Enoch Mushagalusa and Louisville City FC will host Miami FC on ESPN2 on Saturday night with both teams currently on four-game undefeated streaks in the USL Championship. | Photo courtesy Em-Dash Photography / Louisville City FC
The USL Championship welcomes its first 12-game Saturday slate of the season this weekend with Louisville City FC and Miami FC’s clash to kick off the USL on ESPN national television schedule a highlight among an intriguing collection of contests.
Elsewhere, a meeting between the Charleston Battery and San Antonio FC is one of six interconference matchups, while the Tampa Bay Rowdies and El Paso Locomotive FC will try to continue their recent winning streaks on home turf.
Here's a look ahead at all the action.
Venue: Lynn Family Stadium
Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET
538.com Predictor: LOU 57%, MIA 17%, Draw 26%
The Lowdown: The premiere of this year’s USL on ESPN national television slate brings together Louisville City FC and Miami FC, who enter the weekend separated by three points while both sitting on four-game undefeated streaks. LouCity (4-2-2, 14pts) played to a 1-1 draw against Memphis 901 FC in its last outing as Sean Totsch’s early goal was cancelled out by the hosts at AutoZone Park on April 29. The result left the side in third place in the Eastern Conference, four points behind leader the Charleston Battery, as the side returns to action following a bye in Week 9. Miami (2-2-5, 11pts) took its second win of the season in its most recent outing, meanwhile, as a pair of first-half goals paved the way to a 3-1 win against Birmingham Legion FC at Riccardo Silva Stadium. Christian Sorto was among the goalscorers that night, giving him a pair of goals this season, with former LouCity center back Paco Craig also having found the net twice for the visitors. Miami will be hoping for a repeat of the last time these sides met a season ago when an early goal by Kyle Murphy led to a 1-0 victory on its home turf, while LouCity will be without defender Joshua Wynder, who has joined the United States U-20 Men’s National Team for the upcoming FIFA Men’s U-20 World Cup set to kick off in Argentina on May 20.
Louisville City FC – Brian Ownby: The veteran winger has recorded one goal and two assists this season and found the net when LouCity took a 2-0 victory early last campaign against Miami.
Miami FC – Florian Valot: The French midfielder put in a strong display during his side’s win against Birmingham Legion FC and has notched one goal and one assist in seven prior contests against LouCity.
Venue: Highmark Stadium
Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET
538.com Predictor: PIT 47%, BHM 26%, Draw 27%
The Lowdown: The two remaining USL Championship clubs in the 2023 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup will square off for the second time this season after ending all square previously on the opening weekend of the campaign. A second-half goal by Robbie Mertz earned the Hounds (2-2-5, 11pts) a 1-1 draw at Protective Stadium on March 11 when the teams met for the first time this season. The hosts are coming off one of the biggest wins in club history this past Tuesday night, however, as Danny Griffin’s first-half goal led Pittsburgh to a 1-0 win against the New England Revolution in the Open Cup, setting up a home contest with Columbus Crew SC on May 24 in the Round of 16. Legion FC (5-4-1, 16pts) also took a big victory in the Open Cup on Wednesday night, defeating rival Memphis 901 FC 3-0 at Protective Stadium as Enzo Martinez recorded a goal and assist and both Juan Agudeo and Tyler Pasher found the net. Martinez has been on a scoring streak of late with five goals in his past four league games, but the visitors will be hoping to snap a two-game losing streak in the Championship after falling at home to Oakland Roots SC last Saturday as they head to the Steel City.
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC – Danny Griffin: The midfielder has made an immediate impact since his return via transfer from Huntsville City FC, picking up where he left off in three prior seasons with the Hounds.
Birmingham Legion FC – Alex Crognale: The veteran center back will look to contain the home attack as Legion FC enters the game without defender Phanuel Kavita as he serves a one-game suspension.
