It’s a night full of rivalries on this penultimate Saturday of the 2020 Championship regular season, including some that have major playoff implications. In one instance, though, it’s the final game between two clubs that have shared plenty over the past six seasons on and off the field. Here’s your Morning Tea for Saturday.
On Saturday night, we’ll bid a fond farewell to the Kings’ Cup.
The rivalry series between Louisville City FC and Saint Louis FC will see its 14th and final regular season game at West Community Stadium. And, sadly, it will be missing the ingredient that has made it special over the past six seasons.
That’s not to say there haven’t been special on-field moments over the years. There certainly have been a fair share of big goals and great saves over the years, and big victories to celebrate – mostly in Louisville’s favor. Its fostered a mutual respect between the two front offices and players, including those like Guy Abend and Kadeem Dacres who have worn the colors of both clubs.
But what’s made the Kings’ Cup special has been the supporters.
There are some sets of fans that don’t really mix. That never seemed to be the case with the Louisville Coopers, St. Louligans and all the rest, who in addition to sharing the rivalry on the field have also come together in mutual respect and competition.
Who can forget the welcoming tailgates that saw fans of both clubs eat, drink and share stories and the love of their clubs before games? How about the sums of money that were donated on both sides for St. Louis and Louisville area food banks through the #Pizzagate fundraisers that originated in the first year of the rivalry? There’s something that is going to endure here because of those relationships that have been developed over the years.
As LouCity President Brad Estes puts it, “You have two groups of supporters that banded together to support soccer in their communities. They support local charities and they show up every weekend, rain or shine, to beat the drum for their clubs.”
Of course, Saturday night has other stakes for STLFC in addition to the Kings’ Cup. In the Group E playoff picture, a win is almost essential to their chances of joining LouCity in the postseason with Indy Eleven sitting poised and ready for any slip-up by the hosts. A win, therefore, would not only give STLFC bragging rights for the first time in the series, but keep their playoff chances alive for one final game.
But what of the Cup after Saturday night? There’s certainly a hope it will return in some form when St. Louis City FC begins play in Major League Soccer either through exhibition meetings or in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
While that may be the case, it’s unlikely to match the emotion, thrills and camaraderie these two clubs have shared over the past six years. After squaring off for the first time in their first games in the Championship on March 28, 2015, tonight the curtain will go down for the final time on one of the most memorable rivalries the league has seen.
One of our favorite things over the last 6 years has been our rivalry with the Louisville City supporters. Long live the #KingsCup— St.Louligans (@StLouligans) September 25, 2020
shoutout to @LouCoopers @LouHeretics @ScousesHouse @BlackSheepLCFC @DerbyCityUltras @LouCityLadies @GrooveMachine https://t.co/6jeQJ2KdzY.
Honestly, this sucks. We wish you the absolute best if you are moving onto the MLS side after this season and we will cherish all of the fun memories off the pitch. You all did tailgating and fundraising that is 2nd to none. The rivalry is on the field, only. Much love to you all— Groove Machine (@GrooveMachine) September 25, 2020
- Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC hasn’t conceded a goal in 483 minutes going into Saturday night’s game against Hartford Athletic, and that’s positioned the Hounds to finish with the best record in the Eastern Conference. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Craig Meyer has more on another stellar season for Head Coach Bob Lilley’s squad.
- New Mexico United has a four-point margin to make up on El Paso Locomotive FC for first place in Group C, but the side is hoping it can put pressure on its rivals with victory on Saturday night. The Albuquerque Journal’s Ken Sickenger has more from United’s camp as it prepares for its fourth visit to Southwest University Park this season.
- Two years ago, Luke Spencer scored the game-winning goal in the 2018 USL Championship Final. Now, ahead of the club’s next pursuit of a title in the Championship Playoffs, he’s also become a father, which has certainly meant an adjustment for everyday life. The Louisville Courier-Journal’s Jonathan Saxon has more.
- The stakes couldn’t be higher for Sacramento Republic FC on Saturday night as it visits rival Reno 1868 FC at Greater Nevada Field. Indomitable City Soccer’s Alicia Rodriguez explains two reasons why victory would be massive for Republic FC, with insight from Head Coach Mark Briggs.
- Birmingham Legion FC’s second season has seen the club take another step forward on the field, but thanks to city natives like Bayern Munich’s Chris Richards the potential for soccer in the city and region is becoming even more apparent. The Birmingham News’ Joe Goodman has more on how the club is aiming to let local talent – including the likes of current Academy signing Jaden Servania – thrive.
- The USL Championship announced on Friday it has issued a six-game suspension and undisclosed fine to LA Galaxy II player Omar Ontiveros for the use of foul and abusive language during the club’s contest against San Diego Loyal SC on Wednesday night. Per the player’s contract, Ontiveros could also be subject to additional discipline from LA Galaxy II.
- FC Tulsa returns to action on Saturday night in a key game against San Antonio FC at ONEOK Field hoping its work during a gap in games has helped prepare the side for a massive game in the Group D playoff race. “We’ve had an opportunity to work on things that we feel we have gotten away from a little bit,” Tulsa Head Coach Michael Nsien told the Tulsa World’s Barry Lewis. “We feel like we’ve healed and are in the best position as possible, physically and mentally, to compete against San Antonio and win.”
- Younes Boudadi produced a pair of assists in Reno 1868 FC’s 5-2 victory against the Portland Timbers 2 last Sunday night. Ahead of Saturday’s rivalry clash with Sacramento Republic FC, he spoke with Nevada Sports Net’s NSN Daily to talk about his first professional season with the club.
Tag(s): San Antonio FC CO Spring Switchbacks LA Galaxy II OKC Energy FC Orange County SC Phoenix Rising FC Portland Timbers 2 Real Monarchs SLC Reno 1868 FC Sacramento Republic FC FC Tulsa Philadelphia Union II Charlotte Independence Louisville City FC New York Red Bulls II Pittsburgh Riverhounds Saint Louis FC Tampa Bay Rowdies Las Vegas Lights FC Birmingham Legion FC Austin Bold FC North Carolina FC Memphis 901 FC El Paso Locomotive FC New Mexico United Hartford Athletic Tacoma Defiance San Diego Loyal SC The Miami FC The Morning Tea