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Gameday Previews – Wednesday, September 20

By Staff, 09/19/23, 5:50PM EDT


Indy’s Asante set for warm Phoenix welcome in five-game slate of action

Indy Eleven's Solomon Asante could face former club Phoenix Rising FC for the first time as the clubs square off on Wednesday night at Phoenix Rising Stadium. | Photo courtesy Matt Schlotzhauer

Two sides can book their postseason places on Wednesday night in a five-game slate of action, while the night ends with the potential return of one of the league’s iconic players to his former club as Solomon Asante and Indy Eleven visit Phoenix Rising FC for the first official game between the sides.

Here's a look ahead at the action.

Miami FC vs. Louisville City FC

Venue: Riccardo Silva Stadium
Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET
Broadcast: ESPN+

The Lowdown: Louisville City FC will look to clinch its postseason berth as it looks to both build on victory last time out and claim a season sweep of a Miami FC side that has dropped off the pace in the Eastern Conference playoff race in its recent outings. Miami (7-14-8, 29pts) suffered a 2-1 defeat against Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC on Saturday night as Ryan Telfer’s late equalizer in his return from international duty was immediately followed by a 90th-minute winner for the Hounds. The loss was Miami’s fourth in a row, a run of form that has dropped the side seven points behind FC Tulsa with five games to go, essentially making this a must-win for the hosts. LouCity (13-9-7, 46pts) can book its playoff place with a win in South Florida having earned a 1-0 victory against San Diego Loyal SC this past Saturday to remain in fourth place in the conference standings. Wilson Harris scored the lone goal for the side against SD Loyal and has now scored in consecutive games to move to a team-high seven goals this season. After taking a 3-1 victory on home turf in May, LouCity will be looking for a repeat of that display to maintain its current course, which has seen the side win three of its past four games overall.

Spotlight Players
Miami FC – Joaquin Rivas:
The El Salvador international leads Miami this season with six goals and will need to produce a strong display against a solid LouCity defense to help the hosts earn victory.

Louisville City FC – Sean Totsch: The experienced center back found the net in LouCity’s victory against Miami earlier this season and continues to rise up the Championship’s all-time appearances and minutes leaderboard.

Birmingham Legion FC vs. Memphis 901 FC

Venue: Protective Stadium
Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET
Broadcast: ESPN+

The Lowdown: Southern Harm rivals Birmingham Legion FC and Memphis 901 FC will meet for the first time in the league this season as 901 FC takes aim at clinching its third consecutive trip to the postseason on its biggest rival’s home turf. Legion FC (12-14-3, 39pts) returns home looking to rebound after a 1-0 defeat against Rio Grande Valley FC on Sunday night. The result kept Birmingham in seventh place in the Eastern Conference and facing a six-point gap to Memphis in fifth, but Legion FC has held the upper hand in the rivalry of late with its 3-0 win when the sides met in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup earlier this year behind goals from Juan Agudelo, Enzo Martinez and Tyler Pasher the third consecutive win in the series for the side. 901 FC (12-8-9, 45pts) is coming off a 4-2 victory this past weekend against Hartford Athletic in which second-half goals by Samuel Careaga, Luiz Fernando and Rodrigo Da Costa rallied the side to victory. Careaga’s goal was his first for Memphis, coming in just his second substitute appearance after joining the club on loan from Argentine top-flight side Lanus. With a big week ahead on the road that also includes a visit to the Tampa Bay Rowdies on Saturday, the visitors will be looking to lock up their playoff spot with a win here to stay in with a chance at a home game to open the playoffs.

Spotlight Players
Birmingham Legion FC – Enzo Martinez:
The veteran playmaker has scored in two of Birmingham’s three meetings with Memphis since joining the club and has 10 goals this season so far in another sterling campaign.

Memphis 901 FC: Rodrigo Da Costa: The Brazilian notched his 10th goal of the season with a superb free kick against Hartford, giving him two goals in the past three games, a run of improved form he’ll aim to build on.

