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The USL Kickabout: August 1, 2016

Usual awesome Kickabout contributor Kevin Kernen spent the weekend sleeping outside and not glued to the internet/his phone. The savage. That means you get me for the USL roundup this week! Lucky you! Let’s get to it.

The league is finally getting around to calling rounds of games “weeks.” That’d be great if the schedule was organized in such a way that every team played once a week, but that’s not the world we live in. Case in point, the league is calling this last weekend of games “Week 19,” despite the fact that Louisville City, for example, has now played 21 games. Math: it’s something to strive for!

Anyway, it was quite the draw-y weekend in the league with five matches resulting in split points, two of them being scoreless. Very little changed in the top four or five of the Eastern Conference, while things happened in the West that will surely matter to someone.

***Most of the following blurbs were written by the USL’s Nicholas Murray, plus my blatant editorializing. Nick’s the man.***

Harrisburg City Islanders 1:1 Rochester Rhinos

Harrisburg’s Brett Jankouskas scored his second goal in as many games as the Harrisburg City Islanders drew 1-1 with the Rochester Rhinos on Friday night at  FNB Field. Harrisburg almost took the lead in the 12th minute when Jose Barril’s shot went off the right post, but while the City Islanders had the better of the first half, they were unable to break the deadlock. Rochester came out more brightly in the second half, but Harrisburg goalkeeper Keasel Broome made a big save to deny Steevan Dos Santos just past the hour-mark. The Rhinos took the lead with three minutes to go as second-half substitute Sean Totsch rose to head home a cross from the left by Bradley Kamdem at the back post. Moments later, however, Harrisburg denied the visitors the victory as Jankouskas’ header from a corner in stoppage time leveled it.

My thoughts: Harrisburg’s gotta feel good about this result, even if it is a home draw. Also, rare is the occasion where Rochester has the better looking kit in any match, but they stole the show in this one. Those Harrisburg shirts are an abomination:

Photo courtesy of the City Islanders.

Colorado Springs Switchbacks 1:1 Vancouver Whitecaps 2

Vancouver held on late to earn a 1-1 draw with Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC on Friday night at Switchbacks Stadium. Colorado Springs held the upper hand in the first half, although Vancouver had its chances. The Switchbacks finally made their pressure tell two minutes into the second half when Mike Seth beat WFC2’s high defensive line, and set up Miguel Gonzalez for a simple finish. WFC2 hit back eight minutes later, however, when Brett Levis played a clever one-two with Daniel Haber at the top of the penalty area and finished well. The Switchbacks pressured strongly in the final 30 minutes to try and find an equalizer, and WFC2 goalkeeper Spencer Richey had to be sharp to keep the hosts off the board, but Vancouver held on to take a point on the road.

FC Montreal 0:1 Charlotte Independence

Charlotte took their second consecutive victory as they defeated Montreal 1-0 at the Complexe Sportif Claude-Robillarde on Saturday afternoon. Trying saying that in polite conversation this week. It’ll be fun!

Montreal had slightly the better of play in the first half, but Charlotte had the better looks at goal as FCMTL goalkeeper David Paulmin had to make the only two saves in the opening 45 minutes to keep the game scoreless. The Independence then took the lead four minutes after the break as Caleb Calvert got possession on the left on a counter-attack, cut inside, and found Enzo Martinez for a low shot into the left corner. Montreal had a big chance to level the score with 16 minutes to go when Heikel Jarras hit the left post from close range after a good chance for Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla, while Independence goalkeeper John Berner made a good save with three minutes to go from Louis Beland-Goyette to preserve the victory for his side.

The win is obviously a good result for Charlotte, but not unexpected from this season’s version of FCM. Charlotte’s next match is a mid-weeker against Charleston at MUSC Health Stadium.

FC Cincinnati 1:1 Charleston Battery

It’s a draw between two teams trying to get Louisville’s attention in the race for first in the East. Omar Cummings and Heviel Cordoves scored. The USL made sure to throw the attendance figure in the recap headline. Let’s move on.

Rio Grande Valley FC 0:0 Sacramento Republic

Can we make it a policy not to really talk about scoreless draws if they don’t happen in our conference? Ok, cool.

Richmond Kickers 2:1 New York Red Bulls II

Yay! The only solace we as Louisville City fans can take in the weekend slate was that New York screwed up, too. It’s not much, but you take your silver linings where you can find them.

