Boys in Green are still in 10th (were in 9th but Richmond tied with Guego last night to go 1 point up) in the table and have looked very dangerous since they switched up formations, having gone 4-1-2 in the 7 matches since the switch. In their last 5, Stockley’s boys have gone 3-1-1, winning both home matches in that stretch.

Also, Lexington has not lost at home in their previous 5 matches since debuting the new formation against Omaha on July 22nd. The question for Lexington is, will they be able to return to their dangerous attacking offense after a 2 match stretch that has seen them score only 1 goal? I expect another tightly-fought match for Lexington fans that will again come down to whichever keeper flitches first in this matchup. Still, the versatility of Lexington and the team’s newfound drive to not take blank from nobody will bode well against a Greenville side that initially faced a team still figuring out its identity.

Lexington has a new young striker who could make his debut, and I bet he would love to score his first professional goal in front of the home fans. Simply put, Lexington has been on a revenge tour for the 2nd half of the season, and Greenville is next on the list coming into Toyota Stadium, where the Boys in Green feed off the fans’ energy – fans who also would like some revenge from the April 22nd loss.

Players to Watch

Lexington SC

Don Smart – The veteran leader of the Boys in Green has been a staple in the midfield and has shined for Lexington since the formation switch-up. Smart has been critical in connecting our strong attack to our backline, and he will need to continue to be that solid connection against Greenville’s unique 3-3-3-1 formation.

Greenville Triumph SC

Jacob Labovitz – While he only has 4 goals on the year, Greenville is practically unstoppable when he scores, going 7-2-3 in the 2 years he has been with the club. Labovitz also comes into this match having scored in the Triumph’s last 2 matches, so he may be the 3rd attacker Lexington needs to worry about if they shut down Castro and MacKinnon.


  • Jon Hunt

    Jon Hunt is an avid and enthusiastic soccer podcast host. Originally from the Detroit area, he now resides in central Kentucky. Jon brings passion and his love of soccer history to the Bluegrass Soccer Cast community. His ultimate goal is to continue the growth of soccer in America with a focus of the thriving soccer scene in Kentucky. #ProRelForUSA

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