Three weeks into the USL season, there are only a few teams fighting to hold on to perfect records. One of those teams is taking the league by storm after its arrival from the NASL in the offseason as the Tampa Bay Rowdies are one of six teams that enter the weekend with perfect records. Real Monarchs became the first team to hit nine points on Thursday night.
In addition to the perfection watch, a Cascadia rivalry is renewed on Saturday night and a key Eastern Conference clash takes place in Saint Louis.
Here’s a look at each of the games being played in the USL this weekend:
Rochester Rhinos at Toronto FC II (Friday, 7:30 p.m. ET)
Toronto FC II opens the USL weekend at home against the Rhinos at the Ontario Soccer Center. The Reds, who sit 13th in the Eastern Conference, are looking to rebound from a loss to Orlando City B, while the Rhinos come in riding a high after a 3-2 shootout victory over Bethlehem Steel. The Rhinos are one of four teams in the East that have only played one game so far.
Colorado Springs Switchbacks at San Antonio FC (Friday, 9 p.m. ET)
San Antonio will look to match Real Monarchs’ perfect start atop the Western Conference with a home win over the Switchbacks. San Antonio has started the season with clean sheets against Rio Grande Valley and LA Galaxy II. The Switchbacks went on the road in Week 1 and knocked off Tulsa, but stumbled to a 1-1 draw a week ago against OKC.
Louisville City at Richmond Kickers (Saturday, 5 p.m. ET)
Louisville City comes into City Stadium in Richmond looking for its second consecutive victory on the road. The Kentucky team went to Florida and beat Orlando City B last week. The Kickers won their home opener against Harrisburg, but couldn’t get past defending champion Red Bulls II in their first road contest of 2017.
Seattle Sounders 2 at Vancouver Whitecaps 2 (Saturday, 6 p.m. ET)
Sounders 2 are looking for their second win in a row over a Cascadia foe after defeating Timbers 2 on Monday. Saturday’s clash is part of a difficult April that also pits Sounders 2 against Galaxy II and Real Monarchs. A win at home would be welcome by Whitecaps 2 after earning one point from two road matches. They will play two Cascadia games in row, with Timbers 2 on deck next week.
Pittsburgh Riverhounds at Charleston Battery (Saturday, 7 p.m. ET)
The Battery are one of the hottest teams early on in the USL campaign, with two goals in each of their two wins. Charleston is one of six perfect teams remaining in the league. Pittsburgh’s wild home draw on March 25 with Red Bulls II is their only point of the year so far. Knocking off a fellow storied USL team on the road will be a tough task for the Riverhounds.
Charlotte Independence at Orlando City B (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET)
This appears to be Orlando City B’s game for the taking if everything goes right at Orlando City Stadium. The Lions finally got into the win column in their third game on Tuesday with a win over TFC II. Charlotte is one of six teams still looking for its first point. All three teams in the East with zero points have played one game.
Ottawa Fury at Tampa Bay Rowdies (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET)
Ottawa’s three-game road trip to start the season continues at Al Lang Stadium losing a five-goal thrilled to Saint Louis FC last week. The Rowdies have been arguably the best team in USL so far, with five goals and six points from two matches.
Rio Grande Valley FC at OKC Energy (Saturday, 8 p.m. ET)
Both Southwestern teams are trying to get their season off the ground on Saturday at Taft Stadium. The Energy earned their first point of the year against Colorado Springs, and they’ll be looking to use the start of this two-game homestand as a spark to a slow start. Rio Grande Valley has dropped a pair of 1-0 results to start the season. They are in danger of dropping further down the West table with a third loss.
Sacramento Republic at Tulsa Roughnecks (Saturday, 8 p.m. ET)
Sacramento made a statement in Week 1 with a road win in Seattle, and it’ll try to pull off a second road win during a long trip to Oklahoma. The Roughnecks used a Joey Calistri goal to take down Rio Grande Valley last week in the second game of their three-match homestand to start the year. A win would be a nice boost ahead of a two-game road swing.
New York Red Bulls II at Saint Louis FC (Saturday, 8:30 p.m. ET)
The fourth versus fifth clash in the Eastern Conference on Saturday in what has been the center of the MLS expansion universe this week should be one of the top games of the weekend. Red Bulls II dropped unexpected points at home to Harrisburg last week, but a tough trip out to St. Louis might not be the perfect cure for the defending champions. After a scoreless draw in Week 1, Saint Louis exploded for three goals against Ottawa.
Orange County SC at Portland Timbers 2 (Saturday, 10:00 p.m. ET)
Portland is looking to avoid the dubious fate of losing its first four games in 2017. The Timbers 2 need a win in the worst way, but Orange County can say the same after its 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Sacramento. Saturday marks the start of a huge stretch for OC, as it has back-to-back clashes with Galaxy II after the Portland trip.
LA Galaxy II at Phoenix Rising FC (Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ET)
Phoenix sits dead last in the West after being shut out in its first two games. There’s a chance that could happen again on Saturday at home versus Galaxy II. The Galaxy II opened strong with a 2-0 win over Vancouver, but fell 3-0 at the hands of San Antonio a week ago.
FC Cincinnati at Bethlehem Steel (Sunday, 4 p.m. ET)
FC Cincinnati won its first road game in Pennsylvania a week ago in Pittsburgh, and it will look for a second against Steel in Sunday’s lone matchup. Steel started the season with a 3-2 shootout loss to Rochester last week. A win would boost Bethlehem out of the East basement.