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Gameday Previews – Wednesday, August 24

By Staff, 08/23/22, 11:14AM EDT


FC Tulsa looks to close the gap to the playoffs places, while SD Loyal can close in on clinching a berth

San Diego Loyal SC and Oakland Roots SC will square off on Wednesday night both looking for victory after playing to a 2-2 draw in April. | Photo courtesy Oakland Roots SC

Two teams looking to make a late run into the field for the USL Championship Playoffs are in action on Wednesday night as Week 25 of the regular season begins with FC Tulsa aiming for a third consecutive victory and Oakland Roots SC beginning a new era against a San Diego Loyal SC side that can move closer to clinching its second consecutive playoff berth with a win.

Here’s a look ahead to the action.

FC Tulsa vs. Hartford Athletic

Venue: ONEOK Field
Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. ET
Broadcast: ESPN+ Predictor: TUL 48%, HFD 27%, Draw 25%

The Lowdown: FC Tulsa will try to cut its margin to the playoff places in the Eastern Conference to five points as it plays host to a Hartford Athletic side which will play its penultimate game under interim Head Coach Ray Reid looking to play spoiler. Tulsa took a dramatic 1-0 victory on Saturday night at ONEOK Field before a club-record crowd of 5,082 fans as Machuca scored a 90th-minute winner to lift the side after goalkeeper Austin Wormell’s seven-save shutout. Tulsa has now taken three wins in its last four outings overall as it tries to chase down either sixth-placed Miami FC or seventh-placed Detroit City FC with nine games to go in the campaign. Hartford has lost three of its last four outings, meanwhile, after a 2-0 defeat to Miami FC on Saturday night. The club is set to enter a new era on September 1, following its appointment of former United States U-20 Men’s National Team Head Coach and National Soccer Hall of Fame member Tab Ramos, who will take the reins from Reid in just over a week. With a 19-point gap to the playoff positions and nine games to go this season the playoffs are out of reach for this season, but the club’s players will be hoping to put in a positive display as the teams square off for the first time in their histories.

Spotlight Players
FC Tulsa – Noah Powder:
The Trinidad and Tobago international has found his feet in Tulsa after a midseason move from Indy Eleven and almost had his second goal in as many games on Saturday, hitting the woodwork in a solid two-way performance on the left.

Hartford Athletic – Ariel Martinez: The Cuban veteran is set to return to face one of his former clubs in Tulsa, where during the abbreviated 2020 season he notched two goals and three assists in 16 appearances, helping Tulsa reach the postseason.

San Diego Loyal SC vs. Oakland Roots SC

Venue: Torero Stadium
Kickoff: 10 p.m. ET
Broadcast: ESPN+ Predictor: SD 50%, OAK 27%, Draw 24%

The Lowdown: San Diego Loyal SC will try to close in on clinching a playoff berth as it plays host to an Oakland Roots SC side that would move within a point of the playoff places with a victory on the road at Torero Stadium. Roots SC returns to action with Noah Delgado at the helm as interim Head Coach after the departure of Juan Guerra, who was on Monday introduced as the new Head Coach of Western Conference rival Phoenix Rising FC after an agreement for his release was settled by the clubs. Oakland is currently four points out of the playoff positions but has two games in hand on seventh-placed El Paso Locomotive FC as it sits in the middle of a tightly packed collection of seven clubs between seventh and 13th places covered by seven points, making a win vital to try and break up the standings. SD Loyal has no such company surrounding it as it sits in second place in the West after a 3-1 victory against Locomotive FC on Saturday night at Southwest University Park that dropped the club’s Magic Number to 8 points. Goals by Kyle Vassell, Thomas Amang and Evan Conway and a pair of assists by Charlie Adams led San Diego to victory, and the side will now look for a fifth consecutive victory at Torero Stadium, which would cut the side’s gap to first-placed San Antonio FC to just two points.

Player Spotlight
San Diego Loyal SC – Charlie Adams:
The central midfielder moved into the club lead with seven assists this season with his third two-helper game this campaign against El Paso and has been one of the key figures to SD Loyal’s success this season overall.

Oakland Roots SC – Juan Carlos Azocar: The Venezuelan winger has notched six goals this season and found the net when these teams played to a 2-2 draw earlier this season. He may need to deliver a big performance if the visitors are to take victory on the road and boost their playoff chances.

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