USL Week 23 Preview: Big Week for Seattle and Harrisburg City

IMAGE, CITYISLANDERS.COM

by ANTHONY J. MERCED
Staff Writer

With fixtures down to just single digits for the remainder of the season, every point is critical for teams jockeying for better positions in the standings. Teams like New York and Orange County have a chance to better their hold on spots above the red line. However, compacted fixtures for other teams, specifically Harrisburg City and Seattle, make this weekend an essential battle for life and dominance.

Harrisburg City on Red Alert

For Harrisburg City, the situation is dire. Currently in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, their hopes are fading quickly for a return to the USL Championship game. Consistency has been a huge problem for them all season but their recent run of win-loss-win-loss form is keeping them from gaining ground on the competition. This weekend, they play one beatable opponent in Toronto — a team that never really got out of the starting block. Toronto will be a perfect opportunity to grab three points, moving them just one point out of the final playoff spot.

Their second fixture will be far more difficult. Last week, the Rochester Rhinos returned to their winning ways by dispatching the Wilmington Hammerheads 2-1. The Islanders will have to venture into Sahlen’s Stadium, knowing full well that they will have to win against a team that hasn’t dropped all three points at home yet this season. However, they can take solace in knowing that Rochester has surrendered a goal in each of their last three games. The Islanders have also scored an eye-opening ten goals in their last four games. If they can solve the Rochester defense, this week may end up being one of the most important for Harrisburg City in their fight to stay relevant in the playoff picture.

Seattle can Claim First

The Western Conference in the USL this season has been a revolving door. No team has been able to grab an advantage for long stretches and Seattle has a chance to make sure that remains a constant theme. With two fixtures against teams directly above them in the standings, LA Galaxy II and Colorado Springs Switchbacks, Seattle has the opportunity to hurt the competition while also raising their own chances at grabbing the top spot.

Currently, Seattle is on a two game losing streak, having dropped points to Vancouver and Sacramento. Those loses, combined with the tremendous form of OKC, have placed Seattle in a precarious position just above the drop zone for a playoff spot. Still, the race is so tight they they could jump from sixth to first, should they win both games this weekend. It certainly won’t be easy as the Switchbacks have been consistent with only one loss in their last six games. Sacramento is a bit more vulnerable as the departure of Preki has left their style feeling a bit disjointed. The Republic will certainly be looking for a spark, but Seattle may have the upper hand and the high ground in the hunt for a playoff birth.

USL Week 23 Schedule:

Colorado Springs Switchbacks vs. Seattle Sounders FC 2 8/19 at 4PM
Harrisburg City Islanders vs. Toronto FC II 8/19 at 8PM
Charleston Battery vs. St. Louis FC 8/20 at 8PM
Tulsa Roughnecks vs. Portland Timbers FC 2 8/22 at 5PM
St. Louis FC vs. Richmond Kickers 8/22 at 7PM
FC Montreal vs. Wilmington Hammerheads 8/22 at 7PM
Harrisburg City Islanders vs. Rochester Rhinos 8/22 at 7:05PM
Pittsburgh Riverhounds vs. Charlotte Independence 8/22 at 7:10PM
Charleston Battery vs. Louisville City FC 8/22 at 7:30PM
New York Red Bull II vs. Toronto FC II 8/22 at 8PM
Orange County Blues FC vs. Austin Aztex 8/22 at 8:30PM
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 vs. Arizona United SC 8/22 at 10:30PM
Real Monarchs SLC vs. Sacramento Republic FC 8/22 at 11PM
Seattle Sounders FC 2 vs. LA Galaxy II 8/23 at 6PM

  • OpenCupFan

    Any news on Preki?