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The Kickabout: July 18, 2016

It was a high scoring week of play in the USL. All but one game yielded multiple goals. There were 46 tallies in all across the week’s 15 games, just more than 3 a game for those keeping score at home. I am going to apologize now for all the Western conference coverage, but there were some good games out there.

Rio Grande Valley FC 4, Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 0

You would have been forgiven for thinking first-placed Vancouver was going to walk over the Toros last Wednesday, but RGV was determined to bring their 5 game winless streak and 248 minute scoring drought to an end. And did they ever! RGV came out strong, scoring twice in the first 25 minutes. Vancouver’s chances weren’t helped any when midfielder Brett Levis was sent off. RGV midfielder and team scoring leader Memo Rodriguez had himself a game, with his half brace was punctuated by a long range strike that found the upper-90. They added another in second-half injury time when what was left of VWFC2 was over extended.

Tulsa Roughnecks FC 2, St Louis FC 0

StLFC experienced some good possession in the first half, but failed to take advantage of their chances with 11 shots but only 2 on goal. The opening goal didn’t come until the 66th minute. A Tulsa cross was headed away, only to be volleyed home by Gustavo Villalobos to put the statistically worst team in the West up on the actual worst team in the West. St. Louis responded by trying to turn up the wick in Tulsa’s third. STL couldn’t put it together, though, and left the door open to the Roughnecks’ counter. Tulsa blew that slightly ajar door off of its hinges when Sammy Ochoa got on the end of a long clearance-cum- releasing ball and shot it. Pais made the save, but Ochoa then dramatically headed it over the Saint Louis goal minder who probably can’t show his face in public anymore.

Charlotte Independence 1, New York Red Bulls II 2

New York avenged their May 1st loss to the Independence and beat the floundering Charlotte side at Ramblewood. A weather delay pushed back the start of the match, but it didn’t dampen the teams’ competitive fire. NYRBII leapt from the gates and captured the lead 15 minutes into the game. Stefano Bonomo got on the end of a Florian Valot cross to head the visitors into the lead. New York had most of the meaningful first half possession, although Charlotte picked up the pace as the half wore on.

Charlotte picked up right where they left off after the intermission. A strong run by Brian Brown left Juan Davidson open in front of Meara’s goal with a simple headed finish. Brown got a straight red just before the hour mark after a late challenge cleaned out a Red Bulls player. Dan Metzger put the Baby Bulls ahead for the final time just 4 minutes later. Charlotte nearly got a shorthanded equalizer in the 72nd minute when Shane Johnson hit the crossbar, but the Independence couldn’t find a way back into this one. After LCFC’s statement win against Wilmington, NYRBII are now 4 points back with 2 games in hand.

Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC 1, Sacramento Republic FC 0

It was a top-4 West conference matchup last Saturday hosted by Colorado Springs, who were fresh off a 6-goal shellacking at the hands of Bundesliga side 1. FSV Mainz 0. The pink-clad Switchbacks had a pretty good hold on the game, having spells of unchallenged possession in the middle 3rd . Sacramento’s offense didn’t show up and their 3 shots on goal proved it. As the half matured, COS got further and further up the pitch, applying some real pressure but failing to break through. About halfway through the second half Sacramento started to get some chances, most dangerous of which came in the 79th minute. The sole score of the match came in the 83rd minute when a COS corner was headed home by JJ Greer. SRFC keeper Evan Newton got a hand on it but the finish had too much on it. With the drop in form of Vancouver, the West has really opened up and COS are 2 points behind joint-leaders Vancouver and LA II with a point up on both of the nursery teams.

San Antonio FC 2, Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 0

Vancouver dropped their second straight decision when San Antonio converted a 63rd minute penalty and added another off of a counter in added time. Vancouver ceded a lot of possession to the home team, inviting the pressure. They also looked too flat in the attacking third. Their 30/27 goals for/against number is not one indicative of a team that will win championships. They had a stranglehold on the West but after allowing 6 goals and failing to score in their last 2,things have opened up to a 4 or 5 horse race.

Rochester Rhinos 3, FC Montreal 1

If you end up scoring more than FCM but allow them to score, did you really win? The Rhinos also let them get 5 shots goal. At any rate Rochester took it to the laughing stock of professional soccer, recording their 3rd win of the 3 meetings between the two sides this year, netting a 7-2 for/against differential. For a team that hangs their hat on staunch D, that’s not quite a spotless record.

Charleston Battery 0, Orlando City B 0

They tied. Charleston probably should have won but they weren’t sharp enough in front of goal. Let’s move on.