The USL weekend comes a day early in Southern California this week, as one of the two local teams is in action on Friday night. LA Galaxy II host 2016 USL Cup finalist Swope Park Rangers, while Orange County SC will wait until Saturday to welcome Portland Timbers 2 in the teams’ second meeting of the season.
Galaxy II enter Friday’s clash looking to pick up points in the Western Conference, as they’ve played decent in recent weeks but haven’t picked up many results to show for it. Swope Park are doing much better this season in the standings, largely continuing where they left off last season, even if they aren’t among the elite teams in the West at this point in the season. One fact that may or may not benefit LA: Swope Park Rangers won their last road game, last weekend in Tulsa, but it was just their first road win of the season. Could that be the start of better form away from home for the visitors, or was that game more of a blip?
Working against Los Dos is that they haven’t won a road game since the season opener way back in March. Anyone who has watched this Galaxy II team knows it’s mostly been newcomers being blooded in who are featuring this season, and that inexperience will catch up with the side at times as a result. But they do seem to be on the cusp of figuring things out every few weeks. Will they put it together on Friday against SPR? Stay tuned.
In the other local game of the weekend, Orange County SC welcome Timbers 2 to town. The teams have played once this season, with OCSC beating T2 2-1 in Portland in April.
Put simply, T2 have by far the worst record in the Western Conference, with just one win and one draw in 15 games played. Unlike Los Dos, they have several players held over from last season’s team that are seeing significant playing time, and in a lot of their losses, bad luck or a single breakdown led to the result. But with 13 losses out of 15, the tide of being bad may have just swallowed Timbers 2 whole at the midpoint in the season.
So, on paper this should be an easy three points for Orange County, and getting another win here could help them overcome the topsy-turvy play that almost cost them a victory last week against Seattle. But we all know this is soccer — sometimes looking at the match-ups “on paper” is useless and the underdog springs the surprise. Orange County will definitely be favorites here, but Portland’s only win of the season came on the road against a good Sacramento Republic side, so Logan Pause’s players won’t be able to rest on their laurels to ensure a win here.
LA Galaxy II vs. Swope Park Rangers is scheduled to kick off at 7:30 pm PT on Friday at StubHub Center Track & Field Stadium. Tickets are available on the Galaxy’s website or you can watch the stream.