Richmond’s Jackson Eskay was in the right place at the right time to drive home a finish off a broken play in the left side of the penalty area, and extend the Kickers’ winning streak to four games with a 2-1 victory against the New York Red Bulls II. The Red Bulls II took an early lead through Brandon Allen, whose sharp turn and finish made up for a missed penalty moments before. The Kickers quickly got back on level terms as Yudai Imura’s converted penalty kick gave him his seventh goal of the season, and made it 1-1 less than 15 minutes in. Eskay’s game-winner was his first ever professional goal.

St. Louis FC 0:0 Oklahoma City Energy FC

Really wanna break that rule I just made up earlier, but I won’t.

Wilmington Hammerheads 1:4 Pittsburgh Riverhounds

Can’t say we saw this one coming. Pittsburgh finally put a positive number on the score sheet in the road column, tallying twice late in the first half to earn a 4-1 victory against Wilmington on Saturday at Legion Stadium. It was Pittsburgh’s first road win of the season as the Hounds also ended a five-game road losing streak, moving to 1-5-3 away from Highmark Stadium this year. Kevin Kerr and Corey Hertzog scored back-to-back goals within the span of a minute just before the halftime whistle to take a two-goal cushion into the break.

After Saint Louis loanee Jermie Lynch [Ed note: LOL @ Matt Bird] scored a goal in his Wilmington debut, Stephen Okai responded for Pittsburgh seven minutes later in the 69th minute to regain a two-goal advantage. Qudus Lawal was sent off late in the second half for Wilmington and the Hounds’ Nick Thompson tallied with the man advantage in the closing minutes. Pittsburgh is now 3-12-4 (13 points) overall. Wilmington is now 6-8-6 (24 points) overall and 3-4-3 at home.

Swope Park Rangers 2:1 San Antonio FC

Swope Park Rangers tallied twice in the second half to earn a 2-1 victory against San Antonio FC at Children’s Mercy Victory Field at Swope Soccer Village. Michael Reed had given San Antonio a lead in the first half, but Swope responded with goals from Dane Kelly and then Mark Anthony Gonzalez. Swope improves to 8-8-4 (28 points) overall and 6-3-0 at home. San Antonio drops to 6-7-6 (24 points) overall and 2-3-4 on the road.

Orange County Blues 2:0 LA Galaxy II

Trinidad & Tobago international Trevin Caesar recorded a pair of goals to lead Orange County Blues FC to a 2-0 victory against the LA Galaxy II on Saturday night at Anteater Stadium. Orange County took the lead in the 18th minute when Caesar scored his fifth goal of the season as he got in behind the Galaxy II defense before rounding Dan Kennedy and finishing. The Galaxy II had more possession, but couldn’t find a way to take advantage in the final third. Caesar, though, was able to take advantage of his chances, and on the hour-mark made it 2-0 as he stole possession, drove into the right side of the penalty area and fired a low shot inside the right upright. Los Dos tried to get back into the game, but the Blues held on to earn a big win in their pursuit of the playoffs.

Arizona United SC 1:2 Tulsa Roughnecks FC

This was a fierce battle between two of the worst teams in the Western Conference. Cristian Mata tallied a goal in each half to lead Tulsa Roughnecks FC to a 2-1 road victory against Arizona United SC on Saturday at the Peoria Sports Complex. With both teams in dire need of points at this stage of the season, Mata rose to the occasion for a Tulsa side that was without leading goal-scorer Sammy Ochoa who was serving a one-game suspension. Sandwiched in between Mata’s goals, Isaiah Schafer’s own goal put Arizona on the score sheet in the second half.  Tulsa improves to 5-12-3 (18 points) overall and 2-6-2 on the road. Arizona falls to 5-8-6 (21 points) overall and 2-3-4 at home.

Bethlehem Steel 2:3 Toronto FC II

Toronto FC II’s Shaan Hundal tallied twice as his side earned a 3-2 road victory against Bethlehem Steel FC on Sunday at Goodman Stadium. Hundal found the back of the net once in each half, while Luca Uccello also had a big match for Toronto with the game-winning goal, an assist and goal-line clearance. Bethlehem’s Nick Bibbs tallied early in the second half for his first goal of the season as Ryan Richter, while Richter also scored off of his own penalty kick rebound in the final 10 minutes.

Toronto played the remaining minutes down a man as Wesley Charpie was sent off in the 80th minute, as well as Head Coach Jason Bent, shortly after a penalty kick was awarded to Bethlehem.

TFC II improves to 6-12-5 (23 points) overall and 3-8-2 on the road. Toronto has already matched the club’s win total and point total from a year ago. Bethlehem falls to 6-8-7 (25 points) overall and 4-4-3 at home. Steel FC is 2-2-1 on its current six-game home stand, which wraps up next Sunday against the Charlotte Independence.