FC Tulsa's Marcus Epps will lead his current club against former side San Antonio FC in the final game of Week 26's action on Sunday night. | Photo courtesy Victor Schwanke / FC Tulsa
A pair of interconference clashes bring Week 26 of the USL Championship’s regular season on Sunday evening as San Diego Loyal SC takes aim at a place in the top four in the Western Conference against Birmingham Legion FC and FC Tulsa makes club history with its first game at the University of Tulsa’s Hurricane Stadium when it hosts San Antonio FC.
Here's a look ahead at the action.
Venue: Torero Stadium
Kickoff: 6 p.m. ET
The Lowdown: San Diego Loyal SC will look to build on victory last time out as its pursuit of a top-four finish in the Western Conference continues against Birmingham Legion FC, which will be looking for a sharper display as it heads to California for the second time this season. SD Loyal (11-7-7, 40pts) earned a 3-2 victory against Rio Grande Valley FC last Saturday night as Tumi Moshobane scored twice, including the decisive goal 13 minutes from full time after the side had let a two-goal halftime lead slip. SD Loyal enters the weekend in fifth place in the West but has a game in hand on fourth-placed Oakland Roots SC, putting in in good position with nine games to go in the regular season. San Diego missed out on victory in its past two home games, however, while Legion FC earned a 2-1 win against Orange County SC in on its prior trip to California back in April. Birmingham (11-12-3, 36pts) has seen its form fluctuate overall this season, however, and suffered a 3-2 defeat to Detroit City FC last Sunday evening despite twice taking the lead on penalty kicks by Neco Brett and Enzo Martinez at Protective Stadium. With a seven-point cushion to the teams below the playoff line, Legion FC is still well set for the postseason, but will be looking to avoid the defensive errors that resulted in last outing’s loss against a strong SD Loyal attack.
San Diego Loyal SC – Ronaldo Damus: The Haiti international bagged his seventh goal of the season against Rio Grande Valley FC and could get another opportunity in the starting lineup to build momentum.
Birmingham Legion FC – Anderson Asiedu: The central midfielder could have a key role to play against an influential group for the hosts led by Charlie Adams and Joe Corona, with Asiedu’s ball-winning abilities likely key for the side here.
Venue: Hurricane Soccer & Track Stadium
Kickoff: 9 p.m. ET
The Lowdown: San Antonio FC will be hoping to get its attack back on track as it heads to face FC Tulsa, which heads to the University of Tulsa’s Hurricane Soccer & Track Stadium for the first time in its history looking to regain form for the final stretch of the campaign. Tulsa (7-12-8, 29pts) fell 2-1 to New Mexico United last Saturday night to drop below the playoff line in the Eastern Conference with seven games to go in the regular season. The hosts are winless in their last six games overall and have lost three in a row as they face a San Antonio side that enters the weekend on top of the Western Conference. SAFC (13-4-10, 49pts) is undefeated in its past six games, but played to a third consecutive scoreless draw on Wednesday night against South Texas Derby rival Rio Grande Valley FC at H-E-B Park. San Antonio leads Sacramento Republic FC by one point going into the weekend’s action, and remains the league-leader in goals with 49 goals this season, but will be hoping to start firing again against a Tulsa defense that hasn’t recorded a shutout since a 1-0 win against Miami FC on July 12.
FC Tulsa – Marcus Epps: The winger found the net against New Mexico last weekend for his seventh goal of the season and will be hoping to have an impact against one of his former clubs in a crucial game for the hosts.
San Antonio FC – Jorge Hernandez: The attacking playmaker leads SAFC with seven assists this season – good for second in the league – and could be the key to unlocking the club’s potential in the final third.