Leading contenders in the main standings made their mark on the opening night of Division A’s action in Week 3, led by an emphatic performance by Rio Grande Valley FC. Meanwhile in Division B, it was a good night for Phoenix Rising FC, and another letdown for the Philadelphia Union II.
1. If there’s a big takeaway from the opening night in Division A, it’s that the teams that are near the top of the overall points leaderboard are there for a reason. After narrowly being eliminated in the Quarterfinals last week by eventual weekly winner the New York Red Bulls II, it was back to business as before for Rio Grande Valley FC’s Kembo Kibato, who romped to a 5-0 victory with Brazil against El Paso Locomotive FC’s Alexy Bosetti and Argentina. Kibato is setting the Toros up for another big week ahead of Wednesday’s showdown with Hartford Athletic.
2. The same could be said for Austin Bold FC’s Valeri Saramutin, who was rock solid in a 3-0 victory with Italy against the Charleston Battery’s Rennico Clarke and Greece to retain his spot in Division A and move onto a showdown with OKC Energy FC on Wednesday. The Battery were hot with Clarke at the controls last week to secure third place in Division B and promotion, but they’re going to have to fight their way back up next week after falling at the first hurdle against top-flight competition.
3. Phoenix Rising FC needed something to redeem itself from the waxing it took last week from the Charleston Battery on Tuesday night, and thanks to Corey Whelan it got just that. A 6-1 victory with the Netherland’s against the LA Galaxy II’s Jorge Hernandez and Sweden not only ensured Rising FC won’t suffer a drop down to the third tier, but also set up the most intriguing Quarterfinal in Division B for Wednesday night. Miami FC and England are waiting, and you should tune in for the 7 p.m. ET kickoff.
- Every week, Greenville Triumph SC finds a way to get it done. On Tuesday, it ensured another week in Division A as Jake Keegan and Poland edged past the New England Revolution II’s Mayele Mayongo and Russia 1-0. A step up to face the New York Red Bulls II is next, but Triumph SC’s consistency is impressive.
- Union Omaha made sure all four teams that got promoted from Division B last week would be back there in Week 4 as Elvir Ibisevic and Norway took a 3-0 victory against Sacramento Republic FC’s Ashkanov Apollon and Mexico. Because of reseeding after last week’s bracket, though, we’ll get four fresh matchups in Wednesday’s Quarterfinals.
- After tough start to proceedings in Week 1, things look fully turned around for Indy Eleven. After winning Division C’s bracket last week, the Eleven’s Jordan Farr and the Cote D’Ivoire got off to a flying start in Week 3 with a 3-1 win against Real Monarchs SLC’s Damian German and Switzerland. Indy’s performance was marked by a sizeable advantage in shots and shots on goal, and it’s going to be interesting to see how they fare against Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC and Belgium on Wednesday.
- Boy, oh, boy this is not going the way the Philadelphia Union II would have hoped, is it? A 2-1 defeat to FC Tucson’s AJ Valenzuela and the Czech Republic on Tuesday for Zach Zandi and Spain means the No. 3 squad in the pretournament draw is going to be playing in Division C next week. Woof.
- The Tampa Bay Rowdies got the first part taken care of as Malik Johnson and Colombia ran away eventually with a 5-2 victory against Birmingham Legion FC’s Micah Smith and Ireland to ensure they remain in Division B next week. The next step? See if they’re a match for Las Vegas Lights FC and Uruguay with a place in Division A on the line.
Greenville Triumph SC (Poland) 1, New England Revolution II (Russia) 0
Rio Grande Valley FC (Brazil) 5, El Paso Locomotive FC (Argentina) 0
Austin Bold FC (Italy) 3, Charleston Battery (Greece) 0
Union Omaha (Norway) 3, Sacramento Republic FC (Mexico) 0
Indy Eleven (Cote D’Ivoire) 3, Real Monarchs SLC (Switzerland) 1
Tampa Bay Rowdies (Colombia) 5, Birmingham Legion FC (Ireland) 2
FC Tucson (Czech Republic) 2, Philadelphia Union II (Spain) 1
Phoenix Rising FC (Netherlands) 6, LA Galaxy II (Sweden) 1