Week 16 Preview: all you need to know

Another weekend off


The English club Sheffield Wednesday grew out of a 19th-century cricket club that played only on Wednesday afternoons as the members of the team had that afternoon off work. The soccer team was established to keep the players fit over the winter break, which seems counter-intuitive. The Legion is off again this weekend and next plays in Detroit this coming Wednesday. I posited a name change to Birmingham Wednesday given what’s been happening lately; our good friend Kaylor Hodges pointed out that the Legion also plays regularly on Sundays. So, Birmingham Any-day-but-Saturday it shall be from now on.

Talking of cricket, you may not be aware that the Twenty20 World Cup is currently under way and for the first time includes the US, as some of the opening round games were played here, the remainder being played in the West Indies, a cricket powerhouse. The US actually made it out of the opening round (partly as a result of a rainout in Broward, Florida!). That doesn’t mean they made it to the knockout stage; there’s a second group stage after the first one. Even cricket tournament rules are weird. The US lost its first second-round game against South Africa (on Wednesday of course) and plays again tonight at 7:30pm against the West Indies and then on Sunday (again of course) against England at 9:30am.

If you are interested in watching, games are available in the US on a PPV service called Willow TV1Willow is the wood cricket bats are traditionally made of. for $10 per month.

The most important part

So, nothing to preview for the Legion this week. There will be a double-game week coming up though next week with a rare Saturday home game against Louisville City following the game in Detroit.

The other most important part

Legion 2 remains at the bottom of the South Central division after an unsurprising 0-3 loss in Asheville. They too have this week off and don’t play again until next Saturday in Dothan.

The other other most important part

Legion WFC are still 6th in the South Central despite a 1-0 win over Greenville Liberty in the lead-up game to Wednesday’s game against San Antonio at Protective. They play Asheville City tomorrow (7:00pm, Spain Park High School) before finishing up the season against Tennessee SC next Wednesday (7:00pm, Spain Park High School) and on Saturday against Athens United (3:00pm, Protective Stadium in another lead-up game).

Best of the rest

Normally we would recommend a game involving the Legion’s next opponent, but like the Three Sparks Detroit City is idle this weekend. Which is somewhat absurd as Le Rouge has played just 12 games to date, fewer than any  other team and as much as three games fewer than some others. They currently have a 2-point advantage over the Legion with two games in hand, so a win Wednesday will be crucial. Other than that, here are our weekend picks (all selections are Saturday):

Monterey Bay Union v. Oakland Roots (5:00pm, ESPN2)

A rare game on ESPN2, this one involves the surging Roots who have climbed to 3rd in the West on the back of three straight wins. Monterey Bay has fallen off the pace a bit but remains a solid team. This all-California matchup has the potential to be very entertaining.

Louisville City v. Rhode Island (7:00pm, ESPN+)

This one looks like a total mismatch with Lou City running away with the league right now and Rhode Island struggling to even score. Still, the LEgion does have a home game looming against Louisville so some scouting is definitely on the cards. Can Khano Smith’s team soften them up a bit for us? We shall see.

New Mexico United v. Colorado Springs Switchbacks (8:00pm, ESPN+)

New Mexico has the thinnest of leads atop the West (but with at least a game in hand); Colorado Springs is on a 9-game unbeaten streak and is knocking on the door of a home playoff spot. This one is probably the game of the week. The Legion plays both teams next month, as it happens.

Phoenix Rising v. Charleston Battery (9:30pm, ESPN2)

Another ESPN2 game, and this one is the rematch of the 2023 Championship game. The Battery have been off their form lately, with just one goal scored and 2 points earned in the past four games. Phoenix hasn’t exactly been lighting it up either, and are 6th in the West, but bear in mind that the top 11 teams in the West are separated by just 9 points.

Back in the Old Country

Not a great deal going on for Birmingham City this week. However, if you want to keep up with all Blues news, this feed is useful.

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