Maryland lost five players from its championship team to MLS -- Omar Gonzalez, A.J. DeLaGarza, Rodney Wallace, Jeremy Hall and Graham Zusi -- while Carolina graduated four seniors and lost freshman star Sheanon Williams, who left school and is playing for the U.S. under-20 national team in Egypt.
Maryland beat North Carolina three times in 2008, but the No. 2 Tar Heels are the slight favorites this time. They have yet to lose a game in 2009, while the No. 8 Terrapins lost their opener, 2-0, to UCLA before a Ludwig Field record crowd of 6,718.
Freshmen should play key roles in Friday's game. Ethan White and Taylor Kemp have played well on the Maryland backline that features four news starters. South Carolina prep legend Enzo Martinez has played well for Carolina in ACC wins over N.C. State and Duke.
* PROJECTED STARTERS:
1 *Zac MacMath, SOPH. (Played for USA at 2007 Under-17 World Cup.)
2 Taylor Kemp, FR. (All-Development Academy pick at Real Colorado)
4 Ethan White, FR. (Product of D.C. United's academy program)
15 Kevin Tagney, SR. (Came on as sub in 2008 championship game.)
18 Alex Lee, SOPH. (Played as a forward during freshman season)
5 *Doug Rodkey, SR. (Led Terrapins with nine assists in 2008.)
8 Matt Kassel, SOPH. (Product of New York Red Bulls youth program.)
10 Drew Yates, SR. (Sparkplug off bench in 2008.)
23 Kaoru Forbess, SOPH. (Back injury slowed him down in 2008.)
9 *Jason Herrick, JR. (Missed the 2007 due to an injury.)
11 *Casey Townsend, SOPH. (2008 Soccer America Freshman of the Year.)
1 *Brooks Haggerty, SR. (Has allowed only four goals in six games.)
4 Brett King, SOPH. (One of four 2008 appearances came in final.)
5 *Zach Loyd, SR. (Started in midfield in 2008 championship game.)
14 *Jordan Graye, SR. (Knee injury limited playing time at College Cup.)
23 Drew McKinney, SOPH. (Red-shirted in '07 and didn't play in '08.)
15 *Cameron Brown, JR. (Leads UNC with two game-winning goals.)
18 Kirk Urso, SOPH. (Reserve in 2008 championship game.)
19 Michael Farfan, JR. (Transferred from Cal State Fullerton)
3 Alex Dixon, SOPH. (One of seven former U-17 residents on UNC roster.)
10 *Billy Schuler, SOPH. (Starter in 2008 championship game.)
16 Enzo Martinez, FR. (Star on Discoveries SC U-18 national champs.)
*Starter in 2008 NCAA Division I championship game.
Weekend Top 25 Schedule
* ZIP FEVER. No. 1 Akron is selling season-ticket packages -- $40 for adults, $25 for youth -- to its remaining six games. The Zips drew a sellout crowd of 2,443 for their game against Indiana a week ago, and another sellout is expected for the match against Ohio State on Wednesday night.