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The Eastern Conference Kickabout: Week 6

The Kickabout is a weekly roundup of USL Eastern Conference results. I have a real job and too many kids, so I don’t actually watch all of the games. USL’s Nicholas Murray does, though, so I shamelessly plagiarize and editorialize his myriad recaps from USLsoccer.com into just one place. Read on!

Charleston keeps rolling, Tampa gets back on track, and LOLcinnati. LET’S DO THIS:

Orlando City B 0 – 0 St. Louis

STL hangs on for a point, and OCB doesn’t lose. Win/win? Neither side was able to create much clear-cut early, with a good Orlando counter-attack in the 28th minute seeing Austin Martz shoot high in the 28th minute. OCB’s Zach Ellis-Hayden hit the outside of the right post a minute later, while Saint Louis had a goal ruled out a minute before halftime for offside. OCB’s Pierre Da Silva found space from 25 yards and fired a shot toward the left corner that produced a good save by Saint Louis’ Adam Grinwis just past the hour-mark, while Christian Volesky almost grabbed a late lead for the visitors from a tight angle on the left. A late chance for Martz that also flew high was the last for either side, however, as the game ended scoreless.

Bethlehem Steel 1 – 0 Cincinnati

The Bitey Soccer Lion Kings’ second visit to Lehigh Valley ends just like the first one did – with a red card and a loss. It was almost enough consolation for Louisville’s scoreless draw on Saturday night. Bethlehem’s Hugh Roberts scored a late winner as the hosts took a 1-0 victory at Goodman Stadium. FCC’s Kadeem Dacres threatened twice inside the opening 10 minutes as he got in behind the Steel FC defense on the right side, but was unable to take advantage. Steel FC’s James Chambers flashed a shot over with Bethlehem’s first good effort on goal, but goalkeeper Jake McGuire had to make four first-half saves to keep the game scoreless at the break. Cincinnati had a big chance to take the lead in the 65th minute when a looped cross found Andrew Weideman, but his header skied over the crossbar. FCC second-half substitute Andy Craven then hit the crossbar with a flicked finish from 10 yards off a good cut-back by Corben Bone with 16 minutes to go, and Aodhan Quinn’s free kick came back off the right post eight minutes later. Bethlehem grabbed the lead with three minutes to go, however, as Roberts headed home from a free kick to earn Steel FC, and after Cincinnati’s Craven was sent off in stoppage time the hosts were able to hold on for their second victory against Cincinnati this season. That’s their third red in three games, and fourth on the season. I’m sure it’s a referee conspiracy, though.

Rochester Rhinos 4 – 0 Charlotte Independence

Rhinos are a weird team this year, but Charlotte is perfectly predictable. Rochester’s offensive contributions have been well spread out this season in the early going, but the full lineup contributed once again Saturday at Capelli Sport Stadium. Wal Fall’s free kick in the opening half proved to be the winner during a lopsided 4-0 victory against the Charlotte Independence. In the second half, the Rhinos posted three more from Mike Garzi, Darius Madison and then Kenardo Forbes with a late penalty kick conversion. The Rhinos improve to 2-1-2 (8 points) while Charlotte falls to 1-2-2 (5 points).

Pittsburgh Riverhounds 1 – 0 Harrisburg City Islanders

The Pittsburgh Riverhounds claimed the first edition of this year’s Keystone Cup as Corey Hertzog’s fourth goal of the season earned a 1-0 victory against the Harrisburg City Islanders at Highmark Stadium. The Riverhounds almost grabbed an early lead as a header by Jack Thompson sent in Kevin Kerr, but his lobbed finish went just wide of the left post. Pittsburgh continued to hold the majority of the play in the first half, but a deflected shot by Jack Thompson proved the only effort the side could manage on goal in the opening half-hour. The game tilted further in the direction of the Riverhounds seven minutes into the second half when Abass Mohamed was sent off for his second yellow card, but it was the City Islanders who went close to taking the lead when James Thomas surged into the penalty area and was denied at the near post by Riverhounds goalkeeper Trey Mitchell in the 64th minute. With 15 minutes to go the Riverhounds took the lead, though, as Corey Hertzog headed home Kevin Kerr’s cross into the right corner, and that proved enough to give the hosts their second win of the season.

Charleston Battery 2 – 2 Ottawa Fury

Ottawa may just be a slow starter. A draw on the road against Charleston, the hottest team in the East, is no mean feat. The Battery fell behind on two occasions, and it was the club’s leading goal scorer who helped the host side as Romario Williams’ brace was crucial in Charleston earning a 2-2 draw against Ottawa Fury FC on Saturday at MUSC Health Stadium. It marked Charleston’s first meeting against the USL newcomer. Williams scored a first-half equalizer in the 41st minute and then an 84th-minute, game-tying goal, both assisted by Maikel Chang. Charleston is now 4-1-1 (13 points) this season while Ottawa moves to 1-2-2 (5 points).

Tampa Bay Rowdies 1 – 0 Richmond Kickers

The Tampa Bay Rowdies got a spectacular finish by Deshorn Brown to earn a 1-0 victory against the Richmond Kickers  on Saturday night at Al Lang Stadium to break a three-game winless streak. Tampa Bay had the first good chance as Marcel Schäfer picked out Brown in the penalty area, but the Jamaican forward’s shot was blocked. The Rowdies continued to have the better of the play, and in the final minute of the half they were rewarded with a side-volleyed finish from 10 yards by Brown that put the hosts up 1-0. The Rowdies looked to add to their lead in the second half, and Darwin Jones had an effort saved by Kickers goalkeeper Matt Turner just past the hour-mark. Schäfer and Brown also went close in the final 20 minutes, both players missing the target with their efforts, but the Kickers were unable to find many serious threats in the final third the hosts were able to close out the victory.