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Gameday Previews – Sunday, September 24

By Staff, 09/23/23, 1:05PM EDT


Miami FC, SD Loyal aim to build on dramatic midweek victories in three-game Sunday slate

Miami FC's Paco Craig and Birmingham Legion FC's Juan Agudelo could square off again as Miami looks for a victory to keep its playoff hopes alive in Birmingham on Sunday evening. | Photo courtesy Miami FC

Miami FC and San Diego Loyal SC return to action after thrilling midweek victories as part of a three-game slate on Sunday evening that sees the South Florida side visit Birmingham Legion FC and SD Loyal play host to Las Vegas Lights FC for the first meeting between the sides this season.

Here's a look ahead at all the action.

Indy Eleven vs. Rio Grande Valley FC

Venue: Michael A. Carroll Stadium
Kickoff: 5 p.m. ET
Broadcast: ESPN+

The Lowdown: Indy Eleven will try to move closer to a berth in the USL Championship Playoffs when they return home to host a Rio Grande Valley FC side that is still in must-win mode after a key three points last time out. Indy (11-10-9, 42pts) grabbed a point on the road on Wednesday night as Adrian Diz Pe scored an equalizer in the fifth minute of stoppage time to earn a 1-1 draw against Phoenix Rising FC. The result kept Indy in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, comfortably on the way to its first postseason berth since the 2019 season. The Boys in Blue took a 2-1 victory against the Toros last season in South Texas as Stefano Pinho scored a pair of goals and will be looking to build on a three-game winning streak at home. RGV FC (8-10-11, 35pts) is winless in its last seven road outings, meanwhile, a primary cause for its current position in 11th place in the Western Conference, five points out of the playoff positions going into the weekend with five games to go in its campaign. The Toros took a 1-0 victory against Birmingham Legion FC last Sunday night at H-E-B Park, however, as Frank Lopez scored the only goal, a result the visitors will need to replicate to keep their slim postseason chances alive.

Spotlight Players
Indy Eleven – Cam Lindley:
The local standout has recorded assists in consecutive outings for the Boys in Blue, moving him to four assists this season, and his influence in the center of midfield and on set pieces will be important for the hosts.

Rio Grande Valley FC – Frank Nodarse: The Cuban center back has put together a strong second season for the Toros and will need to be at his best in a potential matchup against Indy leading scorer Sebastian Guenzatti.

San Diego Loyal SC vs. Las Vegas Lights FC

Venue: Torero Stadium
Kickoff: 6 p.m. ET
Broadcast: ESPN+

The Lowdown: San Diego Loyal SC will aim to build on a thrilling late victory last time out as it hosts Las Vegas Lights FC in the first of two meetings between the sides down the final stretch of the season. SD Loyal (13-9-7, 46pts) moved back into fourth position in the Western Conference on Wednesday night as Xavi Gnaulati’s first two professional goals in the 90th minute and third minute of stoppage time earned a 3-2 victory against Monterey Bay F.C. at Cardinale Stadium. The 18-year-old Loyal Select product became the youngest player this season to notch two goals in a game, and put San Diego almost within reach of clinching a place in the postseason. By contrast, Las Vegas (3-18-9, 18pts) suffered a 3-2 defeat at Monterey Bay in its last outing despite recording the opening two goals of the contest through Marcelo Lage and Azriel Gonzalez. Las Vegas has lost its past two outings and is winless in its last seven away games overall having only claimed victory once on the road this season. SD Loyal will be aiming to add to Lights FC’s travails as it looks to emulate its 2-1 win when the teams last met a season ago at Cashman Field.   

Spotlight Players
San Diego Loyal SC – Evan Conway:
SD Loyal’s leading scorer this season with 10 goals had a bright outing against Monterey Bay and was unlucky to not add to his goal total, but could find a breakthrough here for the hosts.

Las Vegas Lights FC – Marcelo Lage: The experienced center back has scored four goals this season after his finish against Monterey Bay last time out and will be a threat from set pieces as well as key on the back line for the visitors.

Birmingham Legion FC vs. Miami FC

Venue: Protective Stadium
Kickoff: 6:30 p.m. ET
Broadcast: ESPN+

The Lowdown: Miami FC will try to continue a late-season surge into playoff contention as it heads to face Birmingham Legion FC, which is looking to get back on track after a pair of sub-par displays. Legion FC (12-14-4, 40pts) played to a 1-1 draw with rival Memphis 901 FC on Wednesday night as Prosper Kasim found the net early in the second half, but the hosts were outshot 17-2 as they remained in seventh place in the Eastern Conference with four games to go in the regular season. Miami (8-14-8, 32pts) produced its biggest result of the season on Wednesday night, meanwhile, as it rallied to take a 4-3 victory against Louisville City FC at Riccardo Silva as Joaquin Rivas scored a pair of goals, including a late winner from the penalty spot. The victory was Miami’s first this season in a game in which the side had trailed and left the side four points out of the playoff positions with four games to play in the season. Having claimed a 3-1 victory against Legion FC earlier this season when Christian Sorto and Dennis Dowouna found the net, the visitors will be looking for a repeat performance to remain in with a chance of a postseason berth.

Spotlight Players
Birmingham Legion FC – Prosper Kasim:
The Legion FC original recorded his first goal since the start of August on Wednesday night and will need to continue to be assertive in the final third to help the hosts break a two-game winless run.

Miami FC – Joaquin Rivas: The El Salvador international has produced some big displays with three multi-goal games since the start of August, but will want to find more consistency in delivering to help Miami push into the playoff conversation.

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