Week 5 Preview: what you need to know
Some big games this this week
So it turns out Fiesta is a big thing in San Antonio. It’s an annual party held in April every year (it wasn’t held last year and is delayed until June this year) to celebrate not only the Alamo, but also the Battle of San Jacinto in April 1836 when Texas gained freedom from Mexico. It includes a Battle of Flowers. That means lots of bright colors. Since 1989 the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs have incorporated those into a Fiesta kit. The colors? Teal, pink and orange on a black background. So the soccer team is following suit and tomorrow will use their own similarly-colored “Viva” kit on the field for the first time. If nothing else, their game plan apparently involves either blinding the Legion players or seriously offending their sense of haute couture.
That aside, it’s probably going to be a good game. Expect lots of attacking football from both teams, who both like to press. Both have 1-1-1 records to date, and need a spark to really get going. On the other hand, both teams have had injury problems already and will almost certainly not be at full strength. Birmingham’s bench is probably deeper than San Antonio’s, although the latter this week added striker Jordan Perruzza on loan from Toronto FC of MLS. Perruzza was also with SAFC last season, when he scored 3 goals in 5 games.
More details on the game can be found here .
Well, if you weren’t paying attention, you already missed two games in the Central Division this week. On Thursday Sporting Kansas City II made the trip to the City of Angels and got a 1-1 draw against the very erratic Los Dos. LA Galaxy II have 8 points so far, but they have also played 5 games already – 1 more than any other team. They a gaudy goal difference of 6, but that comes on the back of a 5-0 thumping of the atrocious Las Vegas Lights (who also happen to be the USL affiliate of LAFC). Speaking of 5-0 thumpings…FC Tulsa made their furthest trip east to Kennesaw, Georgia where they probably expected a cakewalk against Atlanta United 2. Instead they ended up on the wrong end of a 5-0 beatdown and also saw star defender Jorge Corrales sent off. Unfortunately, Tulsa have one more game before they visit Birmingham, so we won’t get the benefit of his suspension. Interestingly, the last time a Tulsa team visited Atlanta was July 24,1980 in the original NASL. The result? Tulsa won 5-0.
Both those Central teams play again this weekend – KC visit Indy on Saturday (6pm) and Atlanta host Memphis on Sunday (2:30pm). Rounding out the divisional schedule, Louisville welcome Landon Donovan’s San Diego Loyal on Saturday at 6:30pm. The Loyal are currently the worst team in the league with a 0-3-0 record. The only reason they are not last in the Pacific Division is because the Lights, who have played one less game, have a GD of -7 compared to their -6.
Outside the division, there are a few games that could turn out to be great entertainment value. First, the Tampa Bay Rowdies, fresh off a heady 2-1 win over Phoenix Rising, put their perfect record on the line in an all-Florida matchup against a much improved The Miami FC (Saturday, 6:30pm) – yeah, I had to use both indefinite and definite articles there. Next, the Rio Grande Valley Toros, who are even more improved, also defend a perfect start to their season at El Paso Locomotive (Saturday 8:30pm). And then there is the California battle between Orange County SC and Sacramento Republic (Saturday, 9pm).
Several of those games will conflict with the Legion game at 7:30pm Saturday evening, but then that’s what ESPN+ replays are for, right?
You can also get your weekend of USL soccer off to a (probably slowish) start this evening with two games at 8pm. The Colorado Springs Switchbacks get New Mexico United in the first ever game at the very nice Weidner Field. And why is this game not being dubbed the Mile High Derby? Also up, Real Monarchs – who technically are the reigning USL champions – play the Texas capital’s real team, Austin Bold FC.