Ten games are on the slate between Saturday afternoon and Monday night, including three on national television via ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes. Here’s your Morning Tea to get ready for the weekend.
The previous editions of the Kings’ Cup between Louisville City FC and Saint Louis FC have proven consequential in their own ways over the years.
This year, though? There might be a playoff berth hanging in the balance between the two rivals.
Together in Group E, both LouCity and STLFC are having to fight Indy Eleven for the two places in the playoffs at the end of the 2020 USL Championship campaign. With both sides losing ground to the Eleven last weekend after STLFC fell at Indy and LouCity was defeated by Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, this Saturday’s clash at Lynn Family Stadium is an important opportunity for both to bounce back.
For Louisville, that’s certainly the plan.
“We’re very anxious about setting this right and showing our fans that we are much better team than what we showed this past Sunday,” said Head Coach John Hackworth to reporters this week. “This is a group that’s always had a good response when we do have a setback, and that’s the expectation for us.”
LouCity certainly has tended to bounce back well from setbacks in the past. A year ago, the side only suffered back-to-back defeats twice all campaign, while in 2018 it only happened once.
STLFC, on the other hand, hasn’t always been as fortunate, with its four-game losing streak to end the 2019 season – and three other instances of back-to-back defeats – a key factor in the side missing out on a playoff berth a year ago. How new Head Coach Steve Trittschuh’s side responds in its first trip to Lynn Family Stadium to its defeat by Indy might give us an early indication of which direction Group E is headed.
The rivalry aside, both teams will be all-out for victory on Saturday night.
"These games, because of the aspect of only the top two advances (to the playoffs), are like six-point games,” said Hackworth. “Especially coming off of Sunday, where we don’t have the kind of result that we want…both teams, having lost on the weekend, are coming into a position playing their first divisional opponent. This game has added importance because of that.”
- Like many of its USL Championship counterparts, Louisville City FC is building out a full academy system, and working in collaboration with other local clubs to bring the best talent into their professional environment. My colleague Cameron Koubek took a closer look at what Academy Director Mario Sanchez is building for LouCity.
- It was a happy 33rd birthday for OKC Energy FC's Jaime Chavez on Friday night as he notched a goal and assist to lead his side in a 3-1 victory against Austin Bold FC. The victory was also new Energy FC Head Coach John Pascarella's first at the helm, and gave OKC a nice boost in the Group D standings.
- North Carolina FC produced an impressive comeback in their return to action against the Tampa Bay Rowdies at Al Lang Stadium. The visitors were down two goals at the break, but Dre Fortune and Robbie Kristo each struck in the second half to give North Carolina FC its first point of the new season.
- Parfait Mandanda became the first goalkeeper to record an assist in a Championship game since Tomas Gomez for Saint Louis FC on July 27, 2019, and the combination of that and a three-save shutout proved key as Hartford Athletic earned a 1-0 victory on the road against the New York Red Bulls II at Red Bull Arena.
- The South Texas Derby that was originally scheduled for Friday night will now be played on Sunday at 9 p.m. ET, with Rio Grande Valley FC and San Antonio FC announcing in conjunction with the Championship the rescheduling of their postponed contest.
- An underrated rivalry will also be in action on Saturday, with Real Monarchs SLC hosting Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC in an afternoon kickoff at Rio Tinto Stadium. Switchbacks Head Coach Alan Koch is looking forward to his players having the chance to rise to the occasion on a bigger stage.
- There was a learning experience for what will be the new normal when travelling on the road this season for Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC as they went to Louisville. The Hounds hit the road again this weekend, wiser for the experience before their game with the Philadelphia Union II.
- After the wait to find out whether the 2020 season would resume or not, Reno 1868 FC Head Coach Ian Russell is looking forward to getting back underway on Sunday against rival Sacramento Republic FC, and thinks his side is ready to go for the nationally televised clash on ESPN2 after three weeks of full-team preparation.
- The 2020 League One season gets underway tonight, but on Friday afternoon the final pieces of content to get you up to speed with everything you need to know about the league’s second season dropped. Starting off, how about a complete schedule for the next three-and-a-half months?
- Then, I got the chance to put together the first set of Power Rankings of the season, and also the 10 games you should have circled on your calendar as the season progresses.
- Want to make your picks on how the League One season will play out? Play our League One Table Predictor and keep your standings in a safe place to claim bragging rights on the rest of the country when October 24 rolls around.
Tag(s): CO Spring Switchbacks LA Galaxy II OKC Energy FC Portland Timbers 2 Real Monarchs SLC Reno 1868 FC Sacramento Republic FC Philadelphia Union II Charleston Battery Louisville City FC New York Red Bulls II Pittsburgh Riverhounds Saint Louis FC Tampa Bay Rowdies Birmingham Legion FC Austin Bold FC Atlanta United 2 North Carolina FC Indy Eleven Memphis 901 FC El Paso Locomotive FC Loudoun United FC Hartford Athletic Tacoma Defiance San Diego Loyal SC Sporting KC II The Morning Tea