skip navigation

Gameday Previews – Wednesday, August 17

By Staff, 08/16/22, 10:01AM EDT


Battles for playoff position, and places in the postseason, come into the spotlight on a four-game night

Orange County SC will try to close the gap to seventh-placed Las Vegas Lights FC when the teams square off on Wednesday night at Championship Soccer Stadium. | Photo courtesy Las Vegas Lights FC

Week 24 of the 2022 USL Championship regular season opens with four contests on Wednesday night that each bring a level of intrigue and on-field quality that should provide plenty of entertainment across the night, with one notable interconference clash and two games in the Western Conference that will continue to shape the playoff race for all four teams involved.

Here’s a look ahead to the action.

Birmingham Legion FC vs. Detroit City FC

Venue: Protective Stadium
Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET
Broadcast: ESPN+ Predictor: BHM 52%, DET 21%, Draw 27%

The Lowdown: Birmingham Legion FC will try to continue its winning streak as it plays host to Detroit City FC for the second meeting between the clubs this season, with the visitors coming off a late draw in its last outing. Legion FC took a 1-0 win against San Diego Loyal SC on Saturday night as former United States international Juan Agudelo scored his fifth goal of the season as the side won for a fourth consecutive outing. The win moved Birmingham into fourth place in the Eastern Conference, four points behind third-placed Memphis 901 FC with 10 games to go in the regular season. Legion FC has recorded three consecutive shutouts during its current winning run with goalkeeper Matt VanOekel leading the Championship with 11 shutouts so far this season. Le Rouge claimed victory when the teams met for the first time in April, however, when Antoine Hoppenot’s second-half goal gave the hosts victory at Keyworth Stadium. DCFC took a point this past Saturday night as Francis Atuahene scored a late equzlier in a 1-1 draw against Oakland Roots SC. The result saw Detroit shift into seventh place in the Eastern Conference standings – eight points ahead of eighth-placed FC Tulsa – but after going four games without a win the visitors would get a major boost with a victory on the road to complete a sweep of the season series.

Spotlight Players
Birmingham Legion FC – Prosper Kasim:
The longtime Legion FC standout has notched a goal and two assists in the Three Sparks’ last two outings and will be someone DCFC has to keep close tabs on.

Detroit City FC – Matt Lewis: The center back has been impressive over his 14 appearances this season and will need to put in a big display against a Legion FC attack that includes the experience of Juan Agudelo and Enzo Martinez.

New Mexico United vs. Memphis 901 FC

Venue: Isotopes Park
Kickoff: 9 p.m. ET
Broadcast: ESPN+ Predictor: NM 42%, MEM 31%, Draw 27%

The Lowdown: New Mexico United and Memphis 901 FC will square off for the first time in an interconference clash that sees both teams taking aim at the first home playoff game in club history at the end of the regular season. Memphis moved into second place in the Eastern Conference on Saturday night as it took a 2-0 victory on the road against Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, and could move within one point of first-placed Louisville City FC should it add to a current three-game winning streak. Luiz Fernando and Aaron Molloy found the net for 901 FC in Pittsburgh, with Molloy having recorded two goals and two assists over his past three appearances in what has been a stellar return to the Championship’s ranks. New Mexico is in fourth place in the Western Conference but is looking for a first victory this month after a 2-2 draw against the LA Galaxy II on Sunday evening that saw the side let a two-goal halftime lead slip at the Galaxy II’s home of Dignity Health Sports Park. The contest did see Romario Williams find the net for the first time in New Mexico’s colors, but with Sacramento Republic FC only two points behind United in the race for a top-four finish the pressure is on to get back in the win column for the hosts as they start a two-game homestand this week.

Player Spotlight
New Mexico United – Kalen Ryden:
The veteran center back will likely be tasked with matching up against Memphis leading scorer Phillip Goodrum, who has been a central figure in 901 FC’s attacking success this season.

