The ACC will have its third straight men’s soccer national champion confirmed today as No. 4 Notre Dame meet No. 14 Clemson in the 2023 NCAA title match.
Notre Dame have been one of the country’s most dominant sides throughout the season, losing just twice all year, but they were pipped by Wake Forest to the regular season title and disappointingly bounced by Louisville in the first round of the ACC tournament, falling short of their conference goals. The Irish could put all that behind them by winning the school’s second-ever national championship.
The 2021 title winners Clemson opened the season in disappointing fashion, falling out of the national rankings, but surged through the second half of the campaign, culminating with an ACC tournament title by knocking off UNC on penalties. They haven’t lost since a close defeat at Wake Forest in mid-September, a run of 13 straight matches including their most recent 1-0 win over No. 5 West Virginia in the College Cup semifinals.
This game represents a rematch of the 2021 College Cup semifinals when Clemson won on a penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw – where they defeated Washington 2-0 in the final to win the national championship.
The Sporting News is following the 2023 NCAA women’s soccer championship match between Notre Dame and Clemson live, providing score updates, commentary and highlights as they happen.
2023 NCAA men’s soccer championship live score
Kickoff: 6 p.m. ET / 3 p.m. PT
Location: Lynn Family Stadium (Louisville, KY)
2023 NCAA men’s soccer championship live updates, highlights, commentary
45 mins to kickoff: Since falling to Wake Forest in late September, Clemson has reinvented its defensive solidity, transforming the team behind an already dangerous attacking unit. The Tigers have conceded more than one goal exactly one time, in a 3-3 thriller against Duke in the ACC tournament.
They’ve taken even another step in the NCAA Tournament, yet to concede a single goal this entire competition through four games, eight goals unanswered since UNC’s opener in the 49th minute of the ACC tournament final.
Let’s run it back 🎬
— NCAA Soccer (@NCAASoccer) December 9, 2023
1 hour to kickoff: Ousmane Sylla has worked his way up the attacking ranks since joining Clemson back in 2020. He earned a starting role last season but managed to bag just five goals in 18 starts, before blossoming into a full-blown goal threat this season with 12 goals and 10 assists, becoming one of just two players in the nation with double-digit goals and assists.
Sylla hails from the SIMA academy in Florida, which has a heavy link-up with developing talent from Senegal. He played under former Clemson stars Justin Malou and Hamady Diop, both of whom also hail from Senegal and were selected in the MLS draft, with Diop going first overall in 2023.
Now, Sylla has made the Clemson attack his own and could be the next Tiger star to go high in the MLS selection process. He’s a semifinalist for this year’s top collegiate award, the Mac Hermann trophy.
— Clemson Men’s Soccer (@ClemsonMSoccer) December 6, 2023
1 hour 15 mins to kickoff: In such a brutal conference, winning ACC Coach of the Year is a very high honor. Doing so without winning the regular season championship is an even bigger accomplishment. That’s exactly what Notre Dame boss Chad Riley did this season, beating highly regarded Wake Forest head coach Bobby Muus to the crown.
The only other time a Notre Dame coach won the honor was back in 2013, when Bobby Clark led the side to the national title. Can Riley make good on that premonition?
𝐀𝐂𝐂 𝐂𝐨𝐚𝐜𝐡 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐘𝐞𝐚𝐫
— Notre Dame Men’s Soccer (@NDMenSoccer) November 8, 2023
1 hour 30 mins to kickoff: The ACC was the nation’s toughest conference top to bottom this season, by a country mile. It’s regular season champion Wake Forest hit No. 1 in the nation through the middle of the season, but the Demon Deacons fell short in both the ACC and NCAA tournament. Clemson surged to win the tournament, but if Notre Dame were to win today, it would mark three different winners in three different arenas.
Next year, the conference is going to get even more brutal as they add Stanford, Cal and SMU thanks to the fallout from the Pac-12’s demise. SMU finished the season ranked second in the country, while Stanford ranked 22nd and Cal were in the polls at various points throughout the year. It’s a gauntlet of a conference, with talent spread across the nation, which is fun and daunting at the same time.
The MOST teams of any conference heading to the NCAA Tournament ⚽️ pic.twitter.com/Amh9zpTE8q
— The ACC (@theACC) November 13, 2023
Notre Dame vs Clemson lineups, team news
Notre Dame is led from the back, with goalkeeper Bryan Dowd appearing as the team’s lone All American named in the first team. Dowd became the first Notre Dame player ever named ACC Goalkeeper of the Year, conceding just eight goals in 15 conference matches while his 11 shutouts are second in the country. Dowd’s .841 save percentage ranks seventh in the nation, and it’s come on a higher volume of efforts, with his 69 saves more than anyone above him on the save percentage chart.
Striker Matthew Roou is the team’s second-leading scorer with 10 goals, but sophomore Eno Nto impressively leads the squad with 11 goals despite recently coming off the bench. He’s got four goals as a substitute this season, but does damage from the start as well, bagging four goals against a highly-ranked Pitt side back in late October.
Notre Dame projected starting lineup (4-4-2): Dowd (GK) — Burns, Ramsey, Ferguson, Genenbacher — Baffour, O’Brien, Boneau, Russo — Spicer, Rou.
Notre Dame subs: (Subs will be updated as players enter off the bench during the match)
The Clemson front line is led by first-team All American forward Ousmane Sylla, an experienced forward who hails from the SIMA program in Montverde, Florida – which has built a strong connection to locating and developing talent from Senegal. He played a significant role in the 2021 national championship team and is the Tigers’ leading scorer this season with 12 goals, including a hat-trick against Boston College in October.
Their leading creative duties are largely carried by winger Alex Meinhard, who is joint-leader with five assists. Nathan Richmond has equalled that mark, but has only just returned from injury, coming off the bench in the last two matches. In his place on the right flank is Tyler Trimnal who has been exceptional in his expanded role, with five goals and two assists despite just eight starts on the year.
Clemson projected starting lineup (4-3-3): Andema (GK) — Smart, Gibert, Boye, Duquenne — Parrish, Gerbet, Lundegard — Trimnal, Sylla, Meinhard.
Clemson subs: (Subs will be updated as players enter off the bench during the match)
How to watch 2023 NCAA men’s soccer championship
The entirety of the 2023 NCAA men’s and women’s College Cup will be televised on ESPNU, with both the semifinals and finals broadcast live on the channel.
The matches can be streamed on ESPN+ or WatchESPN for those with valid login credentials, while ESPNU can also be found on Fubo.