The USL Championship season is less than a month away and teams are prepping with stiff competition from MLS opponents. While it is certainly not first squads meeting up, it is surprising how well USL sides have held up against some stiff first division competition with the Vegas Lights FC and Phoenix Rising with the more high-profile performances.
On top of this teams continue to sign players for MLS, other USL leagues and overseas
Vegas Shocks Toronto; Phoenix Holds Off KC
No result was more shocking over the past week than the 5-1 demolition that Eric Wynalda’s Las Vegas Lights FC handed to Toronto FC. Again, context is king and this was a preseason game. However, it shows that the talent in Vegas is up to the task of avenging an inaugural year that was marred with controversy and off-the-field foolery.
A packed house of 5,232 fans at Cashman Field watched as Laurent Ciman’s back pass to Alex Bono went array. Alex Harlley charged the ball and cause the chaos that left the net empty for the game’s opening goal. The floodgates opened from there with goals from Irvin Parra and Edwin Rivas to score, burying the MLS Clup.
It was the start of a new era for Vegas and one that they hope will be fruitful under US Soccer legend Wynalda: “We fall in love with these guys because they’re worth it. We knew that as a coaching staff coming in that our job is to put them in the spots to succeed. Let them showcase their talent. I think we saw a lot of that tonight.”
Another west coast team making some noise was Phoenix Rising FC as they gave Sporting KC more than they bargained for in a 3-2 loss. Kevon Lambert and Lamar Neagle scored for Phoenix but it wasn’t enough to earn a result. Still, head coach Rick Schantz has a lot of positives after taking his club to the USL Championship final last season.
Rowdies Bring in Norwich Youngster
The agreement between Norwich City and the Tampa Bay Rowdies appears to be paying off quickly as the team announced that they were bringing in young defender Caleb Richards. The move is the first of many that the club made this week, also acquiring Jordan Doherty from Sheffield and Jaime Siaj.
The team is under new ownership in 2019 and have overhauled their roster to be younger and more competitive after a disastrous 2018 campaign. Still, there are some familiar faces on the roster, including Kwadwo Poku, Leo Fernandes, Dominic Oduro and David Najem.
Louisville Add FC Cincinnati Keeper
Reigning USL champs Louisville City FC have added Ben Lundt on loan from the newly minted MLS Club FC Cincinnati. The move brings the former University of Akron standout to John Hackworth’s team and is expected to get minutes.
Lundt was drafted 37 in the MLS SuperDraft and was signed to the team along with all of Cincinnati’s draft picks. The loan is certainly meant for him to see minutes and if reports are correct, he may end up being an important part of Louisville’s efforts to set-up the league’s first dynasty since their rebrand in 2015.