USL Week 7 Preview: Teams Hope to Move Up the Table

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by ANTHONY J MERCED

USL Week 5 contained quite a few surprises and some unsettling trends for certain teams.

New York and Sacramento, who had some of the more upsetting weekends, will look to rebound against tough opposition. The stage is also set for other teams to make a splash this weekend. Arizona United SC, San Antonio FC and Charlotte Independence all have chances to become the main talking points in USL with big win this weekend.

Situations are looking dire for teams at the bottom of each conference, especially for FC Montreal who have played five games and suffered five losses. Last season the results weren’t present but the team had some spectacular efforts. This season, they appear to be a bit flatter as the sophmore slump has hit them hard. In the west, the Tulsa Roughnecks have had the same issues, with only one win in four games.

CHARLOTTE LOOKS TO REMAIN ON TOP OF THEIR GAME

If there was one team that proved they are a major player in the USL this season it is the Charlotte Independence. After stumbling out of the gate with two losses in their first three weeks, they have rebounded with three straight wins, with the latest being against New York Red Bull II. Charlotte’s offense has been dynamic as they’ve scored multiple goals in each of their last three games. They are also proving the be tough on the road with strong efforts in Cincinnati and New York.

This week, FC Montreal travels to Ramblewood in an effort to get their own season back on track. Five games with five losses has set the bar rather low for the Impact’s USL side. Needless to say that after the performances in previous weeks, the Independence have to be considered the favorites. Still, if we’ve learned anything in this new USL, anything is possible and an upset by Montreal could be the jolt they need to climb out of the cellar.

Montreal will have to contest with a hard press offense from Charlotte who looks for mistakes in the defense. Montreal has been anything but solid having surrendered eight goals and only scoring two so far this season. There will have to be an extreme shift in gameplan for Montreal to make this the kind of game they need to upset Charlotte.

SAN ANTONIO AND RIO GRANDE IN SEARCH OF MOMENTUM

Both San Antonio and Rio Grande Valley have had notable starts to the season. Both are at .500 with strong performances in recent weeks. Despite a loss against LA Galaxy II in Week 6, the Toros should feel strong about their road form where wins against Portland and Salt Lake have galvanized their prospects.

This season, San Antonio has been strong at Toyota Field with a win and a draw in two games. A win would push Darren Powell’s side up the table and make them a strong contender early on in the season for a playoff spot. The team has already shown their flair for dramatic goals this past weekend against Tulsa and should be able to push Rio Grande Valley in front strong home support.

USL WEEK 7 SCHEDULE:

FC Cincinnati vs. Orlando City B on 5/4 at 7:30PM
Louisville City FC vs. Toronto FC II on 5/4 at 7:30PM
Tulsa Roughnecks vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 on 5/4 at 10PM
Colorado Springs Switchbacks vs. LA Galaxy II on 5/4 at 10:30PM
Charleston Battery vs. Rochester Rhinos on ⅚ at 7:05PM
Real Monarchs SLC vs. Portland Timbers 2 on 5/7 at 5PM
FC Montreal vs. Charlotte Independence on 5/7 at 7PM
New York Red Bull II vs. Pittsburgh Riverhounds on 5/7 at 7PM
Wilmington Hammerheads vs. Richmond Kickers on 5/7 at 7PM
FC Cincinnati vs. Harrisburg City Islanders on 5/7 at 7PM
Bethlehem Steel FC vs. Orlando City B on 5/7 at 7:30PM
Rio Grande Valley FC vs. San Antonio FC on 5/7 at 7:30PM
Swope Park Rangers vs. St. Louis FC on 5/7 at 8:30PM
OKC Energy FC vs. Arizona United SC on 5/7 at 10:30PM
Sacramento Republic FC vs. LA Galaxy II on 5/7 at 10:30PM
Colorado Springs Swithbacks vs. Orange County Blues FC on 5/8 at 7PM
Tulsa Roughnecks vs. Seattle Sounders FC 2 on 5/8 at 10PM