USL Week 24 Preview: New York and LA Look to Keep Form

IMAGE, CITYISLANDERS.COM

by ANTHONY J. MERCED

As we inch closer to the 2015 USL playoffs, every point matters for teams looking to hold on to their positions above the red line.

Pivotal games for New York, Charleston and Richmond await as all of those teams are a mere five points from being on the outside looking in. A win this late in the season not only betters their chances at clinching a playoff spot, but also helps to solidify confidence during an extremely unpredictable season.

The Western Conference is even more chaotic than the East. The top four teams are separated by at most three points and at fewest just one. LA Galaxy II have rebounded after a bit of a cold spell to reclaim the top spot but will need to fend off the challenge of OKC, Seattle and Colorado Springs in order to keep the top spot in the West.

Midseason Moves Making the Difference for New York

New York Red Bull II were a team constantly looking for cohesion heading into the middle of the season and, after a few smart signings, they find themselves in the hunt for third place in the Eastern Conference. Tied with Richmond and Charleston, New York has become one of the hottest comeback stories of this season as other teams have seemingly hit a wall.

The goal scorers in last week’s win over Toronto FC II are a prime example of those strong signings. Devon “Speedy” Williams and returning draft pick Stefano Bonomo have provided high quality options to John Wolyniec who has quite the surplus of talent heading into the end of the season. This weekend New York hosts the listless Wilmington Hammerheads — the same team that was the heavy underdog against the Baby Bulls just two weeks earlier. A slip up at this stage could see New York fighting for survival instead of striving for better placement.

LA Looking for Revenge Against Arizona

Two weeks ago, Arizona capped off a hellish run of form for LA by stealing a 2-1 victory at StubHub Center. Last year’s USL Championship semifinalists lost three straight games, surrendering much needed points in a very tight conference. However, LA was able to return to form last week with a victory over Seattle, vaulting them back into the pole position.

Arizona United SC on the other hand is up to the task of playing spoiler. The team’s performances have been anything but consistent. However, key victories against teams well above them in the standings has made them a very dangerous opponent. Still, the LA Galaxy II should be heavy favorite but face more than just pressure from Arizona as the season closes in the next few weeks.

USL Week 24 Schedule:

Charlotte Independence vs. FC Montreal 8/26 at 6:30PM
Colorado Springs Switchbacks vs. Real Monarchs SLC 8/26 at 9PM
Seattle Sounders FC 2 vs. Real Monarchs SLC 8/28 at 9PM
Wilmington Hammerheads vs. New York Red Bull II 8/29 at 5PM
FC Montreal vs. Harrisburg City Islanders 8/29 at 7PM
Charleston Battery vs. Richmond Kickers 8/29 at 7PM
Pittsburgh Riverhounds vs. Louisville City FC 8/29 at 7:30PM
Austin Aztex vs. Oklahoma City Energy 8/29 at 8PM
Portland Timbers FC 2 vs. Orange County Blues FC 8/29 at 10PM
LA Galaxy II vs. Arizona United SC 8/29 at 10:30PM
Tulsa Roughnecks vs. Real Monarchs SLC 8/29 at 11PM
Charlotte Independence vs. Toronto FC II 8/30 at 3PM
St. Louis FC vs. Rochester Rhinos 8/30 at 4:05PM


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