skip navigation

One Question for every team in the USL Championship entering Week 10

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 05/10/24, 11:10AM EDT


We’re looking at two immediate Open Cup rematches, travel and rotation, and what does the raccoon do on its weekend off?

Indy Eleven is undefeated in its last five games in all competition as it looks for victory in Miami on Sunday evening to wrap up this weekend's slate. | Photo courtesy Indy Eleven

After this week’s Round of 32 in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, we’re back into Week 10 of the USL Championship regular season across a three-day weekend that includes a nationally televised clash between Detroit City FC and Phoenix Rising FC on CBS Sports Network at 5 p.m. ET on Saturday.

Ahead of the 11-game slate of games, we’ve got a question for every team in the league. Here’s where you can tune in for all the action.

Birmingham Legion FC – Which version of the side shows up this weekend?


Legion almost pulled off a comeback for the ages on Wednesday night against the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the Open Cup’s Round of 32, scoring four times between the 82nd minute and the final whistle to send the game to extra time. It then proceeded to record only one shot in the extra half-hour as Tampa Bay walked away with a 6-4 victory. As the sides meet again three days later in league play, Birmingham can take victory if the better version of itself shows up. The question is, will it?

Charleston Battery – What does the raccoon do on its weekend off?

With 10 games under their belts already – and 120 minutes played to advance in the Open Cup in midweek – the Battery have their first weekend off this season. Time to rest up.

Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC – Two steps forward, two steps back?

The mood around the Switchbacks had to have lifted after consecutive wins in the past two outings, the latter coming in front of a sellout crowd at Weidner Field, only for the side to slump to defeat against New York City FC II in the Open Cup on Wednesday night. Now they’ve got to complete their northeast trip with a game against numerous familiar faces, not least former Head Coach Brendan Burke, at Hartford Athletic. Getting something out of Saturday night’s clash is going to be important to at least keep the club’s league momentum going.

Detroit City FC – Lights, camera, action, Glaser, Robinson?

Detroit City FC is 3-0-0 in the league at Keyworth Stadium this season as it hosts Phoenix Rising FC on CBS Sports Network on Saturday evening. | Photo courtesy Jon DeBoer / Detroit City FC

Riding high after its thrilling Open Cup victory against defending title holder Houston Dynamo FC, Detroit City FC will host its first nationally televised game at Keyworth Stadium on Saturday evening when Phoenix Rising FC comes to visit on CBS Sports Network. The atmosphere promises to be something special again, and after Jack Harlow’s presence for Louisville City FC’s clash with Indy Eleven last month, and Jon Glaser’s appearance on the Tonight Show in his DCFC gear on Thursday night, might we be graced by the presence of either Glaser or I Think You Should Leave’s Tim Robinson amongst the DCFC faithful?

El Paso Locomotive FC – Can you take advantage of the schedule?

Locomotive is aiming to avoid becoming only the fifth team to start the season with a double-digit winless streak since the start of the 2019 Championship season, but it at least has the schedule in its favor as it visits Loudoun United FC on Friday night. While El Paso has to travel cross country, United played on Tuesday night in California in the Open Cup against Orange County SC. Locomotive needs to take advantage of its relative freshness to finally push a win across the line.

Hartford Athletic – Will the ex-Switchbacks deliver against their former club?

There’s a soccer cliché about players scoring against their former clubs. If that holds true, then Hartford Athletic has plenty of candidates to fill that role as Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC visits Trinity Health Stadium. Five of the players that started Hartford’s last outing in Charleston have previously played in Colorado Springs – led by forwards Romario Williams, Michee Ngalina and Deshane Beckford – while Head Coach Brendan Burke was originally the leader of Colorado Springs’ current technical staff before his departure prior to last season. They’ll be aiming to get a needed win on the board at the expense of their former employer.

Indy Eleven – Can you continue to creep up the standings?

There haven’t been many showstopping moments, but Indy Eleven is on a five-game undefeated streak – and has won four of those outings – in all competitions since its Open Cup victory against the Chicago Fire FC II on April 17 that has positioned the side nicely in the middle of the pack in the Eastern Conference. One of only three teams to have scored in every game this season, keeping that momentum going on Sunday night in Miami would be ideal before three consecutive home games to round out the month.

Las Vegas Lights FC – How do you get Riki Alba on track?

Of the signings Las Vegas Lights FC made this offseason in its full-squad refurbishment, the addition of Dominican Republic forward Riki Alba was one that brought solid pedigree to the table. So far, however, the 29-year-old has only one goal to show for his seven appearances and that came in the Open Cup against USL League One side Spokane Velocity FC. Finding a way to get your No. 9 into the rhythm of the attack is a tricky process chemistry-wise – and facing a solid defense in San Antonio FC on Saturday night will be a challenge – but it’s something the Lights need to have happen to help half their current slide in form.

