Memphis 901 FC came up with a strong showing in their first action of the 2024 preseason as they played to a 1-1 draw with Atlanta United in Athens, Georgia on Saturday.
One Touch, One Score
Memphis struck quickly with a combination that’s sure to result in fireworks in 2024 as Luiz Fernando connected with Nighte Pickering, who gathered and delivered a strike from just outside of the penalty area to beat the keeper.
Pickering, who celebrated his 19th birthday last week, is primed for a breakout year in his third season as a pro as he sets his sights on a spot in the U-20 Men’s Youth National Team.
The forward has made habit of game-changing play in the state of Georgia with Saturday’s goal following his game-winning extra time goal to knock Atlanta United out of the 2023 U.S. Open Cup.
Defense Shows Resilience
Memphis 901 FC played with the lead for 86 minutes in Saturday’s match thanks to strong performance from a stable of defenders.
Head Coach Stephen Glass started with a mostly familiar back line in Saturday’s friendly as Oscar Jimenez joined regular starters Carson Vom Steeg, Lucas Turci and Akeem Ward, who slid on the captain’s armband for the first time for Memphis.
Turci came up from the backline and made an important run into the Atlanta final third that led to the early goal, then led the team in minutes played on Saturday.
The starters made way for newcomers at the half as Tulu and Abdoulaye Cissoko came on to hold the line from the desperate Atlanta attack. The two new defenders were able to make several crucial clearances to deny scoring chances.
Duncan Stepping in to Central Role
Zach Duncan has impressed so far in preseason camp and earned the start in the central midfield alongside Emerson Hyndman. The Australian is a former top prospect with appearances for the Aussie U-23 National Team and joined 901 FC in the offseason from the Danish Superliga.
“I’m really excited to be joining the club,” he said after his signing this winter. “It’s a project I’m really looking forward to contributing to with the squad. It’s a place where I can come and get back to my best.”
Preseason preparation continues as the club looks forward to opening the regular season at AutoZone Park on March 9. Season ticket packages are available for purchase now at www.memphis901fc.com.