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USL Week 5: A Look Ahead

Saturday is a busy day in USL, with a total of 10 games across the day and two additional contests set for Sunday. Three teams enter  the weekend atop the Eastern Conference with 10 points. The Tampa Bay Rowdies come into Week 5 with a slight edge over Louisville City FC and Saint Louis FC on goal differential. Out in the Western Conference, San Antonio FC holds a one-point lead over three clubs.

With the races at the top of the table so close this early in the campaign, eyes will be on countless games across North America to see where the lead swings next.

Here’s a look at every game this weekend:

Toronto FC II at Ottawa Fury (Saturday, 2:00 ET)

Ottawa’s TD Place will be the host of the first Battle for Ontario between Ottawa Fury FC and Toronto FC II on Saturday afternoon. Ottawa will look to get its second win of the campaign in its home opener. The young TFC II side will look to protect its higher position in the conference rankings coming back from a bye in Week 4. During their break, the Reds signed former Montreal Impact academy player Brandon Onkony to a USL contract.

Pittsburgh Riverhounds at Richmond Kickers (Saturday, 5:00 ET)

After losing 1-0 to the Ottawa Fury, the Richmond Kickers will look into breaking their 309-minute scoreless streak against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds at City Stadium. Central midfielder Chris Durkin will not be available for Saturday’s game. The D.C. United youth player has been called up to the U17 squad for the CONCACAF U17 Championship. The Riverhounds are looking for their first clean sheet of the season after conceding eight goals in five games.

San Antonio FC at Vancouver Whitecaps 2 (Saturday, 6:00 ET)

The leaders of the Western Conference, San Antonio FC, take the trip north to play Vancouver Whitecaps 2 at Thunderbird Stadium. After a blowout 4-0 win at home against Reno 1868 FC, San Antonio will look to further their dominance north of the border against the young Canadian side.

New York Red Bulls II at Rochester Rhinos (Saturday, 6:05 ET)

The two New York sides will meet up once again at Rochester Capelli Sports Stadium. The 2015 USL champions will open their home season against the 2016 USL champions and usually have luck on their sides in home openers. The Rhinos have won five of their last six home openers, but Red Bulls II will not make it easy for them. Vincent Bezecourt is currently tied for second place in the USL with four goals this season.

Louisville City FC at FC Cincinnati (Saturday, 7:00 ET)

Louisville City FC will try to remain atop the Eastern Conference as it travels to Nippert Stadium to play FC Cincinnati. The men in purple will need to watch USL goal-scoring leader Djiby Fall who has six goals in only four weeks of action to show for.

Charleston Battery  at Tampa Bay Rowdies (Saturday, 7:30 ET)

Another conference leader will try to remain on top on Saturday in Florida. The Tampa Bay Rowdies will look to continue taking the USL by storm when they host the Charleston Battery at Al Lang Stadium. The Battery has a strong scoring option in Atlanta United loan player Romario Williams, who is tied for second on the USL scoring chart with four and Justin Portillo is tied for second in assists with three.

Tulsa Roughnecks at Rio Grande Valley FC (Saturday, 8:30 ET)

Rio Grande Valley FC will try to record a third straight win as they play host to the Tulsa Roughnecks on Saturday evening. Chicago Fire loanee Collin Fernandez is set to return to the Roughnecks after U.S. U20 training camp in London.

Charlotte Independence at Saint Louis FC (Saturday, 8:30 ET)

The third team tied for first in the Eastern Conference, Saint Louis FC, will host the Charlotte Independence. Saint Louis is attempting to brush off the crushing 4-0 loss to FC Cincinnati in front of a packed Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati. The Independence are in search of their first win of the season, their only point recorded on the road was a 1-1 draw at Orlando City B

Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC at Reno 1868 FC  (Saturday, 10:00 ET)

Reno 1868 FC returns home to Greater Nevada Field after giving up nine goals in the last two matches. The Switchbacks enter Nevada on the heels of an impressive win over Real Monarchs at home.

Real Monarchs SLC at Seattle Sounders 2 (Saturday, 10:00 ET)

The Monarchs will look to bounce back from their 2-1 loss to the Colorado Springs Switchbacks. They will be without Charlie Adams, who leads the league in chances created with 16, as he received a red card in their loss in Colorado Springs. Sounders 2 have had an edge on the Monarchs at home in the past, as they have a 2-1-1 record all time against the Real Salt Lake USL affiliate.

Orange County SC at LA Galaxy II (Saturday, 10:30 ET)

Los Dos will be attempting to snap their three-game losing streak by hosting their California rival Orange County SC at the StubHub Center’s track stadium. Despite winning the season series in the 2016 campaign, LA has more wins all time against the Orange County SC/Orange County Blues franchise with a 8-3-2 record.

Portland Timbers 2 at Sacramento Republic (Saturday, 10:30 ET)

Sacramento will look to half its losing streak at two games as it plays host to Timbers 2 at Papa Murphy’s Park on Saturday night. The Republic have also failed to record a goal in those two games and will want to turn it around against a Portland side starring USL’s saves leader Kendall McIntosh with a total of 21.

Orlando City B  at Bethlehem Steel (Sunday, 4:00 ET)

Steel FC will look to even out its 1-2-0 record when it hots Orlando City B at Goodman Stadium in the the first of the two Sunday games. However, Orlando City B has the league’s assist leader, Pierre Da Silva, to show for. Interestingly, both teams played the Harrisburg City Islanders at FNB Field home in their last game, Bethlehem lost 3-2 while Orlando drew 1-1.

Swope Park Rangers at Phoenix Rising FC (Sunday, 10:00 ET)

Phoenix Rising will introduce new player and part-owner Didier Drogba to their fans Sunday evening. The team will look on to build on their first win of the season at home against LA Galaxy II after a rough start to the campaign. Swope Park Rangers have won their last three games at home, and they could make it a fourth in a row overall in Arizona.

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