Miami FC and the Tampa Bay Rowdies will square off for the second time this season on Saturday night at Riccardo Silva Stadium. | Photo courtesy Matt May / Tampa Bay Rowdies
One of the notable rivalries in the USL Championship, a long-running series and some intriguing first-time meetings highlight Saturday night’s 10-game slate to wrap up Week 14 of the regular season, and it’s all led off by a nationally televised clash at the league’s most recently opened new venue.
Here’s a look ahead to all the action.
Venue: Cardinale Stadium
Kickoff: 6 p.m. ET
Broadcast: ESPN Deportes / ESPN+
538.com Predictor: MB 18%, SA 58%, Draw 24%
The Lowdown: San Antonio FC will try to rebound from just its third defeat of the season as it heads west to take on Monterey Bay F.C. at Cardinale Stadium, where the hosts will also be aiming to rebound from their most recent outing. MBFC saw a two-game winning streak snapped as it fell 2-0 to Oakland Roots SC last Saturday night on home turf in the absence of some key figures in the club’s turnaround over the past month. Leading scorer Chase Boone could remain on the sidelines on Saturday, but the side could welcome back fellow forward Christian Volesky and midfielder Sam Gleadle to bolster its lineup against one of the top contenders in the Western Conference. San Antonio claimed an emphatic 6-0 victory when the sides first met this season on April 30 as Elliot Collier, PC and Nicky Hernandez all recorded goals in the first half, but the visitors will be trying to rebound after suffering a 1-0 defeat last Saturday night against Sacramento Republic FC at Heart Health Park. SAFC has achieved a strong level of success under Head Coach Alen Marcina after losses, with the side having only lost consecutive games once since the start of the 2020 season while claiming eight victories in 11 contests. San Antonio enters level on points with Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC at the top of the Western Conference, and will be aiming to keep the pressure on its rivals as it heads back to Northern California for a second consecutive weekend.
Monterey Bay F.C. – Kai Greene: The former San Antonio FC defender was absent from the prior meeting between the sides and will be aiming to lead a strong defensive display for the hosts this time around.
San Antonio FC – Samuel Adeniran: Acquired this week on loan from Seattle Sounders FC, the powerful forward could get his first chance to shine after delivering an impressive scoring record in the Championship previously for Tacoma Defiance.
Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET
Venue: Patriots Point
538.com Predictor: CHS 23%, PIT 52%, Draw 24%
The Lowdown: The Charleston Battery and Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC will square off for the 25th time in the USL Championship’s regular season as the Hounds try to solidify their top-four position against a Battery side aiming for a turnaround in its season. The Battery produced a late comeback attempt at home last Saturday night as Augustine Williams scored a pair of goals, but the rally came up short in a 4-3 defeat to Indy Eleven that extended the club’s winless streak to 11 games. Charleston’s three goals were the most it had scored in a game this season, with the side having scored only 10 goals overall in 12 contests so far this season. The Hounds, meanwhile, sit tied for seventh in the league with 22 goals, but are aiming to get back in the win column after being held to a 1-1 draw by Detroit City FC last Saturday night at Highmark Stadium that left the side winless in its last three outings. Pittsburgh claimed two wins and two draws when the sides met a season ago, and the Hounds now bring with them former Battery standout Dane Kelly as one of the leaders in their attack. The Jamaican recorded 42 goals in 107 regular season appearances for the Battery over five seasons at the start of his Championship career and has scored four goals in six games against Charleston on the way to his league record 105 regular season tallies for his career overall.
Charleston Battery – Preston Kilwien: The center back could square off against his former club for the first time on Saturday and will be aiming to lead a stronger defensive display against one of the league’s better attacks.
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC – Alex Dixon: The veteran winger is set to make his 200th regular season appearance in the Championship and needs one assist to reach 30 regular season helpers for his career in the league.