Loudoun United FC – Who’s feeling fresh for Friday night?

When Loudoun United was looking ahead to the season – and a Friday night clash with El Paso Locomotive FC – it certainly couldn’t have envisioned drawing the short straw in the Open Cup pod allocation and having to go to the West Coast for a game three days prior. The side picked up an impressive win against Orange County SC led by Wesley Leggett’s brace and Dane Jacomen’s heroics in goal, but getting out to a good start against Locomotive might be needed as well as Head Coach Ryan Martin uses his substitutions judiciously to make sure the side has enough juice to play a strong 90 minutes.

Louisville City FC – Will your home scoring prowess continue?

Lousiville City FC has scored 19 goals in four consecutive home victories to start the 2024 USL Championship season. | Photo courtesy Em-Dash Photography / Louisville City FC

Louisville City at home this season has been nothing short of a wrecking machine. The side has won all four outings and scored 19 goals in doing so, including at least five in each of its past three home league outings. With the disappointment of Wednesday night’s elimination from the Open Cup in a penalty shootout against Seattle Sounders FC in the rear-view mirror, this is a chance for a response and to continue the most dominant home form in the league so far this season.

Memphis 901 FC – Can you turn the tables on the road?

Memphis put in a creditable performance against FC Dallas on Tuesday night in the Open Cup before falling by a lone goal, but keeping the side’s positive league momentum going this weekend is now paramount as 901 FC tries to keep moving up the Western Conference. It’s going to be a test to do so against Monterey Bay F.C., which took a 2-1 victory last month at AutoZone Park when these sides met for the first time this season and has established a good home record this season, but it would set a marker for how things have changed for Head Coach Stephen Glass’ squad if it can get a result here.

Miami FC – Will Danny Barbir help halt Indy’s attack?

Indy Eleven acquiring Danny Barbir this offseason felt like an interesting fit between a solid defender and a experienced squad, but after just three appearances for the Boys in Blue at the start of the season he was shipped to Miami FC in a pair of transactions that also saw Roberto Molina head to South Florida and defender Ben Ofeimu and midfielder Ben Mines to go Indy. Barbir has made consecutive solid starts since getting acclimated to his new surroundings and now should get to face his former club. He and the rest of Miami’s defense will be tasked with stopping an Indy attack that has scored in every game this season, which should make for a fascinating matchup on Sunday night.

Monterey Bay F.C. – Can you stop the slide?

We felt positive about Monterey Bay earlier this season when it rebounded from its first loss of the season with four consecutive victories in all competitions. More recently, however, the challenges that beset the side last year – entering a downward spiral it couldn’t find a way out of – have returned. Three consecutive losses, and three consecutive games without a goal, have stalled MBFC’s momentum. Getting back on the scoresheet and in the win column at home to Memphis 901 FC feels like it’s important to the overall direction of this season.

New Mexico United – How’s your Open Cup hangover?

New Mexico United hosts Oakland Roots SC for Meow Wolf Night this Saturday after a thrilling victory against Real Salt Lake in the Open Cup on Wednesday night. | Photo courtesy New Mexico United

There are few things as exhilarating in soccer around the world for a lower-division club than upsetting a team from the top flight in a cup competition. What’s more, New Mexico United was fully deserving of its 4-2 win against Real Salt Lake at Isotopes Park on Wednesday night, which set up the opportunity for another deep Open Cup run. While that’s something to look forward to, United is also in second place in the Western Conference and is looking like a contender. It needs to avoid slipping up at home against Oakland Roots SC on Saturday night to keep that positive feeling going.

North Carolina FC – Up for some extra shooting practice?

NCFC has this weekend off before a Tuesday night clash with Loudoun United FC, and it might be served working on the club’s finishing. After a scoreless draw last weekend at home to Rhode Island FC, the side has slipped to the bottom of the Eastern Conference with its finishing a key reason why. North Carolina has scored only eight goals on an Expected Goals mark of 10.33. It has put only 25 shots on target, tied for the second fewest in the league. Its shooting accuracy rate? Just 34.3 percent, the lowest in the league. That must get fixed for this team to go where it wants to.

Oakland Roots SC – Who’s ready to be a difference maker?

Oakland pulled out a great result last weekend in San Antonio before making its presence felt in the Open Cup on Wednesday night before ultimately being eliminated by the San Jose Earthquakes. What Roots needs now, though, is to find a way out of the current four-game winless streak it finds itself in. There have been some good performances this season individually – led by Memo Diaz and Irakoze Donasiyano – but Oakland needs more. It’s time for players with promise like Jeciel Cedeno Miche-Naider Chery to find another gear in New Mexico.

Orange County SC – Can your defense stand firm in Louisville?

