USL Championship Final Preview: what you need to know
For all the marbles
And so it comes down to this. Ultimately, both conferences ended according to seed and the USL Cup will be decided in San Antonio with Louisville City as the visiting team. Kickoff is at 7:30pm this Sunday, and the game will be aired on ESPN2 (and ESPN Deportes if you are so inclined).
The two squads got to the final in rather different ways. San Antonio strolled through its 2 games, beating Oakland Roots 3-0 and the Colorado Springs Switchbacks 2-0 in routine but decisive fashion. Lou City on the other hand have looked less than authoritative. First they down 2 goals against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds before tying it up and winning the eventual shootout 5-3. They then beat the Tampa Bay Rowdies 1-0 in extra time in a dull game that was made entertaining primarily by the ejection of Corben Bone.
So Louisville enters this game as a fairly obvious underdog, worsened by the absence of the aforementioned Bone, who has been a stalwart at left mid. San Antonio will at full strength and in no mood not to finish the season in winning form at home. That being said, this will be a game between a team that does not seem to have exercised much control in the playoffs and a team that actively eschews controlling the ball. Finals in any sport are of necessity relatively cagey affairs; this one will likely be that in spades.
Thus, the game could be pretty boring, especially from a neutral’s point of view. I expect one of two things will happen. Either San Antonio goes up early and parks the bus (which they do extremely well), or the game remains very close until late, at which point either team could eke out a win. All told, I don’t see San Antonio losing this one and Louisville City does not return to its glory year of 2018.
Back in the Old Country
Our apologies; we completely missed that the Blues had a game last Saturday against Stoke City. They won that game 2-1, and followed it up with a 2-2 home draw against Swansea. That’s 2 solid results and Birmingham City is now up to 10th in the table and just 3 points out of the promotion playoff spots. The next game is tomorrow (2:00pm, ESPN+) against Sunderland, who are 17th. After that the Blues have a long break until December 10th, on account of a certain major international competition going on.