Memphis 901 FC has won three of its last four league outings as it plays host to the Tampa Bay Rowdies on Wednesday night. | Photo courtesy Isaiah J. Downing / Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
The new week in the USL Championship kicks off on Wednesday night as an in-form Memphis 901 FC welcomes the defending Eastern Conference title-holder Tampa Bay Rowdies looking to build on a strong run of recent league form. It’s part of a two-game slate in the Eastern Conference that sees Birmingham Legion FC play host to the Charleston Battery at Protective Stadium.
Here’s a look ahead to both contests.
Venue: Protective Stadium
Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET
538.com Predictor: BHM 61%, CHS 16%, Draw 23%
The Lowdown: Birmingham Legion FC will try to build on a victory last time out when it plays host to a Charleston Battery side looking for its first win since the opening day of the regular season. Legion FC took a 2-1 win again Loudoun United FC on Sunday night as Enzo Martinez recorded his first goal in the club’s colors and notched an assist, sending the side to its second win in its past three league outings. Martinez’s goal could potentially provide a turning point for a Legion FC attack that has created chances but been unable to consistently finish so far this season. Birmingham ranks fifth in the Championship in Expected Goals this season at 11.55xG but has scored only six times so far this campaign. Charleston has had similar struggles in front of goal having yet to score multiple goals in game yet this season, but the side did earn a 1-1 draw against Eastern Conference leaders Louisville City FC on Saturday at Patriots Point to break a four-game losing streak. The Battery sit last in the Championship in average possession at 37.9 percent, holding only a 55.9 passing accuracy rate, which has hampered its ability to create chances consistently.
Birmingham Legion FC – Bruno Lapa: The Brazilian combined well with Martinez in Legion FC’s win against Loudoun, but also missed a penalty kick, and will be hoping for a similar breakthrough to record a first league goal this season against the Battery.
Charleston Battery – Andrew Booth: The Battery newcomer recorded his first assist for the club against Louisville and has recorded eight chances created so far this season, providing some needed creativity for Charleston in the attacking third.
Venue: AutoZone Park
Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET
538.com Predictor: MEM 30%, TBR 43%, Draw 27%
The Lowdown: Memphis 901 FC will return to action having won three of their last four games as they play host to a Tampa Bay Rowdies side it has fallen to in each of the two prior meetings between the clubs. The Rowdies arrive in Memphis after playing to a 1-1 draw against the New York Red Bulls II on Saturday afternoon in which Leo Fernandes scored an equalizer with five minutes to go to earn the side a point. Tampa Bay has won only once in its last five outings overall, but took victory in both of its encounters with 901 FC when the teams last met during the 2019 season, including a 1-0 win at AutoZone Park in Memphis’ inaugural contest when Sebastian Guenzatti scored the lone goal from the penalty spot. 901 FC took a 2-1 win against the previously undefeated Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC in its last outing on April 16 as Aaron Molloy recorded a goal and assist to lead the visitors to victory at Weidner Field. Molloy has recorded two goals and one assist in four appearances this season, and he and his teammates would pull level with the Rowdies on points in the Eastern Conference should they continue their solid recent run of form.
Memphis 901 FC – Patrick Seagrist: The right back has recorded 15 interceptions and 14 clearances so far this season and could need to put in a solid game against a Rowdies side that likes to attack down the flanks to create opportunities.
Tampa Bay Rowdies – Lewis Hilton: The Rowdies’ central midfielder has played every minute of the season so far and has 14 chances created but no assists yet to show for it as the Rowdies are yet to score from a set piece this season.