CLEMSON, S.C. — The top-ranked Clemson Tigers (12-2-1) will welcome No. 4 Wake Forest (11-2-1) to Historic Riggs Field for the second time this season on Friday, April 2. The two sides have split their first two matches this season, with each team winning their home contest. Fans can tune into ACCNX for a live broadcast of the match, as well as follow along with live stats.
Friday’s match will be the 51st in series history, as Wake Forest holds a slight edge in the overall record having gone 24-19-7 in the first 50 meetings. In matches played at Clemson, the Tigers are 11-8-2 following a thrilling 2-1 victory against then-No. 1 Wake Forest on Oct. 13, 2020. The two sides first met on Sept. 14, 1980, and have played every season since. The 2020-2021 season is the first time that the two programs have faced one another on three occasions during the same season, as the previous record for head-to-head matches in a season was two, a feat which had been accomplished eight times.
The Tigers enter Friday’s match as one of the nation’s most consistent offensive teams, having registered 29 goals and 80 points across their first 15 matches. George Marks continues to lead the nation in goalkeeper minutes (1,326) and ranks seventeenth in total saves (34). James Brighton leads the team in shots (33), while Callum Johnson ranks second on the team in points (12) and assists (4).
Clemson and Wake Forest will look much different on Friday when compared to their first two meetings this season, as the programs have lost a combined nine players to professional opportunities since the end of the fall season. The two programs had four of the first five players drafted in the 2021 MLS SuperDraft, along with seven total athletes taken during the first two rounds of the draft. The Tigers and Demon Deacons also lost a combined three players to Homegrown Player contracts, as Clemson’s Grayson Barber (Sporting KC) and Wake Forest’s Machop Chol (Atlanta United) and Isaiah Parente (Columbus Crew) ended their collegiate eligibility early for professional opportunities.
Friday’s match will have implications on the looming postseason. With a win on Friday, Clemson would secure the top spot in the ACC’s Atlantic Division, resulting in Clemson playing the winner of the Coastal Division on April 17 at Historic Riggs Field for the ACC’s NCAA Tournament automatic bid. If Friday’s match were to end with any other outcome, the final weekend of regular season competition would determine the conference’s path to determining an automatic qualifier. Clemson earned the ability to play in and host the match for the ACC’s NCAA automatic bid after winning the 2020 ACC Tournament, defeating then-No.1 Pittsburgh, 2-1.
For all of the most up-to-date information regarding Clemson men’s soccer, be sure to reference clemsontigers.com and follow @ClemsonMSoccer on Twitter.
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