We’re in for Round 2! Before talking about our game this weekend, I’d first like to mention predictions on the USL as a whole. In the West we have Swope Park Rangers vs. Orange County Blues (SPR 2-0), the other game is OKC Energy vs. Vancouver Whitecaps 2 (OKC in PKs). Final for Western Conference will be OKC vs SPR (SPR 1-0).
In the East we have New York Baby Bulls vs. Rochester Rhinos. This game is one that is going to be hard to predict for me. The legendary defense of Rochester vs. the high octane offense of NYRB2 in an all-out war for supremacy. Who will win? Rochester ran away with the regular season last year and won the USL championship. The Red Bulls II have won the regular season title and look to add to the trophy room. I have Red Bulls 1-0 in this game as I think a fast paced offense such as New York’s will be too much for Rochester. Finally, we have the game this Saturday at Slugger Field as Louisville City FC takes on Charleston Battery (4x winners of the USL). So Lets dive into the keys to the game:
Keys for Charleston Battery:
Coming off a stunning win against FCC at FCC’s Nippert Stadium, Charleston will look to continue that run of good form into the game against LCFC. Charleston has won the USL four times and has built a strong team every year they have played in the USL, never missing the playoffs. However, they have lost to LCFC on several occasions. It won’t be easy for them playing their second away game on their pursuit for number five.
The first key for the Battery is to control the midfield. Charleston did this well against FCC and were able to hold off the Cincy attack to get a late winner after the hour mark.
The second key will be to limit the attacking options for LCFC. The Battery limited Sean Okoli to just one shot on goal, and FCC as a whole to just four for the match. FCC started that match hot but quickly faded as they began to lose the possession in the midfield. The equaling goal was the stab and the rest of the game FCC looked lost trying to find an answer. This is what Charleston does to every team come playoff time, they a great at it.
The final key is play their game. If Charleston limits the touches in the attacking third for LCFC like they did against FCC, they will go on to win.
Keys for Louisville City:
The first key will be to put the Battery away in 90 minutes rather than go to overtime.
The second key is to continue to press the attack. City had 12 shots on goal against Richmond, which is more than any other team in the USL playoffs so far. Also 33 shots total is 13 more than the Baby Bulls who easily handled OCB2.
The final key is really more for the fans. Make Slugger hostile. The scariest thing for an opponent is going into a game knowing how intense the environment will be. We need to make Slugger Field a fortress and scare the pants off the other team. I want Slugger to be as loud as Louder than Life Festival! COME ON COOPERS LETS HEAR WHAT YOU GOT!!!
Prediction: 1-1 Regular time, 2-1 LCFC AET.
This game should go into overtime if my prediction plays out. Playoff games are the worst to predict because teams can come in and just destroy the better team. Soccer is unpredictable compared to other sports. I see LCFC pulling this out. Purple Army…Start a Riot! (a nice riot with baked goods sales and lemonade stands) But really make Slugger a feared stadium to play in for the opposite teams!