TAMPA, Fla. – Red Bulls II will hit the road yet again during the United Soccer League playoffs as they will visit Louisville City FC in the Eastern Conference final at Slugger Field Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
The winner will secure a spot in the USL Cup final, scheduled for Monday, Nov. 13.
Defending USL champion New York was one of two lower seeds that advanced from the conference
The conference final will see a rematch from last year’s postseason with the No. 1-seed Louisville City FC playing host to the defending champion and No. 7-seed Red Bulls II.
New York stunned the third-seeded Tampa Bay Rowdies with a 2-1 victory in extratime Saturday night. Two goals by Stefano Bonomo and a standout goalkeeping display by Evan Louro sent the Red Bulls II through as their bid to earn back-to-back USL Cups continued in one of the most dramatic games in USL Cup Playoffs history at Al Lang Stadium.
Louisville maintained its perfect postseason record at Slugger Field with a 1-0 victory over the fourth-seeded Rochester Rhinos with Brian Ownby’s 77th-minute goal the difference. Louisville reached in its third consecutive conference final, but will for the first time be at home with a chance at securing its first trip to the USL Cup.
The defending Western Conference champion and No. 4-seed Swope Park Rangers kept their hopes of a return trip to the USL Cup alive as it will play host to No. 6-seed OKC Energy FC Saturday night after Energy FC defeated the No. 2-seed San Antonio FC 4-1 in a penalty shootout after a tense 1-1 draw after extratime. OKC goalkeeper C.J. Cochran made two saves in the shootout after Wojciech Wojcik scored an equalizer for the visitors with five minutes left in regulation at Toyota Field to end SAFC’s first trip to the playoffs.
The Rangers remained undefeated on home turf in the playoffs earlier in the evening as they recorded a 1-0 win over No. 8-seed Sacramento Republic FC at Children’s Mercy Park. Swope Park’s Kharlton Belmar scored the only goal less than a minute into the second half as the Rangers ended Republic FC’s bid to claim a second USL Cup.
USL Cup Playoffs
Eastern Conference final
Saturday, Nov. 4
No. 1. Louisville City FC vs. No. 7 New York Red Bulls II, 7:30 p.m. ET, Slugger Field
Western Conference final
Saturday, Nov. 4
No. 4 Swope Park Rangers vs. No. 6 OKC Energy FC, 8:30 p.m. ET, Children’s Mercy Park
USL Cup final
Monday, Nov. 13
Eastern Conference vs. Western Conference champions, 9 p.m. ET (ESPNU and SiriusXM FC)