Orange County has had one of the more consistent defenses this season, even without some of its more experienced heads available, conceding only six goals in eight league games. It was shocked on Tuesday night by Loudoun United FC at home in the Open Cup, however, and now has to go on the road to face Louisville City FC’s juggernaut of an attack. The last time these teams played – on the opening weekend a season ago – LouCity took a 3-1 win in California, and they’re a better team now than they were then. This is going to take a big effort for the visitors at Lynn Family Stadium to come away with a result.

Phoenix Rising FC – How are your legs holding up?

Rising has built positive momentum in the last two weeks, earning a draw at home to Sacramento Republic FC last weekend before winning on the road at North Carolina FC in midweek. The strain of going 120 minutes on Wednesday night, playing for more than 90 of those down to 10 players after Laurence Wyke’s early red card, could take a toll as Phoenix continues its trip on the east coast with a visit to Detroit City FC. Managing the lineup and substitutions is going to be essential for Head Coach Danny Stone to try and keep the side on the upswing in a tough environment to visit.

Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC – Time to flip the script?

Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC and FC Tulsa will meet for a second consecutive outing on Saturday after Tulsa took victory in the Open Cup on Tuesday night. | Photo courtesy Mallory Neil / Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC

All things being equal, it’s easy to see how Pittsburgh could have advanced in its Open Cup clash with FC Tulsa on Tuesday night. The Hounds had more shots overall, more chances inside the penalty area, but ended up falling 1-0 on a late winner by Tulsa’s Phillip Goodrum. Now they’ve got to go back to Tulsa for one of two matchups this weekend that see teams play in the Open Cup and Championship consecutively. The Hounds’ league form has been good, and you’d expect to see Danny Griffin, Robbie Mertz and Edward Kizza back in the lineup. Will that make the difference the second time around?

Rhode Island FC – Is that a JJ Williams sighting we see?

JJ Williams was one of the marquee signings for Rhode Island FC ahead of its inaugural season, acquired via transfer from the Tampa Bay Rowdies after a campaign in which he notched 12 goals and nine assists in the Championship. So far this season he’s been absent due to injury, but this week on social media Williams appeared to be in training. We might infer he could make his debut against Sacramento Republic FC on Saturday. After last week’s anemic attacking performance, it won’t be a moment too soon.

Sacramento Republic FC – Where’s the higher gear?

Sacramento has been a fascinating – and maybe frustrating – club to follow this season. It’s one of two undefeated sides in the league, sits on top of the Western Conference and still has yet to trail for a minute after its 2-0 win against Monterey Bay F.C. in the Open Cup in midweek. At the same time, it hasn’t had the killer instinct to put teams away. It has dropped eight points from winning positions already this campaign – already more than the six it dropped last regular season. It feels like this attacking group has more to offer than the 14 goals in nine games in the league it has presented. On the road in Rhode Island before next week’s bye would be a good time to show it.

San Antonio FC – What’s up with that injury list?

When it dropped before Wednesday night’s Open Cup game against Indy Eleven, the San Antonio injury list was an eye-opener. Not only did central defender Mitchell Taintor remain sidelined, but the likes of goalkeeper Pablo Sisniega, playmaker Lucas Silva, defender Carter Manley and midfielder Luke Haakenson were also on there as well. If that remains the same against Las Vegas on Saturday night, it’s going to be another test of San Antonio’s depth – which it has – but also the mentality its newcomers are bringing to the table.

Tampa Bay Rowdies – Can you avoid the backslide?

The Tampa Bay Rowdies lost a four-goal lead at home on Wednesday night to Birmingham Legion FC before winning in extra time. The two sides meet again at Al Lang Stadium on Saturday night. | Photo courtesy Morgan Tencza / Tampa Bay Rowdies

With 10 minutes to go against Birmingham Legion FC on Wednesday night, the Rowdies looked to have everything in hand in the Open Cup. Then all hell broke loose defensively as Legion sent the game to extra time, and while the Rowdies did well to keep their composure and pull out a solid extra 30 minutes on the way to victory, it was a startling defensive display from a club we’ve expected better from in that department. It was reminiscent in a way of the side’s opening game of the season, when it looked in control against San Antonio only to let a two-goal lead slide. As good as this side can be, it can’t afford those types of lapses if its going to keep up with the top of the Eastern Conference.

FC Tulsa – Can you do the double?

If you’re an FC Tulsa fan, here’s the good news – the last time we saw teams play consecutive games in the Open Cup and league in the Championship two years ago, Phoenix Rising FC swept New Mexico United two wins to nothing. Now here’s the bad news – the Hounds lineup you saw on Tuesday night is probably going to be stronger than the one that starts on Saturday at ONEOK Field. There’s rotation to be had too for Head Coach Mario Sanchez considering Stefan Stojanovic, Blaine Ferri and Edwin Laszo all were all substitutes as well, which makes this another fascinating chess match between the two coaches.

Follow the USL Championship

Most Recent News

Most Read News

Latest Videos