By MIKE GRAMAJO
While a majority of USL Pro clubs have already seen action in the 2014 season, Arizona United SC officially enters the mix this weekend when they make their league debut on Saturday at home against Oklahoma City Energy FC.
The Energy are coming off a 4-2 loss to LA Galaxy II after winning their first-ever match against the Orange County Blues FC.
Meanwhile, Arizona United was very busy over the past week adding several familiar names to their roster, including former MLS veterans Matt Kassel, London Woodberry and Paolo DelPiccolo, while also landing forward Jonathan Top on loan from FC Dallas.
A blossoming California derby also headlines this week’s USL Pro schedule, with LA Galaxy II facing Sacramento Republic. Los Dos are currently in first place in the league, but will face a stiff test against a Sacramento side they already faced earlier in the season, coming from behind to beat the Republic.
Here’s a closer look at all of this weekend’s action in USL Pro:
LA GALAXY II VS. SACRAMENTO REPUBLIC (Sunday, April 13 at 10:30 p.m. ET WATCH HERE)
The LA Galaxy II look to not only remain unbeaten in the season, but to keep their place atop the standings, but will have a tough task in hand when the Sacramento Republic FC return to the StubHub Center.
The sides met earlier in the season, which resulted into Los Dos coming from a goal behind to finish in a 1-1 draw. Meanwhile, the Republic are entering Sunday’s match after mauling the Chivas USA Reserves, 3-1. The win saw Mike Fucito score a goal and notch an assist.
Preki’s men will have to regroup quickly since they’re scheduled to play at Orange County Blues the day prior at Anteater Stadium.
DAYTON DUTCH LIONS VS. ROCHESTER RHINOS (Friday, April 11 at 7:00 p.m. ET WATCH HERE)
After taking three points last week at the Charlotte Eagles, the Dayton Dutch Lions look to carry their momentum at home when they host the Rochester Rhinos
Dayton shocked the league when they battled to a 1-0 road victory last week against the Eagles after Brock Granger’s close range header made the difference. The Rhinos look to bounce back after suffering a 3-1 loss at Orlando City last week.
ORLANDO CITY VS. CHARLESTON BATTERY (Saturday, April 12 at 7:30 p.m. ET WATCH HERE)
After earning their first victory of the season last week, Orlando City SC look to get the upper hand when they welcome the Charleston Battery to Disney World.
The teams played each other opening weekend, resulting in a 1-1 draw at Blackbaud Stadium. Forward Mamadou Diouf gave the Battery the early lead, but midfielder Austin da Luz’s late goal salvaged a point for Lions.
The Battery, however, will look to regain their momentum after missing out last week because of a bye-week. Meanwhile, this will be Orlando City’s third straight home match before heading out on a two-game road stretch.
CHARLOTTE EAGLES VS. RICHMOND KICKERS (Saturday, April 12 at 7:00 p.m. ET WATCH HERE)
The Charlotte Eagles didn’t kick off their season last week on a good note, but will look to utilize home-field advantage when the Richmond Kickers visit the Queens Sports Complex.
The Eagles’ failure to execute on the final third resulted into them falling 1-0 on the road last week against the Dayton Dutch Lions.
Meanwhile, the Kickers showed why they were 2013 regular season champions when they defeated the Pittsburgh Riverhounds 3-1 at City Stadium, courtesy of Kyle Porter’s second-half brace.
PITTSBURGH RIVERHOUNDS VS. WILMINGTON HAMMERHEADS (Saturday, April 12 at 7:00 p.m. ET)
After opening their first two games of the campaign on the road, the Pittsburgh Riverhounds will look to lean on the comfort of their home when they welcome the Wilmington Hammerheads to Highmark Stadium.
The Riverhounds didn’t open up their season the way they expected, picking up only one point on the road before suffering a grueling defeat to the Kickers last week.
After a scoreless draw at home, the Hammerheads will make their first road trip this season.
What do you think of Week 4? Do you think the LA Galaxy II will remain in first place? How do you think Arizona will fare? Can Orlando City keep their unbeaten start alive? Do you think the Kickers will earn three points at Charlotte?
Share your thoughts below.