Memphis, Tennessee — one of the biggest cities in the South. Known for its barbecue and the home of Elvis Presley, as well as the Memphis Tigers and the nearby Arkansas State Red Wolves.
Both teams will take on the Idaho soccer team this weekend in Memphis as the Vandals look to get its record back over .500.
After starting off 2-1 with wins over Indiana State and New Mexico State and a loss to Washington State, Idaho hit the road to Boise last Friday. The Vandals were unable to beat the winless Broncos, losing 1-0. Idaho then fell to Eastern Washington 2-1 in Cheney, Washington
Even though Idaho and Eastern Washington play in the Big Sky Conference, the game counted as a non-conference matchup.
Sitting at 2-3, the season is still early for the Vandals and getting at least one win over Memphis or Arkansas State this weekend would help. Both schools are unfamiliar opponents to Idaho and neither school has played the same opponents as the Vandals this season.
Arkansas State, a Sun Belt Conference member, comes in at 2-4 on the year with two double-overtime losses to Southern Mississippi and Central Arkansas on the road. Murray State and Southeastern Louisiana handled the Red Wolves easily, but Arkansas State picked up two home wins against Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Mississippi Valley State.
Playing a schedule so different than Idaho’s makes it difficult for both schools to get a good read on each other, and there will be a lot of unknowns going into Friday’s game.
Memphis, on the other hand, is 2-1-1 with a home victory over Alabama to open the season Aug. 21st, a loss to Samford, a win over UAB on the road and a neutral site tie with Dartmouth in Nashville, Tennessee, put the Tigers in the spot they are in today.
Before its game against the Vandals on Sunday, Memphis will host Tennessee-Martin Friday after the Idaho-Arkansas State game.
The Tigers played a very different schedule than the Vandals so the two teams will have a tough time getting a read on each other before their game. Memphis is a member of the American Athletic Conference.
After this weekend, Idaho will return home and host South Dakota and Seattle University to end non-conference play. Both of those matches could be critical in terms of getting a confidence boost before Big Sky play starts.
Ben Evensen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BenE_VN