USL Championship Week 3 Preview

New Mexico takes center stage in USL week three as they look for their first ever win in USL against the Tulsa Roughnecks. The crowd is expected to be hot at Isotopes Park as they were in week one for the team’s draw against Fresno. A battle of undefeated teams will also be highlighted this week in the Eastern conference as St. Louis FC faces the Tampa Bay Rowdies.

New Car Smell Still Excites Fans in New Mexico

New Mexico United have started the season off slow with two draws against Fresno and Phoenix Rising FC. Despite that, the team is in good spirits and heading home with confidence that they can beat a Tulsa teams that looks to have improved from last season. Currently the Roughnecks are undefeated with a draw and win in their first two games but have leaked goals.

New Mexico’s Santi Moar will hope to continue his hot scoring streak after netting two efforts against Phoenix. One was a howling curled shot that beat the Rising keeper and was a nominee for goal of the week. Expectations are that a hot crowd will help raise the spirits of the team and lift them to their first win in highly competitive Western Conference.

Rowdies Hope to Stay Perfect

The Tampa Bay Rowdies imploded in 2018 but have started this year looking dominant. Thus far they are undefeated and have yet to concede a goal. Their opposition in week three is St. Louis FC, a team that is also undefeated but has arguably faced stiffer competition. St. Louis handled Indy in week one and toppled Nashville SC in a tight contest.

Both teams are looking to establish themselves in an Eastern Conference that has seemingly been dominated by Louisville over the past two years. They have upgraded in almost every area on the field and could make a statement with a win in Missouri.

What is Wrong in the Valley?

Rio Grande Valley FC has started the season with two consecutive losses but what’s even more troubling is that they haven’t lit up the scoreboard. Fresno FC carved them up last week and the team looks demoralized early in the campaign.

Head coach Gerson Echeverry may be the first coach on the hot seat. Last season the Toros did little to inspire fans and have started this year off even worse. Can they turn it around against an El Paso team that is equally struggling? If not, we may be seeing the first team that takes a tumble to the bottom early in the campaign.

WEEK 3 SCHEDULE:

March 20:
New Mexico United vs. Tulsa Roughnecks SC

March 23:
St. Louis FC vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies
Real Monarchs SLC vs. LA Galaxy II
Tulsa Roughnecks vs. Tacoma Defiance
Swope Park Rangers vs. Pittsburgh Riverhounds
Charlotte Independence vs. Atlanta United 2
Louisville City FC vs. Hartford Athletic
Colorado Springs Switchbacks vs. San Antonio FC
El Paso Locomotive vs. Rio Grande Valley FC
Orange County SC vs. New Mexico United
Portland Timbers 2 vs. Las Vegas Lights FC
Fresno FC vs. Reno 1868 FC

March 24:
New York Red Bulls II vs. Nashville SC
Sacramento Republic FC vs. OKC Energy FC
Bethlehem Steel FC vs. Memphis 901

Photo by Bill Twomey Photography

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