Indy Eleven and Louisville City FC will square off for the first time this season on Saturday night with Indy on a three-game undefeated streak in the series. | Photo courtesy Trevor Ruszkowski / Indy Eleven
The first edition of the Louisville Indianapolis Proximity Association Football Contest this season highlights a seven-game slate of action across the USL Championship, with the Tampa Bay Rowdies looking to complete a perfect month of May and San Antonio FC returning home to face New Mexico United in another pair of intriguing contests throughout the night.
Here's a look ahead at the action.
Venue: Keyworth Stadium
Kickoff: 4 p.m. ET
538.com Predictor: DET 37%, BHM 34%, Draw 29%
The Lowdown: Detroit City FC will aim to build on its first home league win of the season as it plays host to Birmingham Legion FC, which will be aiming to break a downturn in league form after a historic midweek victory in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup as it heads to Michigan. Le Rouge (2-7-2, 8pts) claimed a 1-0 victory against defending USL Championship title holders San Antonio FC last Saturday night as an early goal by Skage Simonsen proved the difference as goalkeeper Nathan Steinwascher and the club’s defensive unit put together a stellar display to post a second shutout of the season. Steinwascher currently ranks third in the Championship with 36 saves, continuing to stake a claim as one of the top goalkeepers in the league, and he may be tested again this time out by a strong Legion FC attacking unit. Birmingham (5-6-1, 16pts) earned a 1-0 victory against Charlotte FC of Major League Soccer on Wednesday night before a club-record crowd of 12,722 fans at Protective Stadium to advance to the Quarterfinals of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup for the first time as Prosper Kasim’s goal on the hour-mark lifted the hosts to victory. Legion FC will be hoping that result can lift the side after four consecutive league defeats that included a 2-1 setback to El Paso Locomotive FC last weekend. Still in fifth position in the Championship’s Eastern Conference, Birmingham will be looking for its first win against Detroit after Le Rouge swept the season series last year, including a 2-1 win at Protective Stadium that saw Connor Rutz and Matt Lewis score for Le Rouge.
Detroit City FC – Tommy McCabe: The central midfield will need to be alert to help protect the club’s back line against a fluid Legion FC attacking contingent led by Juan Agudelo and Enzo Martinez.
Birmingham Legion FC – Prosper Kasim: The Ghanaian scored when these sides last met and is currently tied for the league-lead with four assists as he looks to build on a stellar midweek display against Charlotte FC.
Venue: Michael A. Carroll Stadium
Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET
538.com Predictor: IND 27%, LOU 46%, Draw 27%
The Lowdown: Indy Eleven and Louisville City FC will square off for the 18th time in the USL Championship’s regular season and playoffs with the hosts looking to maintain the upper hand in the LIPAFC as well as build on a victory last time out on home turf. Indy (3-4-3, 12pts) moved into the playoff positions in the Eastern Conference last Saturday as Bryam Rebellon’s first-half goal earned a 1-0 victory against Colorado Springs Switchbacks at Michael A. Carroll Stadium. The win was Indy’s second in the past three games, and the hosts will be hoping to maintain not only their current momentum but also a current three-game undefeated run against its biggest rival in LouCity. The Boys in Blue took a 2-1 win to claim the LIPAFC series in 2022 when the teams last met, a result LouCity (5-3-2, 17pts) will be looking to reverse as it tries to bounce back from a late defeat against FC Tulsa on Wednesday night. Louisville had the upper hand on Tulsa for much of the contest at Lynn Family Stadium with a 19-9 advantage in shots, and took the lead when Jorge Gonzalez scored just before the half-hour mark, only for Tulsa to rally with a pair of goals in final 15 minutes to grab a 2-1 win. That setback kept LouCity four points behind the Charleston Battery for the Eastern Conference lead as it heads to The Mike looking for its first road win in the series since 2021.
Indy Eleven – Sebastian Guenzatti: The veteran forward provided a neat assist to set up Bryam Rebellon’s goal last weekend and has had individual success against LouCity in the past with three goals in nine games.
Louisville City FC – Wilson Harris: The center forward is looking for his first league goal since April 15 as Louisville looks to find more consistency in the attacking third to push its season forward.
Venue: Riccardo Silva Stadium
Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET
538.com Predictor: MIA 42%, OC 29%, Draw 29%
The Lowdown: Miami FC will try to break a two-game losing run as it plays host to Orange County SC, which is also looking for a bounce-back display in the second interconference clash between the two sides. Miami (2-4-5, 11pts) fell 3-2 against San Diego Loyal SC last Saturday night despite twice taking the lead on home turf as Kyle Murphy scored his third goal of the season, only for SD Loyal to score twice in the final 10 minutes to rally for victory. Miami has dropped to eighth place in the Eastern Conference after suffering its first consecutive league defeats of the season but will be hopeful of rebounding as a second consecutive opponent from California comes to South Florida. Orange County (2-7-3, 9pts) suffered a 1-0 defeat against Phoenix Rising FC last Saturday in a frustrating outing that saw the hosts hit the woodwork and go close on other occasions but fail to find the net. OCSC is currently five points outside the playoff positions in the Western Conference and in need of a positive result to jumpstart its campaign.
Miami FC – Kyle Murphy: The veteran forward has scored in consecutive games for Miami and is approaching 60 regular season goals in the USL Championship for his career.
Orange County SC – Milan Iloski: The 2022 Golden Boot winner has four goals and two assists this campaign and currently leads the Championship with 31 shots this season.
