As part of the Major League Soccer / United Soccer League partnership, “reserve” teams for MLS clubs are taking part in league matches in the USL.
These games do count in the standings for both USL sides and in the MLS Reserve League.
The Dayton Dutch Lions are coming off a 0:0 Draw against the Los Angeles Blues (with Aaron Horton in tow). All totalled the Lions have 14 points from 8 games currently puts them mid-table in the USL, a vast improvement over last year’s 9th (out of 11) place finish.
Dayton owned the longest winless streak in the league last year with 12. They did beat the Crew, however, in the 3rd round of the 2012 US Open Cup.
The Columbus Crew are currently taking on water and sinking from their MLS mid-table position. This past Wednesday the Crew were embarrassed by the Philadelphia Union 3:0 so they are probably looking to get some things sorted out starting tonight, against the Lions.
Kickoff is at 7:30 at Beavercreek HS in Dayton, Ohio. The game is scheduled to be available live on UNATION.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
The Crew schedule stays busy with games over the next 8 days. A match tonight, US Open Cup on Wednesday the 12th against Chicago and then a return trip back home to take on league leading l’Impact de Montreal.
It’s difficult to know who to expect to play tonight. Ricardo Iribarren will likely be at the reins and have full freedom to select whomever he wants outside of Federico Higuain, Glauber and Dominic Oduro. It would not be surprising to see the likes of Ryan Finley, Ethan Finlay, Bernardo Anor up top and in the middle. Kevan George, Eric Gehrig, Shawn Sloan in the back and Matt Lampson in goal. The game is on turf, so do not expect recovering players like Danny O’Rourke to see action.
Outside of those players it’s very possible the Crew field trialists.
For Dayton, expect to see a normal starting lineup that features the likes of some good players in Joel DeLass and Irakli Khutsidze in holding midfield spots, Shintaro Harada and Shane Smith in the backline and Gibson Bardsley in an attacking type roll.
MORE ON MLS USL
Outside of the US Open Cup casual fans don’t get to see different levels of the US Soccer Pyramid. Major League Soccer has been fairly quiet about the matches between the two leagues this year but a good amount of attention should be paid to it.
Thus far MLS teams have only been able to pull out 2 wins from 9 matches against USL sides. While MLS stance on these games is somewhat dismissive it does highlight the fact that once you get outside the top 30% talent in MLS the next two tiers in the pyramid flatten out.
Not only does this help younger players and those on the fringes get time, it also helps get players that otherwise might be missed on the radars of other clubs.
Here are the results of this year’s matches between MLS and USL Pro.
4/7/2013 VSI Tampa Bay FC 0:1 Portland Timbers Reserves JELD-WEN Field
4/20/2013 Harrisburg City Islanders 2:1 Colorado Rapids Reserves Dick's Sporting Goods Park
4/22/2013 Phoenix FC Wolves 0:0 Real Salt Lake Reserves Rio Tinto Stadium
5/7/2013 Los Angeles Blues 3:4 Los Angeles Galaxy Reserves Home Depot Center
5/12/2013 Orlando City 2:0 Seattle Sounders FC Reserves Cheney Stadium
5/19/2013 Charleston Battery 1:0 Houston Dynamo Reserves BBVA Compass Stadium
6/1/2013 Portland Timbers Reserves 4:4 VSI Tampa Bay FC Plant City Stadium
6/7/2013 Toronto FC Reserves 1:1 Pittsburgh Riverhounds Highmark Stadium
6/7/2013 Montreal Impact Reserves 1:1 Rochester Rhinos Sahlen's Stadium
Upcoming MLS v USL Pro
6/8/2013 Houston Dynamo Reserves at Charleston Battery Blackbaud Stadium
6/8/2013 Columbus Crew Reserves at Dayton Dutch Lions Beavercreek High School
6/8/2013 Colorado Rapids Reserves at Harrisburg City Islanders Skyline Sports Complex
6/14/2013 Chicago Fire Reserves at Charlotte Eagles Queens Sports Complex
6/15/2013 Los Angeles Galaxy Reserves at Los Angeles Blues Home Depot Center
6/15/2013 Real Salt Lake Reserves at Phoenix FC Wolves Sun Devil Soccer Stadium
6/15/2013 New York Red Bulls Reserves at Wilmington Hammerheads Legion Stadium
Thanks for reading.