Venue: Riccardo Silva Stadium
Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET
538.com Predictor: MIA 34%, TBR 38%, Draw 28%
The Lowdown: Miami FC and the Tampa Bay Rowdies will square off for the second time this regular season as the hosts look to complete a season sweep of the rivalry series and move back ahead of the Rowdies in the Eastern Conference standings. Miami claimed its first victory at Al Lang Stadium in club history when the teams met earlier this season as Pierre Da Silva scored early in the second half for a 1-0 win in downtown St. Petersburg. Since that meeting on April 9, however, the hosts have won only three times in 10 games, with a 1-1 draw on Wednesday night against Indy Eleven a third consecutive stalemate that dropped Miami below the playoff line in the Eastern Conference as it nears the midway point of its campaign. The Rowdies, meanwhile, have moved up to fifth place in the standings after three wins in their last four games including a 1-0 win against Louisville City FC this past Sunday night that saw Leo Fernandes score the only goal of the game. Tampa Bay struggled in its trips to South Florida a season ago as Miami took a pair of 2-1 victories at Riccardo Silva Stadium. The visitors will be hoping for a change of fortune this time around as they carry the momentum of their best form of the season into the return fixture.
Miami FC – Lamar Walker: The young Jamaican notched his third assist of the season on Wednesday against Indy, moving into a tie for the team lead, and will be hoping to add to that total against Miami’s biggest rival.
Tampa Bay Rowdies – Sebastian Guenzatti: The veteran forward has scored six goals in eight games against Miami in his career and would equal the Rowdies’ all-time scoring record with a tally in South Florida.
Venue: Fifth Third Bank Stadium
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET
538.com Predictor: ATL 46%, LDN 29%, Draw 24%
The Lowdown: Loudoun United FC will try to build on a midweek victory as it heads to face Atlanta United 2 as the hosts try to rebound from a pair of tough outings defensively in Week 13. Atlanta is looking for its first win in more than two months as it returns home after a 5-2 defeat against Memphis 901 FC last Saturday night at AutoZone Park, with its most recent victory having come on April 2 against Hartford Athletic. Atlanta has given up nine goals over its past two outings, which has negated a strong pair of outings by Robbie Mertz, who recorded three goals across those contests to earn Championship Team of the Week honors on Tuesday. Loudoun had seen similar struggles of late but grabbed a 1-0 win against the New York Red Bulls II on Wednesday night at Segra Field as Abdellatif Aboukoura scored an outstanding goal to deliver victory. The visitors remain 10 points back of the playoff positions in the Eastern Conference with the win, but will be hoping the result can springboard them to more success as they try to close the gap on the postseason contenders as it visits Atlanta for the first time since the 2019 season.
Atlanta United 2 – Ajani Fortune: The young Trinidad and Tobago midfielder is looking for his first goal of the season after returning to the starting lineup in recent weeks and will need to be sharp as Atlanta looks for its second home win this campaign.
Loudoun United FC – Alexander Dexter: The recent signing made his first start against the Red Bulls II on Wednesday and put in a solid performance he’ll be aiming to build on as Loudoun tries for a second consecutive win.
Venue: Keyworth Stadium
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET
538.com Predictor: DET 33%, SAC 38%, Draw 28%
The Lowdown: Detroit City FC will look to maintain its undefeated home record this season as it plays host to Sacramento Republic FC at Keyworth Stadium in an intriguing interconference clash between the postseason contenders. DCFC earned a point on the road last time out as Maxi Rodriguez scored his fourth goal of the season in a 1-1 draw against Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC at Highmark Stadium, a result that kept the side in third place in the Eastern Conference standings to continue an impressive first season in the league. The foundation for that success has been laid at Keyworth, where the side is 5-0-2 this campaign having won each of its past four outings on home turf. Sacramento will try to challenge that record after claiming a 1-0 win at home against San Antonio FC last Saturday at Heart Health Park as Douglas Martinez Jr. scored the only goal of the game, but Republic FC will need to find a turnaround in its away form this season to accomplish that. The visitors have won only once in six road outings so far this season, which has put the side in a battle around the playoff line in the Western Conference despite boasting an undefeated home record of its own.
Detroit City FC – Stephen Carroll: The experienced center back could face a key matchup with Republic FC forward Douglas Martinez Jr. as the host look for their first clean sheet since April 30.
Sacramento Republic FC – Rodrigo Lopez: The veteran midfielder leads his side with 25 chances created this season but has yet to record an assist this regular season and could be due as Republic FC looks to boost its away record.
