Forward Madison FC will look to extend its unbeaten run to six games across all competitions when it hosts South Georgia Tormenta FC on Saturday. | Photo courtesy Forward Madison FC
After four League One teams featured in the Second Round Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in midweek, there could be plenty of repercussions as we transition back to league play. Here are five things to watch for over the weekend.
FLAMINGOS FLYING HIGH: Forward Madison FC was the big winner of this week’s Open Cup action as it put on a clinical display to eliminate Championship club El Paso Locomotive FC with a 3-0 road victory at Southwest University Park. The win extended Madison’s unbeaten run to five games across all competitions and results elsewhere ensured that the Wisconsin club would be the only League One representative in the Third Round. The Flamingos will look to keep that momentum going when they host a well-rested South Georgia Tormenta FC in a top-four clash at Breese Stevens Field.
ROAD REPEATS ON DECK?: This weekend’s slate offers up two rematches from earlier this season as the Richmond Kickers travel to Greenville Triumph SC and Toronto FC II visits Orlando City B. In the first go-around, both road teams earned shutout victories as the Kickers edged Triumph SC 1-0 at Legacy Early College and TFC II earned a 2-0 season-opening win over OCB at Monteverde Academy. Can the road teams recreate those results or will the home teams step up and defend their own turf? We’ll soon find out.
GALLANT GALLARDO: If the Kickers are going to respond to Wednesday night’s 4-1 Open Cup defeat to North Carolina FC against Triumph SC, they’ll do well with another strong performance from Joe Gallardo. The 21-year-old forward notched the game-winner in the 83rd minute of Richmond’s last league outing against FC Tucson and with that tally moved into a tie for the league-lead in goals with North Texas SC’s Ricardo Pepi with four goals. If Gallardo can find himself on the scoresheet against Greenville – which is also looking to bounce back after a heartbreaking 2-1 Open Cup defeat to the Charleston Battery – then Richmond has a good shot of getting a fourth league win in five tries.
Kickers forward Joe Gallardo celebrates his game-winning goal in Richmond's eventual 2-0 victory over FC Tucson. | Photo courtesy Jessica Stone Hendricks / Richmond Kickers
GOING STREAKING: North Texas SC has started inaugural League One season with five consecutive victories and has shown no signs of slowing down, even with leading scorer Ricardo Pepi missing time to participate in the Concacaf U-17 Championship. Head Coach Eric Quill’s side will be happy to get its main man back shortly but are focused on picking up a sixth straight win on Saturday in Lansing. Ignite FC came up short against Championship side Indy Eleven in the Open Cup on Wednesday night and will have to bounce back quickly with the well-rested table toppers coming to town.
END OF THE ROAD: After picking up points in the first three games of its season-opening six-game road trip, Toronto FC II has lost its last two outings and conceded three goals in both of those contests. With its home opener against FC Tucson next Friday night now within touching distance, TFC II Head Coach Michael Rabasca will want his squad to gather some momentum with a good performance and ideally three points from Friday night’s trip to Orlando City B. Getting organized defensively against an Orlando side that has scored just four goals in its opening seven contests would be a start.