A second meeting of the regular season between FC Tucson and South Georgia Tormenta FC highlights a busy weekend in League One. | Photo courtesy South Georgia Tormenta FC
With every team in action over the next two days, there could be some serious movement in the tightly-packed League One standings by the time Saturday night concludes. Here are five key talking points for Week 5 of the regular season.
FORWARD TO TRIUMPH: Getting not only the first goal but also the first victory in club history last Friday night was a big relief for Forward Madison FC, which now gets to return home for its inaugural home opener at Breese Stevens Field with some positive momentum as Greenville Triumph SC comes to visit. With all the positive energy the Flamingos have built since their brand was officially launched, there’s set to be a strong crowd on hand and it will be fascinating to see if the home side can use that energy to get out to a fast start against a Greenville side that fell in its last outing. If Josiel Núñez can have the same level of influence as he did against OCB, it should be a memorable night for Madison and its fans.
FAST FORWARD: After a bye last week, FC Tucson will get a chance to jumpstart a push to the top of the League One standings as it plays host to first-place South Georgia Tormenta FC and second-place Lansing Ignite FC over the next five days at the Kino Sports Complex. Friday night’s clash with Tormenta FC should be particularly interesting with it marking the second meeting between the two clubs this season. South Georgia rallied past Tucson after Devin Vega had given the visitors the lead first time around, but this time FCT should get to call on experienced defender Kyle Venter in the middle of its defense as he returns from a preseason injury. If he can help contain Tormenta FC’s Marco Micaletto and company, Tucson could be in line to pick up a little revenge.
BUILDING OFF DEFEAT: For their part, South Georgia will want to avoid the slow start that doomed it to its first defeat of the season against Chattanooga Red Wolves SC last Saturday night. If there was a silver lining to the result, though, it was in the resiliency that Tormenta FC showed on the road to mount a late comeback effort. South Georgia outshot its hosts 10-5 over the final half-hour of the game and tallied twice through Connor Antley and Christopher Hellmann. If it picks up where it left off in Chattanooga, it should be hopeful of taking something from the final game of its four-game road trip.
ALIVE AND KICKING: While last week provided a limited schedule, there might still have been some eyebrows raised at the Richmond Kickers ending Greenville Triumph SC’s bid for a perfect three-game home stand as Head Coach David Bulow’s side picked up its first win of the season on the road. Finding a way to replicate that sort of performance back on home turf is now imperative for Richmond, which welcomes Chattanooga Red Wolves SC to City Stadium on Saturday night. It might not be a game with a lot of shots – Chattanooga is only averaging eight un-blocked attempts per game, while Richmond is at seven – which means the side that takes its chances should come away with victory.
After picking up their first victory of the season on the road, the Richmond Kickers need a repeat performance at City Stadium on Saturday evening against Chattanooga Red Wolves SC. | Photo courtesy Jessica Stone Hendricks / Richmond Kickers
UNDEFEATED STREAKS: Only two teams have yet to suffer defeat this season, but the bigger test to an undefeated record will come on Friday night when Toronto FC II (1-0-1) heads to face second-place Lansing Ignite FC, which is looking to build off a victory in its home opener two weeks ago. Ignite FC has produced the best chance conversion rate in League One so far at 28 percent, which helps account for the seven goals that have it tied for the league lead. The other remaining undefeated – and only side with a perfect record through two games – is North Texas SC, which will host Orlando City B on Saturday evening at Toyota Stadium looking to make it three wins from three. With this game potentially the last for Ricardo Pepi before he links up with the U.S. U-17 squad for the Concacaf U-17 Championship, League One’s leading scorer could be looking to depart on a strong note.