Sacramento Republic FC has had the upper hand in the majority of its matches against the LA Galaxy II, and Saturday will once again be a big test for both sides when they meet at Bonney Field.
Republic FC is an impressive 6-1-1 all-time against Los Dos, and both teams enter the weekend near the top of the Western Conference standings – Sacramento in second (tied atop in points with Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC) and the Galaxy II in fourth.
Elsewhere in the West, Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 and the Portland Timbers 2 square off for the second time in less than three weeks.
In the Eastern Conference, a number of clubs are trying to keep pace with the first-place Rochester Rhinos and the second-place Charleston Battery. One of the bigger matchups features the fourth-place Richmond Kickers, who hope to turn things around during a difficult road matchup against Saint Louis FC on Saturday at the World Wide Technology Soccer Park.
GAMES TO WATCH
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 vs. Portland Timbers 2
Friday, 10 p.m. ET, UBC Thunderbird Stadium
Sitting side by side in the West standings, T2 (6-8-2, 20 points) and WFC2 (5-8-4, 19 points) hope Friday’s matchup will provide the necessary momentum to make a postseason push. Vancouver has fared well in Cascadia matchups of late, recently earning a big 3-1 victory against Seattle Sounders FC 2 on July 4 and edging this Portland squad 3-2 on June 21. Offensively, WFC2 has improved significantly with eight goals in its past three matches, compared to 14 goals in its previous 16 games. WFC2 has also added to its roster, bringing in Will Seymore in the defense and midfield. The 23-year-old Seymore is a former selection by FC Dallas in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft. T2 is coming off a much-needed 3-1 victory against Arizona United on July 2. The Timbers 2 had been 1-4-0 in the five games preceding Arizona. (Preview; Youthful WFC2 Growing as Season Matures)
Saint Louis FC vs. Richmond Kickers
Saturday, 8:30 p.m. ET, World Wide Technology Soccer Park
Richmond started off the season with a seven-game unbeaten streak (4-0-3), but the club has fallen on hard times of late with a current five-match winless stretch. The Kickers are still in the upper half of the East standings, but they have plenty of company among the middle of the pack. That includes host Saint Louis, which is 4-5-6 (18 points) and surprisingly has had some troubles on the home front. Saint Louis is 1-4-3 in Fenton, Mo., with the lone win coming against Wilmington Hammerheads FC on May 9. This marks the first matchup between the two sides, and they will meet one more time on Aug. 22 at City Stadium. Saint Louis is coming off a dramatic 2-1 road victory against the Charlotte Independence, capped off by Kingsley Bryce’s 89th-minute winner and led by an eight-save performance from goalkeeper Alec Kann. Richmond, meanwhile, has been absent on the offensive side for four consecutive games, failing to score a goal in 316 consecutive minutes. The Kickers’ last goal was Samuel Asante’s 44th-minute equalizer during a 1-1 draw against the Charleston Battery on June 10. (Preview)
Sacramento Republic FC vs. LA Galaxy II
Saturday, 11 p.m. ET, Bonney Field
Defending champion Republic FC (9-6-3, 30 points) has held a one-sided advantage for much of its all-time series against Los Dos (9-5-2, 29 points), but the Galaxy II are in strong form at the moment with nine wins in their past 12 matches. Yet, Los Dos have earned only one win against Sacramento in the past two seasons. The game will mark Preki’s final match as Sacramento’s head coach. He announced earlier this week that he will be stepping down to take a coaching position in the UK. This will be Preki’s 50th game at the helm of Republic FC (he is 29-13-7 in regular season and postseason matches) before Paul Buckle takes the reigns as the club’s new head coach. Republic FC had a midweek match against Liga MX side Atlas FC, dropping a 4-1 decision despite holding the early lead on a Max Alvarez tally. In league play, Sacramento is in the midst of a five-game unbeaten streak (3-0-2), most recently involved in back-to-back road draws against the Austin Aztex and Real Monarchs SLC. Los Dos are coming off a 1-1 draw against OKC Energy FC on July 5, with an Andre Auras goal offsetting Danni Konig’s early score for OKC. Head to head, Sacramento is 3-0-0 against the Galaxy II this season, posting wins on March 28 (3-2), April 11 (3-1) and May 17 (1-0). (Video Preview)
NEWS AND NOTES
– Louisville City FC (7-3-5, 26 points), which hosts the Charlotte Independence (4-5-4, 16 points) on Saturday, has scored a combined nine goals in its previous two matches. City FC is coming off a 3-0 win against the Richmond Kickers on July 4, preceded by a 6-2 rout of OKC Energy FC on June 27. The Louisville-Richmond match drew a City FC record crowd of 8,254 at Slugger Field. Charlotte defeated Louisville 1-0 on May 2 in the first meeting between the two sides. (Preview)
– The New York Red Bulls II will finally enjoy a home match after a 3-2-1 performance during their six-game road trip, hosting the Harrisburg City Islanders on Sunday at Red Bull Arena. The two sides enter the weekend next to each other in the East standings as the Red Bulls II are above the playoff cutline at 6-6-4 (22 points) and Harrisburg is below that line in seventh at 5-5-4 (19 points). (Video Preview)
– On Sunday, Arizona United SC starts a heavy stretch of road games when it faces Seattle Sounders FC 2 at Starfire Stadium. Five of Arizona’s next six games are away from Scottsdale Stadium, which has been a wonderful haven for the squad of late. All three of United’s most recent wins came at home, and that success rate has pushed Arizona back above the playoff cutline heading into the weekend with a 7-7-1 mark (22 points). S2’s play at Starfire is well known this year as the club is 7-1-0 at home and has enjoyed several stretches atop the West because of that mark. (Video Preview)
– U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team midfielder Romain Gall joins the Austin Aztex, on loan from Columbus Crew SC. The 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship’s Golden Boot winner heads to an Austin squad that travels to Rio Tinto Stadium to face Real Monarchs SLC on Saturday.
– A number of other teams have made some roster additions late this week. The Charlotte Independence brought in striker Dominique Badji, who is on loan from the Colorado Rapids. Seattle has signed goalkeeper Tyler Miller. The Red Bulls II are awaiting the arrival of Jamaican midfielder Devon Chesterson Williams.
– The Rochester Rhinos face Toronto FC II on Saturday at the Ontario Soccer Centre. The Rhinos will look to increase their club-record unbeaten streak of 16 games as they sit atop the Eastern Conference at 10-0-6 (36 points).
– Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, which holds the league’s longest winning streak at six games, leads the West at 10-5-0 (30 points) and will square off against Tulsa Roughnecks FC on Saturday at ONEOK Field. Tulsa is coming off a 4-1 victory against Orange County Blues FC on Thursday.
HOW TO FOLLOW
Every game of the 2015 USL season can be seen live, free and in HD on YouTube (www.Youtube.com/USL), with updates from throughout the league also available via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.