Memphis 901 FC concludes their two-match series in Northern California with a test against the Western Conference leading Sacramento Republic FC on Saturday.
The Beale St. Boys enter the second half of the season with a tough interconference matchup, bussing straight to Sacramento after a 1-1 draw at Oakland on Wednesday.
“We know it’s a tough venue to go to, but we’re prepared and we’ll be ready,” Head Coach Stephen Glass said. “We’ve dealt with adversity all year.
“When the group’s got our back against the wall, I feel like we’re at our best and I feel we’re a bit cozy there. We look to build on it and continue to build up points against what is probably going to be one of the title contenders.”
After two disappointing losses to Phoenix and San Antonio, Memphis found their previous form in the second half at Oakland putting together seven scoring opportunities in the final 45 minutes with Laurent Kissiedou scoring in the 61st minute to split points.
Sacramento carries a 9-2-7 record leading the USL Championship with a +19 goal differential. Memphis will look to give Sacramento their first loss to an Eastern Conference opponent this season.
Last time out, Sacramento split points in a scoreless draw at Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC on Saturday. The club has conceded only 11 goals in 18 matches, the least in the league this season, and ranks in the top five in goals per match (1.67) below Memphis (1.82).
Saturday’s match is set for a 10 p.m. CT kickoff with live broadcast available on ESPN+ and WMC Bounce 5.2 locally.
Memphis has been one of the top clubs on the road in the USL Championship with only one loss in seven matches away from AutoZone Park this season.
Luiz is on Fire
Luiz Fernando returned to the starting lineup on Wednesday for his 150th USL Championship regular season appearance. Approaching over 10,000 regular season minutes in his career, Fernando has played a key part in the club’s success in the first half of the season with four goals and three assists across all competitions.
Memphis stands toward the top of the league with their dangerous offensive attack scoring 31 goals in 17 matches. Despite being held scoreless in their last two matches, the Beale St. Boys still rank in the top-five in goals per match, shots per match and final third entries.
Goals per match:
- San Antonio – 1.95
- Memphis – 1.82
- Tampa Bay – 1.78
Spreading the Wealth
Memphis hasn’t missed a step even with injuries to key players this season. 901 FC has had 12 different players find the back of the net and 11 assist others in scores this year.
Versatile veteran Rodrigo da Costa joined Memphis 901 FC in a midseason acquisition, bringing his knack for scoring and distribution to one of the most dangerous attacking sides in the league.
The Brazilian international leads Memphis 901 FC with six goals to go with three assists this season.
Score One for the Newcomer
Former top league midfielder Emerson Hyndman was called into the starting lineup for the first time in the club’s 4-0 victory over Tulsa, delivering the highlight of the night with a perfect one-touch strike into the back of the net from 30 yards out.
The Dallas, Texas native brings National Team, Scottish Premiership and MLS experience to a talented Memphis roster after playing a starting role for Head Coach Stephen Glass with Atlanta United.
Chances on Chances on Chances
Memphis now has two of the top creators in the league in Aaron Molloy and Rodrigo da Costa. Molloy leads the league in chances created as the primary kick taker while da Costa is tied for fourth as Memphis stands toward the top in almost every offensive team metric.
Chances Created Leaderboard:
- Aaron Molloy – 46
- Charlie Dennis – 42
- Taylor Davila – 41
- Rodrigo da Costa – 37
- Jack Gurr – 36
The Kid is Cooking
Nighte Pickering has proven himself to be a dangerous presence near opposition final thirds. The 18-year-old striker has poured in four goals and leads the team with four assists in USL competition along with his game-winning goal in the U.S. Open Cup victory over Atlanta United.
Pickering scored two goals in seven appearances in 2022, including a bicycle kick goal on debut, before being called up to the U.S. U-19 Youth National Team in the offseason.