With three of the top four teams in the Eastern Conference eliminated, the playoff field is wide open, and some of the top clubs in the West showed their cracks in narrow victories. The beauty of a single-elimination tournament is the chaos the format creates, and the USL’s conference quarterfinals were defined by havoc.
Who made the case that they can make a push to the USL Championship title? Let’s dig into a fascinating eight-game slate to see whose stock is up, whose is down, and why the losing sides are off the market until 2024.
Result: W 3-0 at Tampa Bay
Still without star center back Phanuel Kavita entering postseason action, the Legion hoped for the best with an inexperienced back line against the best offense in the East. Indeed, they fought fire with fire, putting natural forwards Juan Agudelo and Tyler Pasher in the midfield and opting for Preston Tabortetaka's pure speed at the striker spot. That pace played well against a stout but somewhat immobile Tampa Bay team; Diba Nwegbo on the left and Preston up top feasted from balls over the top and off of Agudelo's hold-up play.