Venue: Al Lang Stadium
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET
538.com Predictor: TBR 48%, COS 25%, Draw 27%
The Lowdown: The Tampa Bay Rowdies will try to complete a perfect month of May as they play host to Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, which arrives looking to end a three-game losing streak having claimed victory in the meeting between the sides last season. The Rowdies (5-4-2, 17pts) moved into second place in the Eastern Conference last Saturday night as Charlie Dennis scored twice and Connor Sparrow recorded a seven-save shutout in a 3-0 victory against Rio Grande Valley FC. Sparrow reached 300 saves in the Championship’s regular season while recording his 34th career shutout in a stellar display, while Dennis continued his scoring streak to four games, which matches Tampa Bay’s current winning streak. The Switchbacks (5-5-1, 16pts) fell for a third consecutive outing last Saturday as they were held in a 1-0 result against Indy Eleven at Michael A. Carroll Stadium despite outshooting their hosts in a positive overall display. Colorado Springs took a 1-0 victory when the Rowdies visited Weidner Field last year as El Salvador international Jairo Henriquez scored the only goal, a result the side will be eager to emulate as it looks to stay in touch with the top four in the Western Conference.
Tampa Bay Rowdies – Ryan Spaulding: The left-sided wingback has recorded assists in three consecutive games and has notched eight chances created in five appearances since arriving on loan from the New England Revolution.
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC – Deshane Beckford: The Jamaican winger has notched three assists this season and has been one of the Switchbacks’ most consistent attacking threats overall, sitting tied for third in the Championship with 23 completed dribbles this season.
Venue: H-E-B Park
Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET
538.com Predictor: RGV 46%, CHS 26%, Draw 28%
The Lowdown: Rio Grande Valley FC will try to shake off a disappointing home defeat last time out as it welcomes another Eastern Conference contender to H-E-B Park in current conference leader the Charleston Battery. The Toros (2-3-5, 11pts) suffered a 3-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rowdies last Saturday night as they were unable to make their first-half superiority count before the visitors swept to victory with a strong second-half display. The result brought to an end a three-game undefeated streak for RGVFC, which has shown much more promise in recent weeks to move within range of the playoff positions. The Battery (6-2-3, 21pts) are coming off a 1-0 victory against Monterey Bay F.C. that saw Arturo Rodriguez score an early goal on Fidel Barajas’ fourth assist of the season, a mark that has the Mexico U-17 international currently tied for the league-lead with Birmingham Legion FC’s Prosper Kasim. The Battery enter the weekend four points clear of their nearest rivals, and could hand a debut to new arrival Beto Avila, who joined the club on loan from Houston Dynamo FC on Friday to provide another attacking option for Head Coach Ben Pirmann.
Rio Grande Valley FC – Ricky Ruiz: The right winger has been consistently bright for the Toros this season with two goals and one assist while having notched 14 chances created.
Charleston Battery – Leland Archer: The Trinidad and Tobago center back had a strong display in his side’s shutout against Monterey Bay last week and will be looking for more of the same against the Toros.
Venue: Toyota Field
Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. ET
538.com Predictor: SA 57%, NM 18%, Draw 26%
The Lowdown: San Antonio FC will look to continue its undefeated home record this season as it plays host to New Mexico United, which enters having claimed consecutive victories to jump into the playoff positions in the Western Conference. San Antonio (5-2-4, 19pts) suffered only its second league defeat of the season last Saturday as it fell 1-0 on the road against Detroit City FC despite recording 19 shots to four for the hosts. SAFC has been solid on its home turf this season, however, going undefeated in five games to stretch the club’s overall home regular season undefeated streak to 20. New Mexico will try to challenge that record as it arrives off a 3-1 victory against Loudoun United FC on May 17 that saw Chris Wehan record a goal and assist in his return to the starting lineup after injury. Sergio Rivas also found the net for United at Segra Field to run his goalscoring streak to four games, with the side overall having recorded multiple goals in each of its past four league outings as it gets set to face one of the toughest defenses in the Championship.
San Antonio FC – Ignacio Bailone: The Argentine forward is tied for the club-lead with three goals this season and found the net when these sides met at Toyota Field last year in their most recent meeting.
New Mexico United – Chris Wehan: New Mexico’s all-time goalscoring leader enters this contest on 49 combined goals and assists in the regular season for United and has six regular-season goals against San Antonio in his career.
Venue: Pioneer Stadium
Kickoff: 10 p.m. ET
538.com Predictor: OAK 42%, SD 32%, Draw 26%
The Lowdown: Oakland Roots SC will look to get back in the win column as it welcomes San Diego Loyal SC to Pioneer Stadium with the visitors coming off a dramatic comeback victory last time out. Roots SC (4-4-2, 14pts) saw its three-game undefeated streak come to an end last Saturday as it fell 3-1 to NorCal rival Sacramento Republic FC at Heart Health Park, but the side has been a nemesis for SD Loyal, going undefeated in six prior meetings between the clubs (4-0-2), including a 3-0 victory last October in the USL Championship Playoffs that saw Lindo Mfeka among the goalscorers. SD Loyal (6-3-2, 20pts) will try to bring an end to that run as it heads north after a thrilling 3-2 victory against Miami FC last Saturday to move into third place in the Western Conference. Elliot Collier’s first goal for the club since his offseason arrival sent San Diego to victory as the side scored twice in the final 10 minutes for its first victory this season after conceding the opening goal. Evan Conway also found the net for the side, and leads SD Loyal with four goals this season with the side overall having scored in each of its past eight league outings.
Oakland Roots SC – Edgardo Rito: The Venezuelan has notched two goals and two assists this season with his speed presenting a consistent challenge to opposing defenses on the right side.
San Diego Loyal SC – Ronaldo Damus: The Haiti international has recorded two goals and two assists this season and has had prior success against Oakland with two goals and one assist in four career appearances against Roots SC.