Venue: Patriots Point
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET
538.com Predictor: CHS 31%, SA 40%, Draw 29%
The Lowdown: The current Eastern Conference leader Charleston Battery will play host to defending Championship title holder San Antonio FC with both teams having claimed victories in Las Vegas last weekend. Charleston (5-1-3, 18pts) rebounded from its first loss of the regular season as Augustine Williams scored his fifth goal of the season and goalkeeper Trey Muse posted a six-save shutout in a 1-0 win at Las Vegas Lights FC, but the side is coming off a midweek loss in the Open Cup on Tuesday night as Inter Miami CF advanced to the Round of 16 with a 1-0 win against the Battery. San Antonio (4-1-4, 16pts) is also coming off a win in Las Vegas as Tani Oluwaseyi scored a late winner in his debut for the club last Sunday afternoon to earn a 2-1 result. The victory saw San Antonio snap a four-game winless streak in league play, but the side remains only two points off the Western Conference lead as it heads for a second meeting with the Battery in its history. SAFC took a 2-0 win last season when Ignacio Bailone also found the net, and Charleston’s new-look lineup will be hoping to turn the tables this time around to ensure they remain on top of the standings in what should be an intense clash.
Charleston Battery – Leland Archer: The Trinidad and Tobago could have a key role to play to try and contain San Antonio’s attack as the Battery aim for a third shutout in the four league games.
San Antonio FC – Connor Maloney: The versatile defender could return to the lineup this weekend after missing SAFC’s contest in Las Vegas to be with his wife as they expected the arrival of their child.
Venue: Al Lang Stadium
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET
538.com Predictor: TBR 60%, DET 14%, Draw 26%
The Lowdown: The Tampa Bay Rowdies will look to complete a season sweep of Detroit City FC as the sides meet for the second time in three weeks with the hosts coming off their first consecutive league wins of the season. The Rowdies (3-4-2, 11pts) took a 2-0 victory against Phoenix Rising FC last Saturday night at Al Lang Stadium as JJ Williams and Charlie Dennis both found the net in the first half. Dennis’ goal was his second in as many games with the English midfielder having scored the decisive goal in Tampa Bay’s 1-0 win against Detroit at Keyworth Stadium on April 29. Le Rouge (1-6-2, 5pts) broke a lengthy scoreless streak last weekend as Abdoulaye Diop’s long-range blast gave the side the lead against FC Tulsa, only for the contest to end in a 1-1 draw. DCFC is now winless in its last seven league games, with Diop joining Yazeed Matthews and Maxi Rodriguez as the only players to have found the net for the side in league play, and the visitors will be without midfielder Rhys Williams in Tampa Bay after his red card for two cautionable offenses against Tulsa.
Tampa Bay Rowdies – JJ Williams: The powerful forward found the net for the first time in Rowdies colors against former club Phoenix and will be hoping that kicks off a run of positive form in the final third.
Detroit City FC – Skage Simonsen: The Norwegian forward leads his side with 10 chances created this season and will be hoping to find the net for the first time for Le Rouge as it looks to jumpstart its season.
Venue: AutoZone Park
Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET
538.com Predictor: MEM 43%, COS 30%, Draw 27%
The Lowdown: Memphis 901 FC will try to rebound from a midweek defeat in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup as it plays host to Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, which is also coming off a loss in its most recent league outing last weekend. Memphis (2-2-3, 9pts) fell 3-0 to rival Birmingham Legion FC on Wednesday night in the Round of 32 of the Open Cup, ending its best Open Cup run in its history, but the side is undefeated in its last five games in the league having claimed a 2-0 win at Hartford Athletic last weekend. Goals in either half by Laurent Kissiedou and Rashawn Dally sent 901 FC to victory at Trinity Health Stadium, moving the side into the Eastern Conference playoff positions for the first time this season. The Switchbacks (5-3-1, 16pts) head to Memphis, meanwhile, having suffered a 3-2 defeat to El Paso Locomotive FC in their last outing, but the side could have a new recruit in action this weekend having acquired Jonas Fjeldberg via transfer from Indy Eleven on Friday. The Switchbacks remain only two points off first place in the Western Conference and will be looking to pay back 901 FC after Memphis took a 2-1 win when it visited Weidner Field last season, when Aaron Molloy and Phillip Goodrum found the net for the visitors.