Kickoff: 10 p.m. ET
Venue: Laney Stadium
538.com Predictor: OAK 44%, RGV 29%, Draw 27%
The Lowdown: Oakland Roots SC will try to add to a two-game winning streak and six-game undefeated run as it returns home to face Rio Grande Valley FC for the second time this season. Roots SC claimed a 2-0 victory against NorCal rival Monterey Bay F.C. last Saturday night as goals by Edgardo Rito and Dariusz Formella pushed the side into the playoff picture in the Western Conference at Cardinale Stadium. Oakland has seemingly turned a corner in recent weeks, with the side having claimed three wins in its last four outings overall aided by the play of forward Ottar Magnus Karlsson, whose 10 goals lead the Championship so far this campaign. The Icelandic forward had a five-game scoring streak snapped in Monterey Bay, although he did notch an assist in the win, and the hosts will be hoping for more of the same as it looks to reverse an opening-night defeat to the Toros when the sides met at H-E-B Park on March 12. Rio Grande Valley has been one of the up-and-down teams in the league this campaign, with the Toros having most recently suffered a 1-0 defeat at home to the LA Galaxy II last Saturday night. The side has alternated wins and losses in its past four games, but a victory on the road in Oakland would push the Toros back ahead of Roots SC in what is developing as a tight playoff race in the Western Conference. After Frank Lopez’s winner decided the first meeting between the sides, RGVFC will be hoping for another strong performance this time around.
Oakland Roots SC – Edgardo Rito: The Venezuelan has proven a strong two-way performer this season for Roots SC with three goals and three assists and his influence on the right flank should again be on show for the hosts.
Rio Grande Valley FC – Isidro Martinez: The local standout has recorded four assists this season and will try to pull the strings for the visitors as they try to rebound from their setback last time out.
Kickoff: 10 p.m. ET
Venue: Torero Stadium
538.com Predictor: SD 55%, HFD 22%, Draw 23%
The Lowdown: San Diego Loyal SC returns home after a lengthy road trip looking to return to the win column against a Hartford Athletic side led by a familiar face to the fans at Torero Stadium. SD Loyal rallied to earn a 2-2 draw against the New York Red Bulls II in its last outing on June 2 at Red Bull Arena as Thomas Amang scored twice after coming on as a second-half substitute. The result left San Diego winless in its last four outings as it capped a five-game road trip, but the side has found greater success on home turf this season having won four out of five games at Torero Stadium. Leading scorer Kyle Vassell has scored in each of the past three games at home on his way to eight goals overall this season, placing the former Northern Ireland international second in the league in scoring entering the weekend. Hartford, meanwhile, will be hoping to build on a 1-1 draw against El Paso Locomotive FC in its last outing that saw Peter-Lee Vassell record a second-half equalizer at Southwest University Park last Saturday night. The Athletic have taken seven points from their last four games overall after a slow start to the season, a run that has been aided by the arrival of forward Corey Hertzog, who has notched one goal and one assist in five appearances for the side. Hertzog will make his return to Torero Stadium after having recorded six goals and five assists for SD Loyal a season ago and will be hoping to spoil the party for the hosts on familiar ground.
San Diego Loyal SC – Collin Martin: The veteran midfielder has had a solid campaign so far, completing 91 percent of his passes while notching 10 chances created, and his influence could be key to SD Loyal’s success.
Hartford Athletic – Joel Johnson: The left winger has recorded three goals this season but should face a challenging matchup from SD Loyal right back Jack Metcalf in a battle the visitors may need to win to earn a result.
Kickoff: 10:30 p.m. ET
Venue: Dignity Health Sports Park
538.com Predictor: LA 30%, COS 45%, Draw 25%
The Lowdown: The LA Galaxy II and Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC will both try to build on victories last time out as the Western Conference-leading Switchbacks try to solidify their place in the standings. Colorado Springs took a 3-0 victory against Las Vegas Lights FC last Friday night at Weidner Field as Elvis Amoh’s first-half goal paved the way to a ninth win in 11 regular season contests this season for the hosts. Michee Ngalina and Matt Mahoney also found the net for the Switchbacks to move the side back to the top of the standings on goal differential ahead of San Antonio FC, with Ngalina notching his fifth goal of the season. Colorado Springs has produced one of the most balanced attacks in the league so far this campaign, with 2021 Most Valuable Player Hadji Barry now sitting tied for second in the league with five assists and Amoh joining Ngalina with five goals to sit tied for the team-lead. The side will aim to continue that success against Los Dos, who took a 1-0 win on the road against Rio Grande Valley FC for their first away win of the season last Saturday but will be without leading scorer Preston Judd on Saturday night as he serves a one-game suspension for caution accumulation. Sitting a point outside the playoff positions in the Western Conference, the Galaxy II have proven a solid proposition on home turf this season with a 4-1-1 record. They will be aiming to continue that success against a Switchbacks side that has won five out of six away from home this campaign.
