What to Watch: Bye Week Edition

The bye week comes at a good time for Nashville SC. It gives some players like Alan Winn additional time to recover from his concussion and Coach Gary Smith an extended opportunity to work with the players on the training ground. While Nashville may be off, there is plenty of action going on around the league. Your Eastern Conference leaders Saint Louis and Tampa are both in action this week, but let's take a look at a few other compelling match ups.

New York Red Bulls II v Memphis 901 FC

When: March 29th at 7:00pm Central

Where: MSU Soccer Park

Previous Results: NY 1-1 draw vs Nashville; MEM 0-1 win at Bethlehem

Who doesn't love some Friday night soccer?

Memphis travels to New Jersey to take on the Red Bull after grabbing their first win last week against Bethlehem. Memphis is the only Eastern Conference expansion team to grab a win so far, but I do not think that we will see that continue. From a Nashville perspective, it gives us a good look at a new opponent against our previous one. New York won't find a team that will roll over for them, but I do think that the quality and experience will be too much for Memphis

Prediction: NY 2 - 0 MEM

North Carolina FC v Charleston Battery

When: March 30th at 6:00pm Central

Where: WakeMed Soccer Park

Previous Results: NCFC 1-0 win at Bethlehem; CHS 2-1 against Hartford

North Carolina and Charleston face off at WakeMed after both coming off of a bye week in what is sure to be one of the highlights of the week. NCFC started off the season with a huge 4-1 win over defending champs Louisville City. While it is too early to tell if it is more indicative of how good NCFC is or how much the loss of key players has affected Louisville, it was quite the way to start off NCFC's season. Charleston has also started off the season with a win and a draw, but the biggest story for the Battery is the drama around a potential sale of their MUSC Health Stadium. With Ataullah Guerra still out of the team, I don't think that Charleston can generate enough offense to get past NCFC.

Prediction: NCFC 2 - 1 CHS

Louisville City FC v Birmingham Legion FC

When: March 30th at 6:00pm Central

Where: Slugger Field

Previous Results: LOU 2-1 win against Hartford; BHM 1-0 loss at Ottawa

After kicking off the season with a tough 1-4 loss against NCFC, Louisville responded with wins over both Atlanta and Hartford, while Birmingham have suffered defeat and failed to score in both of their opening games. This week does not get any easier for the Legion as they travel to the home of the defending champions. I do think that Birmingham gets their first goal as Chandler Hoffman bags one against his former club, but fail to pick up a point.

Prediction: LOU 3 - 1 BHM

Phoenix Rising v Colorado Switchbacks

When: March 30th at 9:30pm Central

Where: WakeMed Soccer Park

Previous Results: PHX 3-3 draw against New Mexico; COS 1-0 win against San Antonio

Last year's Western conference Champions has had a bit of a rough start. Back to back 3-3 draws against San Antonio and New Mexico have left them without a win, while Colorado have started off fairly well with two wins and a loss against perennial contender Sacramento Republic. There were questions going into the season around who would score goals for Phoenix after losing Cortez and Drogba, but so far it is the defense that has been a problem. Colorado has been far from quiet on the offensive, led by attacking midfielder Shane Malcolm who already has 3 on the season. While there will be no shortage of goals during this game, I see Phoenix securing their first win

Prediction: PHX 3 - 2 COS

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