Week 13 Preview: all you need to know

Time to rob the castle


Eleven games on the slate this weekend and a fair amount of potential entertainment.

The most important part

The Legion heads west again this week, to Texas this time to face El Paso Locomotive (Saturday, 8:00pm, ESPN+).

Three weeks ago, El Paso Locomotive was 0-7-2 and looking absolutely miserable. The last three games they have gone 2-1-0, so have gone to just plain miserable. They remain dead last in the West and just 1 point better than The™ Miami FC in the East. But last week’s win does give some pause for thought. They managed to upend the previously unbeaten Charleston Battery 2-1.

Hang on a second: the Battery’s Chris Allan gave them a leg up by getting two yellow cards in the last three minutes of the first half. Even without that, Charleston outshot El Paso 24-10 and had a ton of chances to win. The Locomotive were, basically, pretty lucky to win.

The other win, three weeks back now, was 2-0 over Loudoun United. Loudoun have been somewhat erratic this season, but are just a point back of the Legion, albeit on one additional game. Not too bad a result in fact.

The Locomotive has one big scoring threat: left winger Amando Moreno, who has 5 of their ten goals this season and both goals against Charleston last week. He came in from New Mexico United this season. No one else has more than one goal, although forwards Justin Dhillon and Tumi Moshobane should not be ignored.

In goal is Jahmali Waite. Waite was with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds the past two seasons and is a very solid keeper. He’s allowed 16 goals in 11 games, but that is largely not his fault. He had a masterful game against the Battery in fact.

Otherwise El Paso is rather short on name players, although they do have former Legionary Bolu Akinyode who joined them this year from Miami.

Prediction: The Legion defense has ratcheted up its game the last few weeks and should be extremely difficult for El Paso to penetrate. Scoring remains an issue of course, but id the Three Sparks can continue to shoot as much as they have and keep up a strong high press, there is every reason to expect 3 points from this tilt.

The other most important part

Fresh off their first win against in-state rivals Dothan United (1-0) Legion 2 play again this evening against Southern Soccer Academy (Marietta, GA). The game is scheduled for 8:00pm at Spain Park High School, but that appears somewhat subject to change after the last game. SSA has one point from 3 games so far, a 0-0 draw with Dothan. Since then they played home and away against Asheville City, getting outscored 9-1.

They play again Thursday (6:00pm, also Spain Park) against the very same Asheville City. In addition to the SSA games, Asheville beat Athens United 4-0 away and are sitting pretty atop the South Central division. Legion 2, you may recall, drew 1-1 with Athens. On 5 points, Legion 2 trails Asheville City ( points) and Dothan United (7 points), although they are also listed behind East Atlanta on 4 points as League Two ranks by points per game.

The other other most important part

By the time most of you read this, Legion WFC will likely have started their weekend, also against SSA (4:00pm, Spain Park). SSA’s ladies are doing a bit better than the gentlemen, but not by much, with 4 points from 4 games. Their only win was a 5-0 affair against Athens United, who have lost all 5 of their games to date with a goal difference of -28 (their only goal was scored against Legion WFC though).

WFC plays again Wednesday (7:00pm, Spain Park) against Chattanooga Red Wolves. They have 5 points from 5 games, a pretty mixed bag of results. Wit these games WFC has a decent chance of improving its 3rd place; they are on 6 points behind Asheville City (12 points) and Tennessee SC (9 points).

Best of the rest

With the Legion game smack in the middle of Saturday evening and no afternoon games on the schedule, most games are going to overlap it to some degree. By and large these will be replay options:

Hartford Athletic v. Rhode Island (6:00pm, ESPN+)

OK, so this is 10 v. 11 in the East and on that basis not very attractive. However, it is the first-ever northeastern derby game and both teams will likely be up for it. Thus it has some potential.

Pittsburgh Riverhounds v. Indy Eleven (6:00pm, ESPN+)

Indy Eleven is next up on the Legion schedule and is currently the hottest team in the league, having won every game played in May. Pittsburgh is still struggling to find its form this season. Odds favor the visitors, so this one will be useful mostly for oppo research.

San Antonio v. Memphis 901 (8:00pm, ESPN+)

San Antonio continues to underwhelm this year and is currently a lowly 8th in the West. Area Code FC, in contrast, has shaken off a terrible start and has climbed up to a lofty 4th. A comeuppance is due.

Sacramento Republic v. Tampa Bay Rowdies (9:00pm, ESPN+)

Easily the best matchup of the weekend. However, the game will be without SacRep’s Russell Cicerone and Rodrigo Lopez and Tampa’s Forrest Lasso, all of whom have incurred long-term injuries. Sacramento will also be short Juan Sebastian Herrera, courtesy of Jake Rufe…

Monterey Bay Union v. New Mexico United (Sunday, 6:00pm, CBS Sports Golazo)

The Union were socked with the toughest week possible: they played the East leaders Charleston Battery on Wednesday (it ended a 0-0 draw) only to have to turn around and play the West leaders this weekend. Monterey is in 3rd though and cannot be considered an easy out. A good one to finish the weekend.

Back in the Old Country

A rare sport of good news for Birmingham City: the U-18 team won the Professional Development League national title in their age group this week, beating Charlton Athletic 3-2. Hope for the future.

As for the senior team, well, the manager decision remains up in the air.

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