Seven of the eight ECNL conferences see action this weekend as more than 130 matches take place across the country. First place is on the line in California, a rivalry re-ignites in Texas, and a Chicagoland team has a chance to make waves against the big dogs.
ESPNHS breaks down the Games to Watch this week in the ECNL:
Mustang vs. Arsenal (8 a.m. Sunday in California)
This is an important weekend for Mustang, which enters with a 4-2-1 record and plays host to two games on its home turf. Mustang faces San Diego Surf on Saturday night, then turn around and face undefeated Arsenal (6-0-1) on Sunday morning. Mustang will have to keep a close eye on Arsenal striker Ifeoma Onumonu, who is known to cause headaches up top.
Sockers vs. Eclipse Select (4 p.m. Sunday in Illinois)
It’s also an important weekend for Sockers (8-4-1), which sit in third in the Midwest Conference standings and plays host to first-place Michigan Hawks and second-place Eclipse Select this weekend. Sockers are very familiar with cross-town rival Eclipse Select (8-2-2), and will keep a close eye on Eclipse forward Ashleigh Ellenwood. Ellenwood scored two goals when Eclipse beat Sockers 2-1 earlier this season.
KCFC vs. Concorde Fire (3:45 p.m. Saturday in Missouri)
KCFC holds a 5-2 conference record, but has yet to win a game outside the Midwest. The team's 0-5 non-conference record includes four road loses and this weekend will provide a chance to lock up their first non-conference win on home turf. Concorde Fire has won four of its last five games, thanks in large part to forward Jordan Savannah who has six goals during that stretch.
Dallas Texans vs. Lonestar (3 p.m. Saturday in Texas)
This is the first meeting of the year between the Texas Conference’s first-place Dallas Texans (6-0-0) and second-place Lonestar (6-3-1). For Texans, the dual threat of Marchelle Davis and Jasmine Hart at forward makes them nearly impossible to keep away from the net. Lonestar’s offense is led by Katie Gernsbacher, who leads the team in both goals and assists.
Solar Chelsea vs. Dallas Sting (3 p.m. Sunday in Texas)
Both teams are incredibly balanced, and both know each other well. For Solar Chelsea, watch for names like Catherine Sebazco, Justine Abella and Rachel Riggs to show up on the score sheet. Dallas Sting will counter with names like Sidney LeRoy, Emma Heckendorn and Sara Summers. Anyone could be the hero in this week’s cross town shootout.
Richmond Strikers vs. McLean (1 p.m. Saturday in Virginia)
McLean sits in first place in the Mid-Atlantic Conference with a 3-1-0 record. Their only loss? Richmond Strikers in the first match of the season. Elizabeth Ball scored the game’s only goal from an assist by Meghan Hegarty, giving Richmond (3-1-2) a 1-0 win. Strikers will rely on Ball, its leading goal scorer, to try and take over first place in the conference.
Colorado Rush vs. Real So Cal (3 p.m. Saturday in Colorado)
Colorado Rush rides a seven-game win streak into the weekend, complimented by four consecutive shutouts. During their last three matches, the Rush notched nine goals from seven different scorers. The balance makes Rush a difficult team to defend. And defense will be key for Real So Cal; this season, the team has never won a game when they’ve allowed more than one goal.
San Juan vs. So Cal Blues (2:15 p.m. Saturday in California)
San Juan sits in first place in the Northwest Conference with a 3-1-1 record, but will be tested this weekend at home against So Cal Blues. Blues has outscored their opponents 20-2 in their last five matches, winning all five to bring their record to 6-1-1. Forward Anika Rodriguez scored in four of those five matches and recorded at least one assist in three of them.