Memphis 901 FC – Luiz Fernando: The Brazilian winger has notched two goals and two assists so far this campaign and will be a dangerous threat the Switchbacks will need to pay close attention to.
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC – Patrick Seagrist: The former Memphis defender returns to face his former club having notched one assist and seven chances created so far this season for the Switchbacks.
Venue: Isotopes Park
Kickoff: 9 p.m. ET
538.com Predictor: NM 57%, MB 18%, Draw 24%
The Lowdown: New Mexico United and Monterey Bay F.C. will both look to put elimination from the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup behind them as the sides meet for the second time this season. New Mexico (2-3-2, 8pts) fell 2-0 to Austin FC on Wednesday night as its Open Cup run came to an end, with the visitors putting in a brighter second-half performance after falling behind to their top-flight opponent. United in undefeated in its two home games so far this season, however, and will be hoping to reverse its loss at Cardinale Stadium early this season when Monterey Bay ran out to a 4-2 victory with Sam Gleadle and Christian Volesky leading the way. MBFC (3-2-4, 13pts) fell in a penalty shootout on Tuesday night to Los Angeles FC after playing to a 2-2 draw through regulation and extra time, but missed out on the opportunity to advance after Jesse Maldonado’s goal in extra time to put the side ahead was cancelled out by the visitors. Monterey Bay is undefeated in its last five games in the league as it arrives in New Mexico, however, and will be looking to put on another strong attacking show this time around.
New Mexico United – Chris Wehan: The midfielder returned to action in the second half of United’s visit to Austin after last playing in the league against Monterey Bay on April 9, a game in which he scored his first goal of the season.
Monterey Bay F.C. – Christian Volesky: Voted the Championship’s Player of the Month for April, Volesky has recorded two goals and two assists in his past three league outings, and scored twice against New Mexico when these sides last met.
Venue: Southwest University Park
Kickoff: 9:30 p.m. ET
538.com Predictor: ELP 59%, LDN 18%, Draw 23%
The Lowdown: El Paso Locomotive FC will try to continue its strong recent form as it plays host to Loudoun United FC, which arrives in Texas after a tough midweek elimination from the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Locomotive FC (5-3-1, 16pts) extended its undefeated streak to six games last Friday night as it defeated Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC 3-2 at Weidner Field as Emmanuel Sonupe scored the eventual winner after Luis Solignac and Petar Petrovic had struck in the first half. El Paso now sits in third place in the Western Conference and has taken consecutive victories on home turf after losing its first three games of the season at Southwest University Park. Loudoun (3-4-1, 10pts) is also in the playoff positions in the Eastern Conference but is coming off a 5-1 defeat to Columbus Crew SC on Wednesday night at Segra Field that saw the side have to play down a man for the majority of the contest after an early red card to Gaoussou Samake. United also suffered a late defeat in its last league outing last Saturday against Indy Eleven and will want to try and find a result on the road after losing three in a row overall in all competitions.
El Paso Locomotive FC – Luis Solignac: The Argentine forward scored twice when El Paso took a 3-1 victory against Loudoun last season at Segra Field, with his next goal set to be his 40th in the Championship’s regular season all-time.
Loudoun United FC – Kalil ElMedkhar: The former FC Dallas forward scored a late consolation for United against Columbus and has two goals and two assists in league play so far this season.
