USL Week 11 Preview

San Antonio FC (SAFC) vs. Swope Park Rangers

Toyota Field, San Antonio-7:30 p.m., Saturday, June 3, 2017

Record and Standings:

Swope Park Rangers:  4-4-0-12 points (Tied for Eighth in Western Conference) Away: 0-3-0

San Antonio FC:  9-0-2-29 points (First in Western Conference)  Home:  4-0-2

  • Swope Park heads to San Antonio to play SAFC in the second half of the mid-season back-to-back games between the two sides.  SAFC won in Kansas City 1-0 last weekend, despite having only 23% of the possession on the night.  SAFC will be smarting from the loss in the Open Cup to Tulsa last Wednesday and will look to continue their streak of being the only remaining undefeated professional soccer team in North America.  Swope Park will certainly be more rested than the home side, because the team didn’t have an Open Cup match.   MLS owned USL teams are disqualified from this competition.
  • San Antonio now has five straight shutouts (464 minutes).  One potential complicating factor to maintaining this streak is that SAFC starting center defenders Sebastian Ibeagha and Stephen McCarthy will be suspended if they pick up another yellow card.  Both USL and MLS have a policy that results in a one-game suspension if a player earns five yellow cards in a certain period of time.  Ibeagha and McCarthy are currently on four.
  • According to the Sporting Kansas City website, the Rangers will be missing several key players. Mark Anthony Gonzalez, the team’s 2016 Offensive Player of the Year, and Sporting KC loanee Colton Storm are sidelined due to injury.  In addition, on-loan defender Erik Palmer-Brown is away at the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup and Kevin Oliveira is in Portugal for a training camp with the Cape Verde National Team.  SAFC will be missing players too, but good luck having the team tell us who is injured and how long they will be out.
  • Sporting Kansas City announced on Wednesday it had signed 2016 USL All-League defender Amer Didic to an MLS contract.  Didic is the third player from the Rangers to sign with SKC following Adrian Zendejas and Tyler Pasher.  Given the talent on the SKC side, all three are likely to still primarily feature in USL for the remainder of the season.

Sacramento Republic FC vs. Rio Grande Valley FC Toros (RGV FC)

Papa Murphy’s Park, Sacramento, CA-10:00 p.m. CDT, Saturday, June 3, 2017

Record and Standings:

Sacramento Republic:  4-5-2-14 points (Tied for Fourth place in the Western Conference) Home: 2-1-0

Rio Grande Valley FC:  4-3-1-13 points (Seventh place in the Western Conference) Away: 1-1

  • Sacramento Republic, after beating Reno 1868 2-0 on Wednesday night to advance to the Fourth Round of the U.S. Open Cup, returns to league action this weekend against Rio Grande Valley FC. Though Sacramento has played three more games than RGV FC, this will only be the fourth home game of the season for the Republic. The Toros on the other hand will only be playing their third away game.  These schedule aberrations are why it makes little sense to pay attention to the standings this early in the year in USL.
  • The Toros, who have not played since May 20, should benefit from the extra rest, but Sacramento head coach Paul Buckle was fairly giddy after Wednesday’s victory:

“We’re on a run,“ said Republic FC Head Coach and Technical Director Paul Buckle. “We moved the ball well and we snuffed out everything they had. I thought it was a totally complete performance.

  • The Toros now enter a busy stretch of games.  After the game in Sacramento, RGV FC heads to Reno to play the suddenly resurgent (at least in regular season play) 1868 squad.  After that game the team return to the Valley on June 10 to play Sounders 2, the third match in 8 days.
  • With the goal defender Kai Greene scored in the draw with LA Galaxy 2 two weeks ago, he becomes the eighth Toro to score this year.  Only Dynamo reserve Memo Rodriquez, who played one game on loan at RGV FC this year, has scored multiple goals for RGV FC this year.
  • The Monitor’s Sports Editor Greg Luca (@GregLuca)  published an informative piece on Kai Greene and his charity work recently.  Greene is a very good defender with a lot of upside in a position (right back) lacking a deep pool of talent in MLS. According to the article, he hopes to be in MLS this year and eventually play for the U.S. National Team.  He certainly doesn’t lack confidence:

“I feel like I’m the best one-on-one defender in the league, to be honest,” Greene said. “Individually, I feel like I’ll take myself 10 times out of 10 against any winger that comes at me, or any forward that comes at me.”

Here is a link to the full article:

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