USL Week 10 Preview: MLS2 Teams Show Best and Worst

whitecaps 2 usl

by ANTHONY J. MERCED

Already at Week 10 in the USL season and storylines are taking clear shape around the league.

MLS2 sides have made a clear impact in both the Eastern and Western Conference with yet another week to solidify dominance. Both New York and Vancouver hold their fate in their hands with very winnable games. Should they manage to grab all available points, it will be time to start looking at those teams as the front runners in both conferences.

On the downside there are some MLS2 sides that just haven’t been able to find their way in 2016. FC Montreal and Seattle both wish they could hit the reset button and have a chance with big games this weekend. Both teams will be on the road with tough opponents with the likelihood of a dismal season on the horizon should they not grab the best result possible.

NEW YORK AND VANCOUVER LOOK TO SOLIDIFY DOMINANCE

New York and Vancouver have been a bit of a surprise in the 2016 season. Both teams had strong 2015 campaigns with New York even making some noise in last year’s playoffs. However, the level in which both teams improved cannot be understated. New York has only suffered one loss on the season while Vancouver has yet to drop three points. Both teams have games in hand on the competition and could solidify their spot as the top teams in each conference by the end of the week.

New York will host the lowly Pittsburgh Riverhounds. Last week, they scored their first win of the season while also hiring a new head coach. Such a transition usually leads to a strong first impression so NYRB II will need to be weary, especially when you consider their lack of production at Red Bull Arena. Still, it is a very winnable game for New York and since it will be the second part of a double header, expect some surprises to the lineup should substitutes not be used by the first team.

And yes. This is the first time these teams have met since the infamous Romeo Parkes incident.

Vancouver has two games this week — both on the road and at home. First up will be St. Louis FC who has quietly climbed the table and sits just six points back of the Whitecaps. However, their road form has been stunning with a 4-0-1 record destined to make them favorites at World Wide ¬†Technology Soccer Park. Following the game in St. Louis, Vancouver will turn around on Sunday to host Real Monarchs SLC. The Monarchs have been incredibly inconsistent but a win last week against the Orange County Blues will have them feeling like anything is possible in Canada.

MONTREAL AND SEATTLE LOOK TO TURN AROUND DREADFUL START

There is no denying that FC Montreal and Seattle Sounders FC 2 have been two of the worst teams in USL this season. What makes matters worse is that both have been woeful defensively allowing 12 and 14 goals respectively. On top of this, there appears to be no solution for the lack of goals from either offense.

This week brings a new set of challenges as FC Montreal travels to Richmond who are more than capable of handling a younger side with a patient counter attack. Montreal hasn’t been able to gather even one point this season and have scored only three goals all season. This means a lone effort from the Kickers could be all they need to hand Montreal their ninth loss of the season. A turn around is needed in quick order but whether or not it can happen remains to be seen. All signs point to another loss but with a team so young, anything is possible.

Seattle has a different set of issues. Eight of their first ten games were played at Starfire Stadium, giving them an opportunity to jump out to an early lead. However, that never materialized and the team was only able to grab one win at home thus far. Now S2 hits the road to play Timbers 2 in a USL rivalry fixture that could leave a sour taste in supporters’ mouths should the result go poorly. Portland themselves have rebounded after a tough start and hope to bury their Cascadia rival once and for all, leaving them to wonder just what went wrong only a third of the way through the season.

USL WEEK 10 SCHEDULE:

Toronto FC II vs. Harrisburg City Islanders on 5/24 at 7PM
Real Monarchs SLC vs. OKC Energy FC on 5/24 at 8PM
Rio Grande Valley FC vs. San Antonio FC on 5/25 at 7:30PM
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 vs. St. Louis FC on 5/25 at 8PM
Seattle Sounders FC 2 vs. Portland Timbers 2 on 5/26 at 10PM
Orange County Blues FC vs. Colorado Springs Switchbacks on 5/27 at 9PM
Bethlehem Steel FC vs. Rochester Rhinos on 5/28 at 6:05PM
FC Montreal vs. Richmond Kickers on 5/28 at 7PM
Harrisburg City Islanders vs. FC Cincinnati on 5/28 at 7PM
Louisville City FC vs. Charleston Battery on 5/28 at 7:30PM
Charlotte Independence vs. Orlando City B on 5/28 at 7:30PM
Pittsburgh Riverhounds vs. New York Red Bull II on 5/28 at 10PM
Arizona United SC vs. LA Galaxy II on 5/28 at 10:30PM
Swope Park Rangers vs. Sacramento Republic FC on 5/28 at 10:30PM
Real Monarchs SLC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 on 5/29 at 5PM
Wilmington Hammerheads vs. Toronto FC II on 5/29 at 7:30PM
Rio Grande Valley FC vs. St. Louis FC on 5/29 at 8:30PM


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