Venue: Heart Health Park
Kickoff: 10 p.m. ET
538.com Predictor: SAC 62%, IND 14%, Draw 24%
The Lowdown: Sacramento Republic FC will try to rebound from its elimination from the Open Cup in midweek as it plays host to an Indy Eleven side coming off a dramatic win last weekend as the teams meet for the first time in regular season play. Republic FC (5-0-3, 18pts) fell 4-2 against the Colorado Rapids on Tuesday night to see their hopes of another deep Open Cup run end in the Round of 32, with the club’s run of 15 consecutive home Open Cup victories at Heart Health Park also coming to an end. Sacramento battled back from a two-goal deficit before eventually succumbing, however, as new forward Juan Herrera scored both goals for the side, adding to his one league goal this season. Indy (2-3-3, 9pts) heads to Sacramento, meanwhile, after rallying for a 2-1 victory last Saturday night as Sebastian Guenzetti scored his first league goal for the Boys in Blue before Juan Tejada bagged a 90th-minute winner. The visitors could have a familiar face return to the lineup as well on Saturday with the club acquiring Macauley King via transfer from Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC on Friday, with the English full back having previously played for the Boys in Blue in the 2019 season.
Sacramento Republic FC – Jared Timmer: The former Indy Eleven defender has been a strong addition to Republic FC’s back line this season recording 29 clearances and seven interceptions and will try to hold the visitors off the scoreboard this time out.
Indy Eleven – Solomon Asante: The Ghanaian playmaker has recorded two goals and four assists in nine career appearances against Sacramento and enters the contest on 99 combined goals and assists in the Championship’s regular season.
Venue: Torero Stadium
Kickoff: 10 p.m. ET
538.com Predictor: SD 61%, RGV 15%, Draw 24%
The Lowdown: San Diego Loyal SC will look to build on victory last time out as it plays host to a Rio Grande Valley FC side that suffered a late setback and is now winless in its last four outings as it heads west. SD Loyal (5-2-2, 17pts) earned a 2-1 victory last Saturday night at Orange County SC as goals by Tumi Moshobane and Joe Corona inside the opening 20 minutes proved enough to earn all three points. The result moved San Diego back into second place in the Western Conference, one point behind Sacramento Republic FC, and the side will now look to get back on a winning track at home after suffering its first defeat at Torero Stadium this season on April 29 against El Paso Locomotive FC. The Toros (1-2-5, 8pts) saw their lone win of the season so far come away from home at Detroit City FC, meanwhile, with the side having missed the opportunity to take its first home win of the season last Friday night as it conceded twice in second-half stoppage time to end in a 2-2 draw with New Mexico United. There were positives to take from the game for RGVFC, however, with Christiano Francois and Wilmer Cabrera Jr. each scoring their first goals of the campaign as the side recorded multiple goals in a game for the first time this season.
San Diego Loyal SC – Tumi Moshobane: The fan favorite enters this Saturday’s game on 19 league goals across the regular season and playoffs for the club and scored with these side met last season in Texas as SD Loyal took a 2-1 victory on that occasion.
Rio Grande Valley FC – Wahab Ackwei: A Championship All-League selection last season, Ackwei has recorded 23 clearances and 17 interceptions in seven appearances this campaign and will need to be solid against a good San Diego attack.
Venue: Cashman Field
Kickoff: 10:30 p.m. ET
538.com Predictor: LV 44%, TUL 29%, Draw 27%
The Lowdown: Las Vegas Lights FC and FC Tulsa are both in need of a win as they square off at Cashman Field, with the hosts looking for their first victory of the campaign despite positive performances last weekend. Lights FC (0-3-5, 5pts) fell to both the Charleston Battery and San Antonio FC as it opened its home slate at Cashman Field with two games in three days last weekend, but the side showed enterprise without reward in its attacking play. Tulsa (1-3-5, 8pts) also had a positive outing last Saturday night but was forced to settle for a 1-1 draw at Detroit City FC as Dario Suarez’s penalty kick was the lone goal of the night for the visitors despite recording 15 shots and hitting the woodwork twice. Saturday’s contest will mark the first meeting between the clubs since a 1-1 draw at ONEOK Field during the 2019 season when Tobenna Uzo scored the equalizer for Tulsa after Javan Torre had opened the scoring for the visitors. With both teams currently below their respective playoff lines, this interconference clash could have plenty of excitement.
