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USL Week 8: A Look Ahead

The spotlight is on the top third of the Eastern Conference this weekend in the USL, as the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Louisville City FC face off on Saturday night. Also in the East is a pair of bottom-of-the-table clashes that could help the winning side gain momentum.

Out in the Western Conference, it’s all about San Antonio FC right now. The leaders are running away with first place and they face a team they’ve already beaten once this season on Saturday. The closest competitors to San Antonio are in all-out chase mode already, and Saturday presents them with a chance to swoop up three points.

Here’s a look at the full USL slate this weekend:

Pittsburgh Riverhounds at Ottawa Fury (Saturday, 2 p.m. ET)

Pittsburgh comes into Saturday with two consecutive 1-0 wins that have moved it into fourth place in the Eastern Conference. Ottawa has strung together three straight draws, including a pair of goalless matches. A win is needed for the 13th-place team in the East.

Orlando City B at FC Cincinnati (Saturday, 5 p.m. ET)

Both Orlando City B and FC Cincinnati sit on nine points right above the playoff mark in the East. Orlando has earned four points out of its last two road trips, including a win over Bethlehem Steel. Cincinnati hasn’t won since April 15, a 4-0 blowout of Saint Louis FC.

Bethlehem Steel FC at Toronto FC II (Saturday, 6 p.m. ET)

The bottom feeders of the East collide in a match where both teams desperately need points. Steel has one win in the last four games, while TFC II’s only win of the season came on opening weekend.

Saint Louis FC at Charleston Battery (Saturday, 7 p.m. ET)

The East leading Battery are on a roll of late, winning three of their last four contests. Charleston has 16 points on top of the East table. Saint Louis FC has struggled recently after a fast start. The sixth-place team in the East has been outscored 6-2 in its last three games.

Harrisburg City Islanders at Richmond Kickers (Saturday, 7 p.m. ET)

Another clash of teams near the bottom of the East takes place in Richmond, where the 11th-place City Islanders take on the 12th-place Kickers. Harrisburg has close to a month without a win, while the Kickers are winless in two contests.

Louisville City FC at Tampa Bay Rowdies (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET)

Louisville City won the first meeting between the two clubs on April 9. Since then, the third-place team in the East has recorded a pair of draws. After winning their first three games, the Rowdies have one victory in their last four games. A win would help them keep pace with the surging Battery.

Orange County SC at Tulsa Roughnecks (Saturday, 8 p.m. ET)

Orange County is riding high after a 4-0 blowout of Galaxy II a week ago. They have gained seven points from their last three matches. Tulsa has two wins in its last three games, with a loss to Colorado Springs sandwiched in between. A win will push the Roughnecks into the playoff positions.

Swope Park Rangers at Rio Grande Valley FC (Saturday, 8:30 p.m. ET)

After taking a few beatings, Swope Park Rangers rebounded with a victory over Whitecaps 2 last week and bounced up to fourth in the West. Rio Grande Valley has scored three goals in two of its last three matches, and it could do the same against Rangers.

Seattle Sounders 2 at San Antonio FC (Saturday, 8:30 p.m. ET)

No team in USL is playing better than San Antonio FC. The West leaders have 22 points from eight matches and there’s no sign of them slowing down. Sounders 2 are looking for revenge from a 3-2 defeat to San Antonio on April 25.

Sacramento Republic at Real Monarchs (Saturday, 9:30 p.m. ET)

One team is trying to keep pace with San Antonio and that’s Real Monarchs. The Real Salt Lake affiliate is coming off a midweek win over LA Galaxy II. The Republic are trying to make up ground in the West, currently sitting in seventh and they’re in need of their first victory since April 8.

OKC Energy at Phoenix Rising (Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ET)

All eyes are on Phoenix with the potential debut of Didier Drogba looming. Phoenix saw its two game-winning streak come to an end last week, while the Energy are also coming into Saturday off a loss. OKC hasn’t earned a point since April 11.

Colorado Springs Switchbacks at Vancouver Whitecaps 2 (Sunday, 6 p.m. ET)

The third-place Switchbacks have earned points from four of their last five matches, earning two wins and two draws in the process. Whitecaps 2 have lost their last two contests by a 3-1 score. They haven’t recorded a win since April 16 over Timbers 2.

LA Galaxy II at New York Red Bulls II (Sunday, 9 p.m. ET)

The nightcap of the weekend comes directly after the two parent clubs square off at Red Bull Arena. Red Bulls II are looking to recover from a 5-1 trouncing in Charlotte on Thursday, while Galaxy II have struggled all season, sitting in last place in the West with four points.

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