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Gameday Previews – Friday, May 26

By Staff, 05/25/23, 2:35PM EDT


Phoenix looks to build winning streak, while Sacramento heads east to visit Hartford

Phoenix Rising FC forward Danny Trejo could face his former club Las Vegas Lights FC on Friday night when the teams square off in Arizona. | Photo courtesy Arianna Grainey / Phoenix Rising FC

Sacramento Republic FC will head to the east coast for a tilt with Hartford Athletic, while Phoenix Rising FC will look to maintain its momentum after two wins in a row as it plays host to Las Vegas Lights FC as the weekend’s action in the USL Championship kicks off with a Friday night doubleheader.

Here's a look ahead at the action.

Hartford Athletic vs. Sacramento Republic FC

Venue: Trinity Health Stadium
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET
Broadcast: ESPN+ Predictor: HFD 29%, SAC 45%, Draw 26%

The Lowdown: Hartford Athletic will look to build on its first home win of the league season last time out as it faces Western Conference leader Sacramento Republic FC in the first meeting between the clubs in their respective histories. The Athletic (2-6-2, 8pts) broke through last Saturday night in a 2-0 victory against Loudoun United FC in soggy condition at Trinity Health Stadium as goals by Juan Pablo Torres and Elvis Amoh broke a three-game losing streak. Amoh’s goal was his third of the season as he returned for his first appearance since April 8 after recovering from injury. The hosts should get a strong test from Republic FC (7-1-3, 24pts) which enters with the best record in the Championship after a 3-1 win against rival Oakland Roots SC last Saturday night at Heart Health Park. A goal and assist by Keko paved the way to victory for Sacramento, which now sits with the most goals scored (20) and fewest conceded (5) in the Championship through 11 games of the campaign. Having gone 3-1-0 in the Eastern time zone a season ago, Sacramento will be hoping for similar success as it heads across country for the first time this season.

Spotlight Players
Hartford Athletic – Danny Barrera:
The veteran playmaker recorded six goals and 16 assists in 62 regular season appearances for Sacramento during his time at the club and could get the chance to square off with them here.

Sacramento Republic FC – Russell Cicerone: Currently second in the league in goals, Cicerone enters Friday’s game on 49 regular season goals in the Championship for his career with a chance to reach a major career landmark.

Phoenix Rising FC vs. Las Vegas Lights FC

Venue: Phoenix Rising Stadium
Kickoff: 10:30 p.m. ET
Broadcast: ESPN+ Predictor: PHX 65%, LV 14%, Draw 21%

The Lowdown: Phoenix Rising FC will try to add to its two-game winning streak as it welcomes Las Vegas Lights FC, which arrives looking for its first league win of the season and a first road win in Phoenix in club history. Rising FC (4-2-4, 16pts) earned a 1-0 victory against Orange County SC last Saturday night behind a second-half goal by Manuel Arteaga, giving the side consecutive wins in the league for the first time this season. Arteaga’s goal was his fifth of the season, moving him into sole possession of the team lead ahead of Danny Trejo, as goalkeeper Rocco Rios Novo notched his first shutout of the season with four saves. Lights FC (0-4-6, 6pts) remained at the bottom of the Western Conference after suffering a 4-1 defeat at Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC last Saturday, meanwhile, keeping the side as the lone winless club in the Championship. A late goal by Marcelo Lage offered a silver lining for the visitors, with Daniel Rios recording his first assist in the professional ranks, but Lights FC arrives in Arizona having gone 0-5-1 all-time on the road against its hosts and in search for what would be a major upset.

Spotlight Players
Phoenix Rising FC – Danny Trejo:
The skillful forward had a banner year for Lights FC a season ago with 14 goals and five assists and now could face his former club for the first time after signing with Phoenix this offseason.

Las Vegas Lights FC – Zach Carroll: The veteran center back could need to play a major role in keeping the visitors organized at the back as it looks for a more solid display than in Pittsburgh a week ago.

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