LA Galaxy II – Duhaney Williams: The Jamaican winger has recorded one goal and two assists this season and could need to fill the attacking hole left by Judd’s absence on Saturday night.
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC – Zach Zandi: The versatile midfielder has been a strong two-way performer so far this season but will need to try and help contain Los Dos playmaker Taylor Davila in the center of the park.
Kickoff: 10:30 p.m. ET
Venue: Cashman Field
538.com Predictor: LV 25%, OC 49%, Draw 26%
The Lowdown: Both Las Vegas Lights FC and Orange County SC will try to break out of their recent funks and push back into the playoff race in the Western Conference as they square off for the first time this season. Lights FC is looking to rebound from a 3-0 defeat on the road against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC last Friday night at Weidner Field in which the visitors had chances but were unable to take advantage against the Western Conference leaders. The loss was a second in a row for Las Vegas, which is now winless in its last seven games overall dating back to a 1-0 win against Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC on April 16. At the center of that run has been a downturn in the side’s attacking form, with Lights FC having been held scoreless in its last three outings and having scored just once in its last five. The hosts will try to find a turnaround against an OCSC side that has also dropped its last two outings, with the defending Championship title holders falling 2-1 to New Mexico United last Saturday night after Erick “Cubo” Torres saw a stoppage-time penalty kick saved to deny the side a point at Championship Soccer Stadium. Orange County has conceded seven times in its current four-game winless run overall as the attacking duo of Torres and Milan Iloski has been unable to quite keep pace to earn the side results despite a combined 13 goals this campaign. With OCSC two points back of Las Vegas in the Western Conference, this game is a crucial one for both sides as they look to jumpstart their playoff possibilities.
Las Vegas Lights FC – Cal Jennings: The LAFC loanee has notched three goals and three assists so far this season for Lights FC and could help spark the attack as the hosts try to get back into the win column.
Orange County SC – Michael Orozco: The former United States international will need to try and pull his side together defensively as OCSC tries to find a turnaround for its season.
Kickoff: 10:30 p.m. ET
Venue: Wild Horse Pass
538.com Predictor: PHX 39%, ELP 37%, Draw 24%
The Lowdown: Phoenix Rising FC will try to rebound from a setback last time out as it plays host to El Paso Locomotive FC in the first meeting between the teams since the Western Conference Final of the 2020 USL Championship Playoffs. Rising FC fell 1-0 to Birmingham Legion FC last Saturday night as Prosper Kasim scored the only goal to hand the hosts their third home defeat at Wild Horse Pass this campaign. Phoenix has lost three of its last four outings overall to sit in fifth place in the Western Conference but remains only six points back of the top of the standings as it looks to rebound with the return of veterans such as James Musa and Aodhan Quinn from injury providing a boost to the squad. Rising FC claimed victory in a penalty shootout when the teams last met to claim its second Western Conference title, but El Paso could arrive confident after going undefeated in its last four outings to move level on points with its hosts on Saturday night. Locomotive FC played to a 1-1 draw last Saturday night against Hartford Athletic at Southwest University Park as Diego Abarca became the youngest goalscorer in club history with a second-half tally, and the visitors should see the return to the lineup of forward Luis Solignac on Saturday after the completion of a one-game suspension. Solignac has recorded six goals so far this campaign, while Dylan Mares and Josue Aaron Gomez have recorded five and four goals respectively for one of the stronger attacks in the league this season.
Phoenix Rising FC – Santi Moar: The Spanish winger has yet to find the net this season in 10 appearances but has recorded 19 chances created and will be hoping to find a breakout game against Locomotive FC.
El Paso Locomotive FC – Josue Aaron Gomez: The Mexican forward has recorded three goals and four assists this campaign, providing a consistent attacking threat that Rising FC will need to account for.
Tag(s): News Game Previews San Antonio FC CO Spring Switchbacks LA Galaxy II Orange County SC Phoenix Rising FC Rio Grande Valley FC Sacramento Republic FC Charleston Battery Pittsburgh Riverhounds Tampa Bay Rowdies Las Vegas Lights FC Atlanta United 2 El Paso Locomotive FC Loudoun United FC Hartford Athletic San Diego Loyal SC The Miami FC Oakland Roots SC Detroit City FC Monterey Bay F.C.