Monterey Bay F.C. vs. San Diego Loyal SC

Venue: Cardinale Stadium
Kickoff: 10 p.m. ET
Broadcast: ESPN+

The Lowdown: Monterey Bay F.C. can set a club record with a fifth consecutive win on Wednesday night as it plays host to San Diego Loyal SC with the visitors in need of a rebound performance to continue a challenge for a top-four finish. Monterey Bay (11-11-7, 40pts) moved back above the playoff line on Saturday night as it took a 3-2 victory against Las Vegas Lights FC through goals by Sean Okoli, Alex Lara and Rafael Baca, whose first goal for the club proved the winner at Cardinale Stadium. MBFC has now won four consecutive games for the second time this season and would move level on points with San Diego should it replicate its 3-1 victory when the teams last met at Cardinale Stadium a season ago. SD Loyal (12-9-7, 43pts) is looking to break a two-game losing run, meanwhile, as it tries to regain a top-four position in the standings back in California. San Diego fell 1-0 to Louisville City FC on Saturday night as it was unable to respond after going behind early in the contest and will want to get its attack back on track after being held scoreless in consecutive contests on the east coast.  

Spotlight Players
Monterey Bay F.C. – Sam Gleadle:
The versatile English player recorded two goals when these teams last met and has been a key piece in the side this season, notching four goals and five assists so far this campaign.

San Diego Loyal SC – Adríen Perez: The right-sided midfielder has been held quiet in the past two games but has also notched six goals and two assists, proving one of the brighter attacking options for SD Loyal when on his game.

Sacramento Republic FC vs. New Mexico United

Venue: Heart Health Park
Kickoff: 10 p.m. ET
Broadcast: ESPN+

The Lowdown: Sacramento Republic FC will try to move level with Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC in the pursuit of the USL Championship’s Players’ Shield on Wednesday night as it faces a New Mexico United side that earned a confidence-boosting victory last time out. Republic FC (15-5-9, 54pts) earned its return to the postseason on Saturday night as Luis Felipe Fernandes scored in second-half stoppage time to lift the side to a 1-0 victory against El Paso Locomotive FC. The result moved Republic FC three points ahead of San Antonio FC at the top of the Western standings as Fernandes notched his individual single-season high sixth goal of the season. Sacramento could assure itself of a top-four finish on Wednesday with a victory against New Mexico United should Indy Eleven also take victory against Phoenix Rising FC, but the hosts could be wary of a New Mexico side that took a 3-0 win when they first met this season behind a pair of goals from Harry Swartz. United (10-13-6, 36pts) could dearly use a similar performance to that this time around as it looks to build on a 3-2 win against Indy Eleven on Friday night that left the side four points outside the playoff positions with five games to go. With the odds stacked against them the visitors will try to rise to the occasion and dent Sacramento’s push for the first silverware of the season.

Spotlight Players
Sacramento Republic FC – Rodrigo Lopez:
The veteran playmaker made his first start since returning from injury against El Paso, playing the first half, and could provide creativity in the final third for the hosts.

New Mexico United – Sergio Rivas: The central midfielder scored his seventh goal of the season to begin United’s comeback against Indy and has been a key piece when the club has found its rhythm overall this campaign.

Phoenix Rising FC vs. Indy Eleven

Venue: Phoenix Rising Stadium
Kickoff: 10:30 p.m. ET
Broadcast: ESPN+

The Lowdown: Phoenix Rising FC will try to maintain its top-four position in the Western Conference as it plays host to Indy Eleven, which completes a two-game road swing with its first clash with Rising FC in club history. Rising FC (12-8-9, 45pts) produced another outstanding attacking display on Saturday night as Danny Trejo scored twice and Manuel Arteaga bagged a goal and assist to lead a 5-0 victory against Detroit City FC. Phoenix is now undefeated in its last five games, picking up 13 points over that span, while Trejo is tied for the USL Championship lead with 17 goals this season. Arteaga, meanwhile, will get a chance to face his former club for the first time since his offseason move west, with Indy (11-10-8, 41pts) looking to rebound from a 3-2 setback against New Mexico United on Friday night. The Boys in Blue took the lead against New Mexico through Sebastian Guenzatti, but the veteran forward then had a penalty saved which tilted momentum in favor of the hosts at Isotopes Park before they reeled off three consecutive goals to claim victory. Indy will be without former Rising FC player Aodhan Quinn as he continues to recover from injury, but the night will see a return to Phoenix for Solomon Asante, who twice earned the Championship’s MVP award for Rising FC before joining Indy last season, with the playmaker certainly hoping to gain the upper hand on his former club.

Spotlight Players
Phoenix Rising FC – John Stenberg:
The experienced center back has impressed with his consistency since arriving in the starting lineup and his potential matchup with Sebastian Guenzatti could be one to watch.

Indy Eleven – Solomon Asante: The Ghanaian playmaker will likely get a warm reception from the home fans having been a key part of Rising FC’s former success, recording 54 goals and 42 assists in 113 games across the regular season and playoffs while in Phoenix.

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