A busy weekend schedule headlines Week 7 of the USL regular season, with several Friday night matches and a double-handful of Saturday games to sate your soccer appetite.
Highlights of the weekend include a Cascadian clash between the Seattle Sounders 2 and Portland Timbers 2 late on Friday night, while a pair of former NASL teams meet once more to open the Saturday slate as the Ottawa Fury welcome the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Elsewhere, an upper-echelon clash between two MLS hopefuls leads Saturday night, as San Antonio FC and the Sacramento Republic meet.
Here’s a full look a the weekend schedule:
SWOPE PARK RANGERS VS. VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC 2 (FRIDAY, 8:30 P.M.)
Both the Swope Park Rangers and Vancouver Whitecaps 2 find themselves in tentative playoff position early in the season, and both will aim to keep it that way as they enter Friday’s match. The Rangers have dropped two straight and will need to bounce back to winning form as the Whitecaps 2 enter off a positive draw against the Sacramento Republic.
COLORADO SPRINGS SWITCHBACKS VS. TULSA ROUGHNECKS (FRIDAY, 9 P.M.)
In the second meeting of the year between the Colorado Springs Switchbacks and Tulsa Roughnecks, each team will unusually be seeking a different result than the first time these two met. The Switchbacks earned all three points to open the year despite losing the match because of a forfeiture from the Roughnecks due to fielding an ineligible player.
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC 2 VS. PORTLAND TIMBERS 2 (FRIDAY, 10:30 P.M.)
A mini-Cascadia clash closes the Friday schedule late as the Sounders 2 and Timbers 2 battle it out. The Sounders 2 got the better of their opponents the last time these two met, in a 2-1 victory, and they’ll hope to repeat that success against a Timbers 2 team that has struggled mightily, winning just one of their first seven.
OTTAWA FURY VS. TAMPA BAY ROWDIES (SATURDAY, 2 P.M.)
In one of the most intriguing matches of the weekend, two former NASL teams will clash for the second time in the USL as the Tampa Bay Rowdies take on the Ottawa Fury. Though the Rowdies won the last contest 1-0, the Fury are coming off a strong victory in leg one of their Canadian Championship match against the NASL’s FC Edmonton.
NEW YORK RED BULLS II VS. HARRISBURG CITY ISLANDERS (SATURDAY, 4 P.M.)
The defending champion New York Red Bulls II have struggled so far this year, with a 2-2-2 record through six matches, but they’ll have a chance to move above .500 with a win over the Harrisburg City Islanders this weekend. The City Islanders, meanwhile, can leapfrog their opponents in the standings with an away victory and perhaps bounce into playoff position.
CHARLESTON BATTERY VS. BETHLEHEM STEEL (SATURDAY, 7 P.M.)
The Charleston Battery have had a blazing start to the season, currently sitting atop the east with 13 points through four matches. They’ll take on a Bethlehem Steel team that has been fairly average, with a 2-3-0 record through five and currently sitting outside of the playoff window. The Steel shouldn’t be underestimated however, as they enter off a strong win over FC Cincinnati last week.
RICHMOND KICKERS VS. FC CINCINNATI (SATURDAY, 7 P.M.)
The Richmond Kickers and MLS-hopefuls FC Cincinnati have both endured middling starts to the season that betray their playoff aspirations, but each will have the chance to add to their win count on Saturday evening. Both teams enter off 1-0 losses, the Kickers to the Rowdies and Cincy to the Steel, and so both will hope to bounce back Saturday night.
ORANGE COUNTY SC VS. LA GALAXY II (SATURDAY, 8 P.M.)
An all-California affair kicks off on Saturday night as Orange County SC, 2-1-1 through four matches, take on local rivals in the LA Galaxy II. Los Dos have endured a slow start, with a 1-3-1 showing through five matches, but can catch their in-state rivals by stealing all three points on the road on Saturday night.
SAN ANTONIO FC VS. SACRAMENTO REPUBLIC FC (SATURDAY, 8:30 P.M.)
Potentially the best match of the weekend comes out West as San Antonio FC, currently sitting unbeaten atop the Western Conference with a 6-0-1 record, welcome the Sacramento Republic, who sit two places behind them in third. Each team have well-known MLS aspirations and will aim to prove themselves against their expansion competition as well as boost their standing in the table.
PHOENIX RISING FC VS. RENO 1868 FC (SATURDAY, 10:30 P.M.)
Another MLS-hopeful, Didier Drogba’s Phoenix Rising FC, takes on the USL’s only remaining winless team, Reno 1868 FC. Phoenix Rising will hope to add to their mixed-bag of results, with two wins and two losses through four matches, while proving themselves a legitimate contender. Meanwhile, Reno 1868 will hope to shed their basement-dweller status and earn their first ever franchise win.