2021 USL Championship Conference Quarterfinals – Predictions and Best Bets (November 5-7)
The 2021 USL Championship Playoffs get underway on Friday, November 5, with a total of eight Quarterfinals taking place this weekend.
All the top teams in the second tier of US soccer will fancy their chances of lifting the trophy later this month, but only one side can reign supreme.
Before we get stuck into my predictions and best bets for the 2021 USL Championship Conference Quarterfinals, let’s take a quick look at the schedule.
- San Antonio vs. San Diego Loyal
- El Paso Locomotive vs. Oakland Roots
- Charlotte Independence vs. Memphis 901
- Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. FC Tulsa
- Louisville City vs. Miami FC
- Orange County vs. Colorado Springs Switchbacks
- Phoenix Rising vs. Rio Grande Valley
- Birmingham Legion vs. Pittsburgh Riverhounds
Right, it’s time to run through my 2021 USL Championship Conference Quarterfinals predictions and picks.
El Paso Locomotive to Beat Oakland Roots
No team lost fewer regular-season games than El Paso in 2021. The Texans have suffered just four defeats in 32 outings this year, picking up 18 wins and ten draws along the way.
Oakland Roots, on the other hand, finished fourth in the Pacific Division. Jordan Ferrell’s men accumulated 23 points less than El Paso during the regular season and only just scraped into the Playoffs.
Given that El Paso finished 12 points clear at the summit of the Mountain Division, I’m confident that Marky Lowry’s side will get the better of the Roots on Friday.
Tampa Bay Rowdies to Beat FC Tulsa
The Rowdies claimed more points and more victories than any other team in the regular season, winning 23 of their 32 games. As a result, they won the Pacific Division by 15 points.
Sebastian Guenzatti has been the star of the show for the Florida club this year, bagging 20 goals and six assists in 32 games. Only one player has notched more goal involvements in 2021.
- Hadji Barry – Colorado Springs Switchbacks: 25 goals, 5 assists (30)
- Sebastian Guenzatti – Tampa Bay Rowdies: 20 goals, 6 assists (26)
- Russell Cicerone – Pittsburgh Riverhounds: 16 goals, 8 assists (24)
Meanwhile, Tulsa finished fourth in the Central Division – 14 points behind first-place Louisville City and a whopping 24 points worse off than Tampa Bay.
I expect the Oklahoma outfit to put up a decent fight on Saturday, but the Rowdies – who also boast the best defensive record in the entire league – should come out on top.
Phoenix Rising to Beat Rio Grande Valley
Only Tampa Bay secured more regular-season points than Phoenix this year. The Rising head into the Playoffs on a high, having lost just two of their previous 13 outings.
Not only were the Arizonans the highest scorers in the Pacific Division, but they also had the best defensive record. Andre Rawls (6) and Ben Lundt (4) have achieved ten shutouts between them in 2021.
Although the Toros have impressed at times this year, they have not been able to match Phoenix’s level. For that reason, I’m backing the Rising to advance to the Semifinals on Saturday.
More USL Championship Conference Quarterfinals Predictionse
Here are the rest of my predictions for the USL Championship Conference Quarterfinals.
- San Antonio to Beat San Diego Loyal
- Memphis 901 to Beat Charlotte Independence
- Louisville City to Beat Miami FC
- Orange County to Beat Colorado Springs Switchbacks
- Birmingham Legion to Beat Pittsburgh Riverhounds
There isn’t much separating San Antonio and San Diego at the moment. That said, I can see the Texans benefitting from the home-field advantage when the Californians come to town.
Given that Mephis 901 won six of their final eight regular-season games, I’m backing them to overcome Charlotte on Saturday.
I’m also confident that Orange Country will dispatch Colorado when the two sides meet in Cali. Only two goalkeepers have kept more clean sheets than Orange County’s Patrick Rakovsky this season.
Finally, I’m backing Birmingham to see off Pittsburgh. After all, the Legion have only lost one of their last ten matches.
Top Picks for the USL Championship Conference Quarterfinals
It’s now time for my best USL Championship Conference Quarterfinals bets. If you’re betting on the USLC Playoffs, be sure to use the top online soccer sportsbooks.
- El Paso Locomotive vs. Oakland Roots – Over 2.5 Goals (1.90)
- Charlotte Independence vs. Memphis 901 – Memphis 901 to Win (2.50)
- Phoenix Rising vs. Rio Grande Valley – Phoenix Rising to Win (1.80)
- Orange County vs. Colorado Springs Switchbacks – Both Teams to Score (1.70)
El Paso was the top scorer in the Mountain Division, while Oakland finished the regular season with a poor –7 goal difference. With that in mind, I can see that matchup producing plenty of goals.
Phoenix shouldn’t struggle to get the better of Rio Grande Valley. I mean, the Rising finished 20 points clear of the Toros in the regular-season standings.
Lastly, I expect both Orange Country and Colorado to score on Saturday. The Switchbacks were the highest scorers in the Mountain Division, but they also ended up with the second-worst defensive record.