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USL Weekend Preview – Week 10

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 05/27/17, 11:12AM EDT


San Antonio, Real Monarchs look to continue streaks at top of West

TAMPA, Fla. – The two top teams in the USL’s Western Conference will head on the road aiming to maintain their current form in two major weekend contests for Week 10 of the 2017 USL regular season, with a 12-game slate continuing what has already been an eventful week. As the regular season completes its first third of the season, a packed middle of the Eastern Conference also features teams looking to make a move.

The weekend kicks off with one of its biggest games as 2016 USL Western Conference champion the Swope Park Rangers host the current undefeated conference leader San Antonio FC in what promises to be an intriguing clash of styles. Real Monarchs SLC will also visit Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 on Sunday afternoon, while Reno 1868 FC visits Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC aiming to build on a three-game league winning streak.

The Eastern Conference includes the defending champion hosting the conference’s current leader on Sunday, with the New York Red Bulls II hoping to snap a three-game losing streak when they face the Charleston Battery. The second-place Tampa Bay Rowdies return home after their midweek loss to face Saint Louis FC, which is looking to halt a four-game slide and get back into the playoff positions.

Every game of the 2017 USL season will be available on the league’s Match Center, with updates from across the league also available via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.


Photo courtesy David Calvert / Reno 1868 FC

Friday, May 26
Swope Park Rangers vs. San Antonio FC
8:30 p.m. ET, Children’s Mercy Victory Field

Something has got to give when the Swope Park Rangers host San Antonio FC on Friday night, with the Rangers holding a nine-game home winning streak that dates back to last season, and San Antonio the last remaining undefeated side in the USL this season.

The Rangers (4-3-0, 12pts) have been a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde proposition this season, winning all four of their home games and losing all three on the road. Swope Park last lost at Children’s Mercy Victory Field on Sept. 3, 2016 to Rio Grande Valley FC, and its home form has kept the side in the Western Conference’s top eight this season.

San Antonio (8-0-2, 26pts) extended its undefeated start to the season to double digits last Saturday night with a 1-0 win against Phoenix Rising FC, and now will try to take something from its visit to Missouri in the first game of a home-and-home series between the clubs over the next two weekends. SAFC has never defeated Swope Park, however, going 0-2-1 in the 2016 series.

Saturday, May 27
Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Saint Louis FC

7:30 p.m. ET, Al Lang Stadium
The Tampa Bay Rowdies are looking to bounce back from a midweek defeat as they return home to Al Lang Stadium. Saint Louis, meanwhile, is looking to break a longer dip in form as it returns to action just outside the playoff positions in the Eastern Conference.

The Rowdies (6-3-2, 20pts) were handed their third defeat of the season on Wednesday night as the Rochester Rhinos earned a 1-0 win in the USL Game of the Week on ESPN3 at Capelli Sport Stadium. Tampa Bay has only dropped points once in six games so far at home this season, against conference leaders the Charleston Battery, and will be looking to keep the pressure on the side sitting above it in the standings.

Saint Louis (3-3-2, 11pts) has lost three of its past four outings to drop to ninth place in the standings, but will be hopeful of getting things back on track after a bye last week. To do so, the side will need its attacking duo of Jose Angulo and Christian Volesky to get back on track, with the side having scored only once in its past four league outings.

Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC vs. Reno 1868 FC
8 p.m. ET, Weidner Field

Reno 1868 FC will take its three-game winning streak on the road when it visits Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, with the visitor having the chance to move past its host with a victory at Weidner Field.

Colorado Springs (3-4-4, 13pts) continued its up-and-down season in its last outing when it suffered a 5-2 defeat to Rocky Mountain rival Real Monarchs SLC. The defeat left the Switchbacks winless in their past three games, but they should take some confidence from a comeback 2-2 draw against Reno on April 22 that saw Shane Malcolm score a stoppage-time equalizer when the teams first met.

1868 FC (3-3-2, 11pts) has been on a tear since that late letdown, however, winning all three of its subsequent contests by a combined score line of 14-0. Tulsa Roughnecks FC was the most recent side to fall on Wednesday night as Reno earned a 4-0 win at Greater Nevada Field, with USL all-time leading scorer Dane Kelly moving to nine goals this season as one of four different scorers on the night.

Sunday, May 28
New York Red Bulls II vs. Charleston Battery
2 p.m. ET, MSU Soccer Park

The New York Red Bulls II will try to bounce back from their first defeat at their new home at MSU Soccer Park when they host current Eastern Conference leaders the Charleston Battery, who will be aiming to take seven points from nine in their northeast road trip.

The defending USL Cup champion Red Bulls II (3-5-2, 11pts) have already lost more games than they did a season ago this year, with the club’s three-game losing streak the longest in its history. New York came close to avoiding that fate last Saturday, but squandered a late lead as Ottawa Fury FC scored twice in the final five minutes to take a 4-3 win.

Charleston (7-1-2, 23pts) is coming in off a midweek win against Bethlehem Steel FC as Romario Williams scored his eighth goal of the season as the only goal of the game on Thursday at Goodman Stadium. The Battery were one of only two teams to win on the road against the Red Bulls II last season, and will be hoping to repeat that performance to remain on top of the Eastern Conference with one-third of the season complete. 


