USL Week 6 Preview: Fortunes Could Change With Packed Schedule

IMAGE, PORTLAND2

by ANTHONY J. MERCED

USL week six is a jam-packed fixture with games starting on Monday night going all the way to late into Sunday.

In fact, one of those matches has already occurred – and Orlando City B loss to the Harrisburg City Islanders, 2-1 in Pennsylvania.

Many teams have multiple games, giving them a chance to make a run up the table very early in the season or galvanize their current status as leaders at the top. Seattle Sounders FC 2 and Louisville City FC are two of those teams that hope for positive results in a condensed week.

Weeks like this are ones where team identities begin to take shape — especially as squad rotation shows head coaches just how prepared nearly every player on the team is for a spot in the starting eleven.

Louisville City Hopes to Put New York in the Rearview Mirror

Week 2 seems like a long time ago for Louisville City FC. That was when they suffered their only loss of the season, a 2-0 shutout to New York Red Bull II. Since then, Louisville has found their scoring legs with Chandler Hoffman having several multi-goal performances.

The competition this week is shaping up to be steep. First Louisville must host the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, a side that has been inconsistent in 2016 but still incredibly dangerous. Then, it is on the road for a Sunday clash with Bethlehem Steel FC who are finding their winning legs after two weeks of securing points.

Currently Louisville City FC sits in first place in the Eastern Conference. They have yet to draw a game this season with only one loss to their name. Still, there is an uneasy feeling as to whether or not they are simply placeholders for the undefeated team from New York. An unsatisfactory performance against them in week 2 only adds to the doubt which can be removed with a string of strong performances both home and away this week. Results would shift the attention away from what Louisville has to do, and put all of the pressure on the young side from New York.

Seattle Can Pull Themselves Out of the Cellar

Let’s be honest — 2016 has not been good to Seattle soccer. After seven weeks in MLS the Sounders have only two wins and after five in the USL, S2 has only one. The team currently sits at the bottom of the Western Conference with a chance to make a strong surge up the table — if the results go their way. The first opportunity will be on Tuesday night as Seattle travels to Utah to play the Real Monarchs. The Monarchs are suffering from their own string of bad losses as they’ve dropped two in a row. Conversely Seattle has strung together solid performances after losing in their first three weeks.

Their week will end at Starfire Stadium where they play OKC Energy, a team that has been a bit of a mystery in 2016. Postponed games and schedule changes have left OKC with just three games played through the first five weeks. So far they are 1-1-1, giving little indication of the type of team they will be heading into Seattle. It is still worth noting that the Energy have scored more goals in the Seattle despite having played two less games.

Should Seattle pull off victories in both games, they will see their fortunes in the Western Conference change rapidly. They would instantly have the confidence to compete for the lead in the West and also, return to a form they had throughout most of 2015.

USL Week 6 Preview:

Orlando City B vs. Harrisburg City Islanders on 4/25 at 7PM
Seattle Sounders FC 2 vs. Real Monarchs SLC on 4/26 at 9PM
Pittsburgh Riverhounds vs. Louisville City FC on 4/27 at 7:30PM
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 vs. Swope Park Rangers on 4/27 at 8PM
Harrisburg City Islanders vs. Rochester Rhinos on 4/30 at 6:05PM
Toronto FC II vs. Richmond Kickers on 4/30 at 7PM
Wilmington Hammerheads vs. FC Cincinnati on 4/30 at 7PM
Pittsburgh Riverhounds vs. Charleston Battery on 4/30 at 7:30PM
LA Galaxy II vs. Rio Grande Valley FC on 4/30 at 8:30PM
Tulsa Roughnecks vs. San Antonio FC on 4/30 at 7:30PM
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 vs. St. Louis FC on 4/30 at 8:30PM
Real Monarchs SLC vs. Colorado Springs Switchbacks on 4/30 at 9PM
Portland Timbers 2 vs. Arizona United SC on 4/30 at 10:30PM
Orange County Blues vs. Sacramento Republic FC on 4/30 at 10:30PM
Louisville City FC vs. Bethlehem Steel FC on 5/1 at 3PM
Charlotte Independence vs. New York Red Bull II on 5/1 at 4PM
FC Montreal vs. Orlando City B on 5/1 at 7:30PM
OKC Energy FC vs. Seattle Sounders FC 2 on 5/1 at 10PM