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Three reasons to watch Defiance v. Oakland Roots

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Tacoma are in the rare position as favorites.

The fight in Randy Mendoza and Tacoma Defiance can no longer be doubted.
Chars Wilson courtesy of Seattle Sounders and Tacoma Defiance

After two draws, Tacoma Defiance end their home stand by hosting Oakland Roots SC. Sunday’s match is the rare time when Wade Webber’s side are considered strong favorites. Oakland has stuttered to a 1-7-3, -12 in their first USL Championship season.

Defiance are now 4-0-3, +6 at Cheney Stadium and five matches into an unbeaten run that practically demands a win. Last match it took a magical goal by Randy Mendoza to show that there is fight in the squad, even as underdogs.

For all the off-field struggles, Roots are also struggling on the pitch, failing to score in eight of their 11 matches. But Tacoma cannot approach Oakland as if this is a walkover — Phoenix only beat Oakland 1-nil in the midweek.

Why You Should Watch

  1. Defiance Are Fun: Nine different players have at least a goal (plus AOC, who was on loan from Sounders and now is in Austria). Four more have an assist. Webber has the team playing a the 3-4-3/3-4-2-1 that is now the favored shape of the Sounders, and it can run by dominating possession or to find a quick strike in transition.
  2. History in Sight: The five-match winning streak is one short of the longest in Defiance/S2 history. That six-game streak was back in 2016, an era without so much youth. Sunday offers Tacoma an opportunity to end the week with history and a re-taking of 4th place.
  3. Fight and Win: In the past there were times when an observer might think that Defiance players had given up on each other. There is no indicator of that in 2021. Whether it’s Randy Mendoza scoring a magical goal on a wingback-to-wingback pass, the defense of Taylor Mueller and Tom Brewitt, or the literal fight of Eric Kinzner, this squad stands together and succeeds together. It’s an organizational vibe that lives within the Academy, Sounders, and now Defiance.

How to Watch

Match date/kickoff time: Sunday, August 8, 1:30 PM PT

Venue: Cheney Stadium | Tacoma, Washington

Online Streaming: ESPN+ (affiliate link)

Defiance Absences: Sota Kitahara is on loan to FC Pinzgau Saalfelden in Austria until the end of 2021.

Roots Absences: To be announced.