Las Vegas Lights FC – Andrew Carleton: The former United States youth international has been active in the final third but has only one assist this season in league play, a trend he’ll be hoping to change.
FC Tulsa – Marcus Epps: The veteran winger has three goals and one assist but has also hit the woodwork twice, one of six players to have done so multiple times so far this campaign.
Venue: Phoenix Rising Stadium
Kickoff: 10:30 p.m. ET
538.com Predictor: PHX 63%, HFD 16%, Draw 20%
The Lowdown: Phoenix Rising FC will look to maintain its undefeated home record as it hosts Hartford Athletic with both clubs hoping to rebound from setbacks last time out. Rising FC (2-2-4, 10pts) suffered a 2-0 defeat on the road against the Tampa Bay Rowdies last Saturday night, denying the club consecutive league wins for the first time this campaign. Phoenix has made a good start at its new home at 38th St. and Washington, however, and took victory last time its was on its home turf for its first league win at the venue. On the other hand, Hartford (1-5-2, 5pts) claimed its lone league win of the season so far on the road, with the side suffering a 2-0 defeat to Memphis 901 FC last Saturday night for its second consecutive loss. Sitting tied for the fewest points in the Championship, the Athletic saw playmaker Danny Barrera record his 200th regular season appearance last season, but the side will face a big test to find a way past a Rising FC side that has yet to suffer consecutive league defeats this campaign.
Phoenix Rising FC – Kevon Lambert: The Jamaican center back scored when Phoenix took a 2-1 victory at Trinity Health Stadium last season and has been strong so far this campaign with 34 clearances and nine interceptions.
Hartford Athletic – Jeciel Cedeno: The combative midfielder has two goals and one assist this campaign and will need to put in a strong shift against a solid Rising FC midfield corps led by Renzo Zambrano.
Venue: Pioneer Stadium
Kickoff: 11 p.m. ET
538.com Predictor: OAK 43%, OC 29%, Draw 27%
The Lowdown: Oakland Roots SC will look to build on an emphatic victory last time out as it plays host to Orange County SC in the second half of a doubleheader at Pioneer Field that will see the USL W League’s Oakland Soul SC play its inaugural home opener against The Olympic Club at 8 p.m. ET. Roots SC (3-3-2, 11pts) took a 4-1 victory against Birmingham Legion FC last Saturday night as four different players found the net, with Dariusz Formella and Johnny Rodriguez both notching their third goals of the season. The win moved Oakland into seventh place in the Western Conference and snapped a three-game winless streak for the side. Orange County (1-5-3, 6pts) remained below the playoffs line as it suffered a 2-1 defeat in interim Head Coach Morten Karlsen’s first game at the helm. The defeat came despite Korede Osundina scoring his first senior goal for the club in second-half stoppage time, but the 19-year-old forward will be unavailable on Saturday after being selected as an alternate for the United States U-20 Men’s National Team as it prepares for the FIFA Men’s U-20 World Cup in Argentina. The visitors will be without midfielder Kevin Partida, too, as he begins a six-game suspension for foul and abusive language against SD Loyal.
Oakland Roots SC – Neveal Hackshaw: The Trinidad and Tobago international has made consecutive starts in the past two games and has posted an 84 percent passing accuracy rate as well as five interceptions in five games overall this season.
Orange County SC – Milan Iloski: The 2022 Championship Golden Boot winner leads OCSC with three goals and two assists and will need to try and provide the attacking threat for the visitors as they look to end their recent slide.
Tag(s): News Game Previews San Antonio FC CO Spring Switchbacks Orange County SC Phoenix Rising FC Rio Grande Valley FC Sacramento Republic FC FC Tulsa Charleston Battery Louisville City FC Pittsburgh Riverhounds Tampa Bay Rowdies Las Vegas Lights FC Birmingham Legion FC Indy Eleven Memphis 901 FC El Paso Locomotive FC New Mexico United Loudoun United FC Hartford Athletic San Diego Loyal SC Miami FC Oakland Roots SC Detroit City FC Monterey Bay F.C.