Week 13 Preview: what you need to know
Some important matchups coming
These Tuesday night games are weird; can’t get to used to them at all. Anyway, once again, the USL weekly slate is already under way, and it was a doozy. The Tampa Bay Rowdies did what they haven’t done in over three years: lose two straight games. Tuesday evening in front of a home crowd they got beat by Hartford Athletic 1-0. Hartford have rapidly become anything but a pushover, and are now third in the Atlantic, trailing Tampa and Pittsburgh but with games in hand.
What’s also weird is that the Legion doesn’t have a game this week, and not due to weather. Originally scheduled to play at Sporting Kansas City II this Sunday, that game was moved to September 1st as a result of Children’s Mercy Park being selected for CONCACAF Gold Cup games. The game actually being played there that day will be the US v. Canada (4:00pm).
So the Three Sparks get a two-week break before heading to Indianapolis and can watch the rest of the Central Division battle it out. The fight card opens tonight when Louisville City host OKC Energy (6:30pm). Lou City are smarting from a 3-2 loss at FC Tulsa whereas OKC have earned 10 points from their last 4 games and are undergoing a resurgence of sorts. Still, an OKC win seems unlikely, but any points will prevent Louisville from jumping the Legion in the standings. Lou City remain home for the weekend with the now struggling Atlanta United 2 in town (Saturday, 6:30pm). Atlanta have just 2 points from their last five games. That’s partly due to their parent MLS club being down numerous players with international duty and injuries. The MLS team lost two more players last weekend (Mo Adams and Alex de John), so it’s only going to get worse for that entire organization for a while. They at least got a red card overturned this week.
Also on Saturday Indy Eleven play Memphis 901 (6:00pm). It breaks my heart to day this but Legion fans should be looking for an Area Code win as that will help in the standings. OKC get their second road game of the week in the next instalment of the Black Gold Derby (Saturday, 7:00pm). A Tulsa win would put them even on points with the Legion.
Of the remaining league schedule, probably the best game to check out will be The Miami FC v. Tampa Bay (Saturday, 6:30pm). Can Miami make it three losses in a row for Tampa? If so, the top four in the Atlantic Division could be separated by just 1 point (if Pittsburgh also beats Loudoun and Hartford beats Charleston, both of which seem likely.
Lastly, you may want to keep an eye on the Las Vegas Lights. Largely thought to be a disaster in the making, Vegas has quietly climbed into playoff position and has two games this week: tonight v. Sacramento Republic (9:30pm) and Saturday at El Paso (8:30pm). Sac Rep are having a tough season, but El Paso is working its way to becoming a Championship power. Both could be entertaining.