Memphis 901 FC – Laurent Kissiedou: The Cote D’Ivoire attacking midfielder returned to the starting lineup against Pittsburgh after a pair of substitute appearances following an injury and could have a major impact in Memphis’ transition attacking game.

Orange County SC vs. Las Vegas Lights FC

Venue: Championship Soccer Stadium
Kickoff: 10 p.m. ET
Broadcast: ESPN+ Predictor: OC 51%, LV 22%, Draw 27%

The Lowdown: Orange County SC will try to build on a big victory last time out as it plays host to the Las Vegas Lights FC side it and others are aiming to chase down in the seventh and final playoff place in the Western Conference standings at Championship Soccer Stadium. OCSC took a 2-1 victory against Phoenix Rising FC on Friday night as Milan Iloski scored both goals to move to a league-leading 18 tallies this season. Voted July’s Player of the Month, Iloski now leads the race for the Championship’s Golden Boot by three goals and will try to spearhead another victory for the defending title holders as they try to close a seven-point gap to Lights FC with 10 games to go in the regular season. Las Vegas fell 2-0 to Western Conference leader San Antonio FC on Saturday night at Toyota Field, extending the club’s winless streak to four games, but Las Vegas will take confidence from the 3-0 victory it earned when these teams played for the first time this season on June 11 at Cashman Field when Danny Trejo and Cal Jennings each found the net for the hosts. With a combined 17 goals this season, Trejo and Jennings have been the catalysts for Lights FC’s best run at a playoff place in club history to date. With a win, Las Vegas would jump into sixth place in the West, and extend the gap between itself and the chasing pack as it looks to make the postseason for the first time.

Player Spotlight
Orange County SC – Dillon Powers:
The veteran midfielder provided a brilliant assist on Iloski’s second goal against Phoenix and offers a great balance of passing quality and ball-winning ability that will be key against Las Vegas’ Danny Crisostomo and Frank Daroma.

Las Vegas Lights FC – Danny Trejo: Lights FC’s leading scorer has been held off the scoresheet for the past four outings, with his most recent goal coming in the club’s last victory on the road against Oakland Roots SC on July 24.

Sacramento Republic FC vs. Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC

Venue: Heart Health Park
Kickoff: 11 p.m. ET
Broadcast: ESPN+ Predictor: SAC 45%, COS 29%, Draw 26%

The Lowdown: Sacramento Republic FC returns home aiming to rebound from a setback last time out as it tries to gain ground on a Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC side that grabbed a dramatic point in its last contest but is winless in its last five games. The Switchbacks played to a 4-4 draw with El Paso Locomotive FC on Friday night at Weidner Field as Aaron Wheeler’s goal in second-half stoppage time salvaged a result after the Switchbacks had squandered a three-goal halftime lead against their longtime rivals. Hadji Barry scored twice for the side to move to 15 goals this season, while Cameron Lindley had a pair of assists to move into the league lead with nine helpers this season, but the Switchbacks’ defense has now conceded 17 times in the past five games, allowing at least three goals in each contest. Sacramento will be hoping to take advantage of those struggles after falling 1-0 to Monterey Bay F.C. at Cardinale Stadium to remain in fifth place in the Western Conference standings, five points back of the Switchbacks in third. Sacramento has lost only once this season at Heart Health Park but will be looking for its first home victory in the league since June 18 on Wednesday night after drawing with Oakland Roots SC and Rio Grande Valley FC and falling to Birmingham Legion FC in its three home games since then.

Spotlight Players
Sacramento Republic FC – Rodrigo Lopez:
The veteran midfielder sat out Saturday night’s game at Monterey Bay and should return to the lineup as he looks to add to four goals and five assists in the league this campaign.

Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC – Cam Lindley: The central midfielder has notched nine assists this season to lead the Championship and will need to be at his best against a solid Republic FC midfield unit.

Follow the USL Championship

Most Recent News

Most Read News

Latest Videos