A four-game slate of action kicks off Week 11 in the 2022 USL Championship regular season on Wednesday night including a clash between two sides currently sitting in the Eastern Conference playoff positions, a pair of interconference battles, and a Western Conference clash between two sides separated by only two points in the standings.
Here’s a look ahead to the action.
Where: Riccardo Silva Stadium
When: 7 p.m. ET
538.com Predictor: MIA 51%, DET 22%, Draw 27%
The Lowdown: Miami FC will try to rebound from defeat on its home turf last time out as it welcomes third-placed Detroit City FC for the first meeting between the clubs in their histories. Miami suffered a 2-0 defeat to San Antonio FC on Saturday night at Riccardo Silva Stadium, the second consecutive game in which the side had been held scoreless. The hosts currently sit in the seventh and final playoff position in the East, two points ahead of FC Tulsa and Birmingham Legion FC, as they sit with identical 2-2-1 records at both home and away so far this season. Detroit City, meanwhile, arrives after claiming a 4-2 victory against Loudoun United FC at Keyworth Stadium in its most recent outing as Antoine Hoppenot recorded a pair of assists and three different players found the net in another impressive display by the Championship newcomers. Hoppenot is now one off the league-lead with three assists this season and moved into sole possession of sixth place in the league’s regular season history with 36 helpers for his career. Le Rouge have won five of their last six games overall and would move into second place in the standings with a win in Miami, passing Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC.
Miami FC – Florian Valot: The French playmaker has recorded a pair of assists but has yet to find the net since his offseason arrival in Miami while putting only two shots on target so far this season. A breakout performance could be exactly what the hosts need against a strong defensive unit.
Detroit City FC – Maxi Rodriguez: The central midfielder has been one of the central figures to DCFC’s success this season and will take on a big challenge with a potential head-to-head matchup with Jamaican international Speedy Williams in Miami.
Venue: Protective Stadium
Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET
538.com Predictor: BHM 61%, LV 15%, Draw 23%
The Lowdown: Birmingham Legion FC will play host to Las Vegas Lights FC for the first time as the hosts try to find greater success in the final third against a Lights FC side that has proven resilient in recent weeks. Birmingham returns to action after falling 1-0 to Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC on May 7 in its most recent outing, a contest in which the side failed to register an official shot on goal at Highmark Stadium. Legion FC’s attack has had positive moments at times this season with Prosper Kasim leading the side with three goals. Overall, the side has scored only eight times, fourth-fewest in the league, after being held scoreless in each of its past two outings. Las Vegas has cooled off from a fast start behind April Player of the Month Danny Trejo, who still sits tied for the league-lead with six goals and four assists. The side is winless with three draws in its last four outings as it arrives in Birmingham but did rally to earn a point in its last outing as Alex Lara found the net in a 1-1 draw against Oakland Roots SC this past Saturday. Lights FC is 2-1-0 against Eastern Conference opposition, too, including a road victory against the Charleston Battery the last time they headed to the Southeast as Trejo scored both goals in a 2-1 win on April 1.
Birmingham Legion FC – Juan Agudelo: The former United States international has scored once from the penalty spot in five appearances since his arrival in Birmingham and could use a big game to raise his confidence and the club’s strike rate.
Las Vegas Lights FC – Frank Daroma: The 21-year-old midfielder has notched a pair of assists this season while posting a passing accuracy rate of 87 percent and will be needed to help move possession quickly alongside Danny Crisostomo in the center of the park.
Venue: AutoZone Park
Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET
538.com Predictor: MEM 55%, LA 21%, Draw 24%
The Lowdown: Memphis 901 FC will try to build on a big home victory in its most recent outing against an LA Galaxy II side that turned heads with its win last time out but that has struggled on the road so far this campaign. Memphis solidified its place in the top four of the Eastern Conference last Saturday when it took a 2-1 victory against Indy Eleven at AutoZone Park that saw Zach Carroll and Laurent Kissiedou find the net either side of halftime. The victory was 901 FC’s fourth in its last five games with the side’s balance in all phases of the game continuing to shine. Kissiedou’s goal was his third of the season to go with two assists, while Jeremy Kelly is now tied for the league lead with four helpers this season. Memphis will look to continue that form against Los Dos, who ended Louisville City FC’s undefeated start to the season last Friday night with a 4-3 win at Dignity Health Sports Park as Cameron Dunbar scored twice and Preston Judd recorded two assists. The win was the Galaxy II’s second major home win this season following that against Phoenix Rising FC on May 1, but the side is winless away from home this season at 0-3-2, a number that it will be hoping to change as it visits AutoZone Park for the first time.
Memphis 901 FC – Aaron Molloy: The Irish midfielder has been ever-present since 901 FC’s second game of the season and has posted an 85.3 percent passing accuracy rate and 11 chances created as well as two goals and two assists this campaign.
LA Galaxy II – Michael Salazar: The Belize forward will return to face his former club on Wednesday having scored six goals and two assists for 901 FC last season. Salazar has notched three goals and two assists so far this campaign for Los Dos.
Venue: Southwest University Park
Kickoff: 9 p.m. ET
538.com Predictor: ELP 46%, SAC 28%, Draw 27%
The Lowdown: El Paso Locomotive FC returns home aiming to rebound from its first loss this month against a Sacramento Republic FC side that sits two points ahead of its hosts in the Western Conference standings as they square off for the second time this season. Locomotive FC fell 1-0 against Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC this past Saturday night as a late penalty kick by El Paso’s Luis Solignac was saved by Hounds goalkeeper Kevin Silva, denying the visitors at point at Highmark Stadium. El Paso could jump into fifth place in the standings by the end of Wednesday night with a win if it can turn the tables from the opening weekend of the season when Sacramento took a late 3-1 victory at Heart Health Park behind a winner by Douglas Martinez Jr. and insurance marker by Keko in the final five minutes of the contest. Sacramento returns to league action in El Paso having taken a 2-0 victory against Phoenix Rising FC last Wednesday night to advance to the Round of 16 in the 2022 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in its most recent outing. Republic FC got goals by Luis Felipe Fernandes and Martinez, but the key performance came from goalkeeper Danny Vitiello, whose penalty kick save late in the first half was part of a six-save shutout. The win continued Sacramento’s undefeated record on home turf this season, but the visitors will be hoping to improve their away form as it heads to El Paso with only one win in four road contests so far this season, and two defeats at Southwest University Stadium in its prior visits.
El Paso Locomotive FC – Dylan Mares: The midfield playmaker has recorded four goals and three assists this season but has been held off the scoresheet in the past two outings, something he’ll be aiming to change on Wednesday.
Sacramento Republic FC – Matt LaGrassa: The veteran midfielder has had a consistent season so far in the center of the midfield, completing 78.8 percent of his passes while recording nine interceptions, and he could be needed to help limit the attacking threat El Paso possesses.