Week 10 Preview: what you need to know
A break in the action
Update: The San Diego-Colorado Springs game is postponed due to COVID in the Switchbacks camp.
This is going to be a relatively brief preview…
The most important part
Well, let’s see. The Legion are out of the Open Cup and don’t play again in the league until Wednesday May 18th. The Squadron season is long over. The Barons are in Biloxi this week. The Birmingham Stallions play the Philadelphia Stars, but at the rather ridiculous time of 11:00am Sunday. Sorry folks, you’re not going to get out of doing the yardwork quite so easily this weekend.
Yes, I know the Round of 32 started last night and yes I know that the most interesting game (for too many reasons) was Detroit City v. Louisville City yesterday. But hey, I’m in California right now doing other stuff.
Know also that Inter Miami defeated Tormenta 3-1 yesterday in a game that ended 10v10, so the team that knocked us out is now also out.
As for tonight’s games, two of them should be of interest to Championship fans. First there is Houston Dynamo v. San Antonio (7:30pm) and later the all USLC battle, Sacramento Republic v. Phoenix Rising (9:30pm). With Lou City knocking off Detroit in penalties, there will be a maximum of 3 Championship teams in the next round.
Oh, and for the record: the Northern Guard are a bunch of petulant children.
Best of the rest
There is a full slate of league games this weekend, starting Friday night. Lou City got a rough draw. After playing 120 minutes plus PKs last night in Michigan, they have to travel to LA to play Los Dos (9:30pm). The Kentuckians are one of only two teams undefeated in their last 5 (the other is Indy Eleven), so maintaining that with a fair degree of fatigue will be challenging. The other Friday game is Orange County v. FC Tulsa (9:00pm). OC could do the Legion some favors by beating Tulsa, who are ahead of the Three Sparks on tiebreakers, but the champions have been struggling this year.
On to Saturday: Pittsburgh Riverhounds v. El Paso Locomotive (6:00pm) could be a much more interesting game than it might have been a few weeks ago. EL Paso have rebounded from an atrocious start and are now 7th in the West and on a 3-game win streak. Talking of win streaks, the best in the league right is 4 games, held by Indy Eleven who have likewise recovered from a tough start. They play at Memphis 901 (7:00pm) in a matchup of 4th and 5th in the East.
Later that evening the masochistically inclined among you will revel in Monterey Bay v. Rio Grande Valley (9:00pm). To be fair, the Union are coming off their first ever win in their long-awaited home debut, but even so, the two teams combine for a record of 3-7-0 over their last five games each. That game also runs head-to-head with probably the best game of the day, San Diego Loyal v. Colorado Springs Switchbacks.
There is only game Sunday, and one that probably looked pretty tasty pre-season. Phoenix host the Tampa Bay Rowdies (8:00pm). Phoenix are 4th in the West and the Rowdies are clinging to a playoff spot at 7th in the East. Both look like they are underperforming.
The Old Country
The Championship season is over in the UK (the Premier League isn’t quite done though). The Blues’ dismal year ended with a 1-2 loss to Blackburn and a 20th place finish. They would have finished 21st even if the Reading and Derby County points deductions had not occurred and so would have been safe from the drop. Reading also escaped relegation thanks to Derby’s massive 21-point assessment.
Now of course the off-season speculation begins in earnest. The biggest issue is who will own the club come the 2022-23 season? There are at the moment at least three interested buyers. Blues fans would almost unanimously be happy to see the current Hong Kong ownership group gone and so this is very good news.
Also up in the air is the status of manager Lee Bowyer. He remains the Birmingham City boss for now, but his tenure at the club is almost certainly over. Rumors had abounded that Rob Edwards, the manager of League Two champions Forest Green Rovers, was in talks for the job, but it now appears he has taken the manager position at relegated Premier League team Watford, much to the anger of Forest Green whose goodbye announcement is almost Michigan Stars quality.