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What to Watch Across the USL: Week 18

By Emile Guzman, 08/19/21, 12:30PM PDT

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Second half continues with another week of great matchups across the league

Almost all divisions in USL are seeing a tight race as the league enters the second half of the season. This week, movement in the standings is sure to continue in every division, including one that could see a new first place team this weekend.

Pacific Division Update

This week’s matchups in the Pacific Division remain crucial to the playoff race. Results from both Saturday and Wednesday caused some shuffling in the standings, with more movement likely to come this weekend.

Sacramento, who will look to claim points in their seventh straight against Phoenix this week, climbed to fifth on Saturday after coming back to beat Las Vegas 2-1. Tacoma took both of their contests leading up to this weekend, propelling them into a second place tie with San Diego, who put down Las Vegas 5-1.

Coupled with a hot stretch from Tacoma, a recent slide for Orange County has dropped the SoCal club to fourth in the division table.

El Paso Locomotive FC vs. Rio Grande Valley Toros FC

While El Paso sits comfortably ahead of the Toros in the Mountain Division, this week’s matchup between in-state rivals holds plenty of meaning for both squads.

Despite drawing with New Mexico United last week in a highly contentious matchup that saw them finish with ten men, El Paso remains hot. The club has momentum on their side, securing the draw with New Mexico at death’s doorstep following a corner kick in the 96th minute. They have won seven of their last nine, including a stretch of four in a row from July 28 to August 7.

Rio Grande Valley will look to knock off the Mountain Division leaders, who haven’t lost since June. The Toros will come into the contest with some confidence despite having claimed just one point in their last three matches, as they took down El Paso in the two club’s last meeting on June 30.

Birmingham Legion FC vs. FC Tulsa

Saturday’s meeting between Central Division foes will be the third this season.

Tulsa won the most recent derby between the two clubs, taking down Birmingham 3-1. Looking to get back into playoff position, they’ll need to turn things around as they have lost five of their last six matches.

Birmingham stands as a formidable foe for Tulsa- they’ve posted five clean sheets on the season and are led on the offensive end by forward Neco Brett, who is currently tied for second in the league in scoring.They enter the week coming off a draw with 7th place Memphis, who sit just one point behind Tulsa.

The Miami FC vs. Hartford Athletic

Having grappled for position all season, the two East Coast clubs meet for the finaltime this weekend.

Hartford Athletic will look to pull closer to the Atlantic’s top three and secure their third victory over Miami this season. Their high-flying offense ranks fifth in goals scored and first in conversion percentage this season and matches up well with Miami, who has recorded just two clean sheets all year. 

Sunday’s matchup is big for Miami, who could find themselves in a tie for first place in the Atlantic Division with a win. They have claimed points in every match since the start of August, scoring seven times en route to two wins and two draws.

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