Week 10 Preview: what you need to know

There can be only one

Well, the Legion’s tough stretch of 4 games in 12 days came to an early end thanks to Claudette. Don’t hold your breath, though (although that was pretty much what the players had to do Saturday evening); the weather forecast for Miami this evening is scattered thunderstorms. Just great.

By the way, if you’re wondering why the game was not completed on Sunday (as happened back in 2019 when the Legion played in Louisville on a Sunday morning after a Saturday evening cancellation), it’s because Week 10 in the USL Championship has already started. The Austin Bold had a home game Tuesday night against the Colorado Springs Switchbacks and two games in three days is just not done. They lost that game 2-3, in fact, and the Switchbacks jumped the Bold and San Antonio into the playoff spots in the Mountain Division standings.

Also, USL rules dictate that if a game is suspended before 70 minutes of game time have elapsed or the score is less than a 3-goal margin, the game has to be played from the beginning. So Neco’s goal won’t count, which to be honest is only fair as the game should never even have started in the first place.

And so we move on the tonight’s game with the Legion just out of first place thanks to Louisville holding the edge on the second tiebreaker. In the USL (and in MLS) the first tiebreaker is wins, not goal difference as is the case almost everywhere else in the world of soccer. GD is the second tiebreaker. Let’s face it, that not only makes sense but is also deeply ingrained in the American sports psyche. “Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing” is a very American sentiment.

Well, tonight hopefully tiebreakers become irrelevant. The Three Sparks kick off at 7:00pm (ESPN+, my68, or, if you really want to boost your footy cred, in Spanish on ESPN Deportes) against a shaky Miami team at Riccardo Silva Stadium. Although Silva is part-owner of The Miami FC, the stadium actually belongs to Florida International University. Silva merely got the naming rights with a large donation. That’s quite an ego boost. He’s also in large part responsible for the collapse of the NASL. Just sayin’.

And if you’re wondering about the lead photo, there’s a historical reason to get pumped up: Miami has the audacity to call itself the Magic City.

There is one other Central Division game this evening. OKC Energy are hosting Sporting Kansas City II (7:30pm) in a matchup of the 7th and 8th place teams in the division. That makes for a tough viewing choice. The big question in that one: will OKC’s winless streak end at 341 days?

Several other games are on tonight as well, and of those the most entertaining is likely to be the LA Galaxy II-Orange County SC tilt (9:00pm). Those two are the 3rd and 2nd place teams in the Pacific. Orange County can catch Phoenix Rising on points and wins (but would stay 2nd on that GD tiebreaker).

Moving on to Friday, FC Tulsa visit the Rio Grande Valley Toros (7:30pm). Tulsa are clinging to the final playoff spot in the Central despite losing 4 of their last 5. And that win was a 4-3 shootout against SKC II. They will hold on to that playoff spot even with a loss until possibly Sunday when Atlanta United 2 host OKC Energy (6:30pm).

The Legion are of this weekend, but fans have a lot of game-watching options. As regards the Central Division, Indy Eleven, fresh off a road win against SKC II under interim head coach Max Rogers, face a much tougher task as they visit Louisville City (6:30pm Saturday). The erratic Memphis 901 host SKC II (7:30pm Saturday) – how can a  team beat Atlanta United 2 with an emergency keeper and then lose to OKC? Those two last Memphis opponents then meet each other in Georgia (6:30pm Sunday).

The biggest game of the weekend though will be the Tampa Bay Rowdies at Hartford Athletic (6:00pm Saturday). Hartford are possibly the biggest surprise of the season so far. They have the second best PPG in the league right now at 2.17, far exceeding anyone’s expectations. The best PPG in the league, you ask? Well, that would be Tampa Bay at 2.25. This one could be a doozy.

Finally, we can’t forget that the Magic City Brigade will be hosting a game-watching party. They are back at the Little London. Meat pies all around.

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