Photo courtesy David Calvert / Reno 1868 FC

553,848 – The USL surpassed the 500,000 total attendance mark in Week 9 of the season, having played two fewer games than it did at that point of the 2016 season. It took until Week 12 in 2016 to surpass the 550,000 mark, putting the league on track for another record season.

675 – The Swope Park Rangers have completed 675 more passes this season than Friday’s opponent San Antonio FC despite having played three fewer games. The Rangers average 447 passes per game, compared to SAFC’s 246 per game.

22 – The New York Red Bulls II have conceded more goals in the 2017 regular season (22) through 10 games than they did in the entire 2016 regular season (21).

9 – Nine players with USL experience have seen action so far for the United States U20 National Team at the FIFA U20 World Cup, with Erik Palmer-Brown (Swope Park Rangers) and Danny Acosta (Real Monarchs SLC) playing every minute in the opening two games.

7Dane Kelly has scored seven of Reno 1868 FC’s 14 goals in the club’s current three-game winning streak.


Photo courtesy Steve Kingsman / Freestyle Photography / Ottawa Fury FC

- Ottawa Fury FC earned a 2-1 victory against Major League Soccer’s Toronto FC in the first leg of the Canadian Championship Semifinals on Tuesday night in front of 7,761 fans at TD Place. The second leg is set for BMO Field on Wednesday night.

- OKC Energy FC (3-4-1, 10pts) recorded back-to-back wins for the first time this season as goals by Daniel Gonzalez and Mickey Daly earned a 2-1 win against the Portland Timbers 2 (1-8-1, 4pts) at Taft Stadium on Wednesday night. Energy FC is now two points out of the playoff positions in the Western Conference as it completed the first quarter of its year.

- Real Monarchs SLC (8-1-0, 24pts) will look for its sixth consecutive victory when it visits Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 (3-4-2, 11pts) on Sunday afternoon at McLeod Athletic Park (6 p.m. ET | Match Center). Two standouts for WFC2, Sem de Wit and Deklan Wynne, made their Whitecaps debuts in midweek in the Canadian Championship, and will likely be key if the hosts are to end the Monarchs’ current run, which has been in part fueled by former WFC2 player Daniel Haber.

- FC Cincinnati (3-4-3, 12pts) will try to claim back-to-back wins for the first time this season when it plays host to last-place Eastern Conference side Toronto FC II (1-5-4, 7pts) on Saturday evening at Nippert Stadium (5 p.m. ET | Match Center). FCC defeated Bethlehem Steel FC 2-1 last Saturday as Danni König scored his first two goals for the club.

- The LA Galaxy II (2-5-2, 8pts) will try to add to a two-game undefeated run when they host Phoenix Rising FC (3-4-0, 9pts) on Saturday night at StubHub Center Track & Field Stadium (10:30 p.m. ET | Match Center). Both sides visited Texas last weekend, as Los Dos earned a 1-1 draw on the road against Rio Grande Valley FC, and Phoenix fell 1-0 to San Antonio FC.

- Ottawa Fury FC (2-3-3, 9pts) will look to build off comeback wins in both the league and Canadian Championship when it hosts the Richmond Kickers (2-4-4, 10pts) on Saturday afternoon at TD Place (2 p.m. ET | Match Center). Richmond has drawn four consecutive league contests, including a 0-0 draw with Toronto FC II on Wednesday in the first of its two games north of the border this week.

- Seattle Sounders FC 2 (4-5-1, 13pts) plays host to Sacramento Republic FC (4-5-1, 13pts) for the second time this season on Sunday afternoon at Starfire Stadium (5 p.m. ET | Match Center), with the visitor looking to build on its first win in more than a month last time out. Republic FC defeated Tulsa Roughnecks FC 3-2 at Papa Murphy’s Park last Saturday, while S2 is coming off a 6-0 defeat at Reno.

- Orlando City B (3-3-3, 12pts) will look to build on a four-game undefeated streak when it hosts the Charlotte Independence (2-2-2, 8pts) on Saturday night at Orlando City Stadium (7:30 p.m. ET | Match Center). Orlando and Charlotte drew in their first meeting this season, while OCB has recorded shutouts in each of its past three games to move into the playoff positions in the Eastern Conference.

- Bethlehem Steel FC (3-6-0, 9pts) and the Harrisburg City Islanders (2-3-4, 10pts) will both look to break recent downturns in form when they meet on Sunday at Goodman Stadium (5 p.m. ET | Match Center). Both teams were in action in midweek, with Harrisburg playing to a 0-0 draw on Wednesday against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds and Bethlehem falling 1-0 to the Charleston Battery on Thursday. The City Islanders’ last victory came against Steel FC on April 15. Since then, the side has been on a six-game winless streak.

- Tulsa Roughnecks FC (4-5-0, 12pts) and the Portland Timbers 2 will both try to bounce back from losses on Wednesday night when they meet at ONEOK Field on Saturday night (8:30 p.m. ET | Match Center). The Roughnecks fell twice in their trip out west over the past week to Sacramento Republic FC and Reno 1868 FC, while Portland fell 2-1 to OKC Energy FC on Wednesday night in the first game of its trip to Oklahoma.

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