The Swope Park Rangers (0-3-1, 1 point) will play for their first victory of the season on Saturday when they travel to face Birmingham Legion FC (2-2-0, 6 points) in a USL Championship Eastern Conference clash at BBVA Compass Field. Kickoff is slated for 4 p.m. CT with live stream coverage on ESPN+.
The inaugural matchup between the sides pits the Rangers, USL Cup finalists from 2016 and 2017, against a rising expansion side in Birmingham that has won two of its first four matches this year in dramatic fashion.
SPR is aiming to rebound from a 3-1 home loss to Indy Eleven on Monday in which forward Wilson Harris scored for the hosts before exiting on the cusp of halftime with a shoulder injury. Head coach Paulo Nagamura’s side has suffered two defeats on the trot, having slipped in a 4-3 thriller against Bethlehem Steel FC on April 6 despite Jerome Ngom Mbekeli's impressive brace and an early tally from Ethan Vanacore-Decker.
Under the guidance of head coach Tom Soehn, Legion FC have claimed two straight 3-2 road victories after dropping their first two matches of the campaign. Birmingham most recently prevailed at Saint Louis FC last Saturday, receiving a first-half goal from Mathieu Laurent and a second-half brace from J.J. Williams.
Soehn, who boasts 16 years of coaching experience in MLS as either a head coach or an assistant, has assembled a roster that includes four players on loan from Major League Soccer clubs: New England Revolution duo Brian Wright and Zachary Herivaux plus Columbus Crew SC duo Williams and Edward Opoku. Legion's roster is also bolstered by former Sporting midfielder Mikey Lopez, who played under Manager Peter Vermes from 2013-2015.
USL Championship: Game 5 of 34
Date: Saturday, April 20, 2019
Kickoff: 4 p.m. CT
Location: BBVA Compass Field (Birmingham, Alabama)
Live Stream: ESPN+
Swope Park Rangers: 0-3-1 (1 point, 17th place in Eastern Conference)
MLS Affiliate: Sporting Kansas City
Birmingham Legion FC: 2-2-0 (6 points, 13th place in Eastern Conference)
MLS Affiliate: None
Match Notes: Click here