The weekend is almost here, and that means USL regular season action is right around the corner. For the first time in three weeks, both Southern California teams are playing.
Orange County SC did have a U.S. Open Cup game about 10 days ago, but they’ve been on a three-week bye in league play. The result is that they’ve now played by far the fewest games in the league and sit second-bottom in the Western Conference, a whopping 26 points out of first place. There is a ton of ground to make up, and they’ll begin their quest on Saturday for their third home game of the season against Seattle Sounders 2. The teams haven’t played yet this year, and S2 are arguably having their best season so far of their three-year history. Sitting in fifth place in the Western Conference, the team has gone younger but also found a nucleus of talent and the results have been solid.
Orange County, meanwhile, are not only coming off a long bye but have lost three straight games in the league. Can they start the meat of their 2017 schedule with a win? Frankly the time away will likely be more of a hindrance, at least at first on Saturday, given the fact that the team already has had four byes and they’ve got so many games to make up on everybody else. Still, one expects Logan Pause has encouraged his group to refine their playing style and get back on track with the play on both sides of the ball that helped get them off to a good start this season. Hopefully they can pick up some points upon their return.
The other Southern California USL side, LA Galaxy II, is also in action this weekend, as they’ll host rivals Sacramento Republic FC on Sunday in the only game of the day. Galaxy II are of course coming off an impressive road win last weekend against Rio Grande Valley FC, but Republic also showed their might against RGVFC, crushing them at home 6-2 on Wednesday. So Sac Republic are traveling down on short rest, but I’m guessing a hat trick from Trevin Caesar and basically dominating all around in their last game will be a boost heading into the Galaxy II match.
Truthfully, both these teams have shown inconsistency this season, and Sacramento are well ahead of LA in the standings. But Galaxy II’s remarkably young squad has shown signs they are picking up the speed of the league and learning how to play together more and more each week, and a win over Republic would be a big statement that Los Dos has turned a corner. But first, they’ve got to prove it.
Orange County SC host Seattle Sounders 2 on Saturday at Orange County Great Park. Kickoff is scheduled for 5 pm PT. You can buy tickets at Orange County SC’s website or watch the game on USL’s matchcenter.
LA Galaxy II will welcome Sacramento Republic FC to StubHub Center Track and Field Stadium on Sunday. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 pm PT. Find tickets here or watch the stream on the USL matchcenter.