The latest week in the United Soccer League saw a lot of action among top placed teams both in the East and the West conferences alike. FCC lost once, Rochester drew twice and NYRBII also dropped a decision, all of which help us after that game on Saturday.
FC Cincinnati 1, New York Red Bulls II 2
Many LouCity fans were tuned into the midweek fixture between two strong contenders in the East. New York started the match off strong, and for the first several minutes, they really had FCC on the back foot. Cincy eventually got into it, managing a few shots, but never troubling Reynish in goal for the Baby Bulls. NYRBII looked the better team throughout the half.
NYRB came out of the half similar to the first, dictating most of the play. However, FCC made a strong counter attack just before the hour mark. Omar Cummings sent a grounded cross from the right side to Jimmy McLaughlin whose side footed finish just got beyond the reach of Reynish.
A poorly timed Delbridge tackle in the 82nd minute led to a dangerous free kick from just outside the FCC box. Justin Bilyeu sent a grounded shot to the far post that a screened Hidebrandt couldn’t draw a bead on. NYRB drained what energy there was left in the stadium when in the 86th minute they took the lead via the head of Florian Valot off of a sublime cross from Derrick Etienne. The Bulls were the better team on the night, and they deserved the win, although it would have been most beneficial to our position if they drew or even if FCC won.
Toronto FC II 1, Rochester Rhinos 1
Rochester opened the scoring in the 27th minute when Bradley Kadem Fewo played Christian Volesky through into the TFCII box where he slotted it past di Bennardo in goal. The goal took away from an otherwise strong 6-save performance for 19 year old Phil di Bennardo. TFCII equalized in the 77th minute when Skylar Thomas put the only shot on goal for the squad in the back of the net to steal a point from the 5th placed Rhinos.
New York Red Bulls II 2, Charleston Battery 3
Charleston jumped out to a quick 2 goal lead within the first 30 minutes. The first came in the 9th minute when O’Brian Woodbine sent a stellar throw-in deep into Ryan Meara’s box. Battery forward Maikel Chang met it with his head to put it in top corner. Woodbine notched his second assist on the day when he picked out a stellar ball for Romario Williams whose angled run put him in a great position slide it by Meara to double their lead.
The remainder of the first half was quite procedural. Both teams traded possession, taking it up the field, knocking it around and usually ending up in a simple save or a goal kick. NYRBII came out of the intermission strong, dictating the first several minutes of the period. Charleston responded by nearly adding another in the 52 minute when Atulla Guerra fired it just over the bar.
From then, it turned into a back and forth affair. NYRBII grabbed one back when Florian Valot slid a ball into the Charleston box from the right side to Stefano Bonomo, who stuck it in. Kevin O’Toole equalized 6 minutes later when he sent a cross from midfield into a crowded Charleston box that went untouched and unsaved. Speaking of dangerous crosses, Heviel Cordoves scored the eventual game-winning effort. Cordoves got on the end of a deflected Maikel Chang cross to beat Meara near-post. New York tried to grab an equalizer late in the game by applying heavy pressure, but Charleston held firm and kept the bus very much in park. The result sees NYRBII fail to seize the opportunity to go top, and consolidates Charleston’s hold on 4th in the East, 2 points behind Cincinnati whom they play next week.
St Louis FC 2, Colorado Springs Switchbacks 1
StLFC broke their 4 game winless streak by taking all 3 points off of conference-leading Colorado Springs. They nearly opened the scoring in the 7th minute when a goal was disallowed when it was decided the player in question was offsides. It was a mixed bag of a first half, which saw each team get possession and plenty of turnovers. St. Louis opened the scoring in the 36th minute when Tyler David sent a free kick into the box for StLFC. It took a heavy deflection and James Musa got a foot to it, with the keeper left helpless.
They grabbed another in first half injury time. Irvin Herrera corralled a long ball that had taken a fortuitous deflection off of a retreating defender. Herrerra lobbed it over the retreating keeper to dig the visitors into a deeper hole.
COS came out strong in the second half and pressed for a goal. They were rewarded in the 55th minute when Josh Suggs found Marty Maybin in the StLFC box for a smart first touch finish. Saint Louis responded very strongly, getting a catalog of near-misses that extended for several minutes. They held onto the ball and saw the game out in a convincing manner.
St. Louis look to have gotten the season back on track, starting a 4 game home stand and needing as many points as possible to guarantee a playoff birth. They’re 7th at the moment, although just 2 points above 9th placed San Antonio.
Bethlehem Steel FC 1, Rochester Rhinos 1
It was a case of sluggish offense and inconsistent defense that led to a draw at BSFC Sunday. They did well to score, seeing as they only had a single shot on goal to Bethlehem’s 4. Rochester haven’t lost in their last 8, but they have only won 3 of them, sub-par for a reigning champion.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 2, Sacramento Republic FC 1
It was a heated battle of top-5 Western conference teams out in Vancouver last Sunday. Sacramento reverted back to their early season form of decent offense and above-average defense. SRFC managed just 5 shots, 2 of them on goal. They got out to a good start however. The Republic’s Danny Barrera released Cameron Iwasa through the VWFC2 back line, where he knocked it by a charging Spencer Richey within the first quarter-hour. Sacramento dictated almost all of the succeeding possession, nearly adding a second on multiple occasions.
Sacramento were penalized, however, when a defender knocked a Whitecaps attacker down off of a corner. The foul garnered the referee’s attention, but not a booking. Marco Bustos converted the pen for the hosts to put them level in the 21st minute. They saw out the remainder of the first half in control, and continued in the same vein after the break.
As the second half wore on, Sacramento got back into it although the decider came at the death when Thomas Sanner flicked a Daniel Haber cross onto the far post and into the side netting of Evan Newton’s goal. The goal sees VWFC2 grab an important 3 points that should hold them in good stead as the playoffs draw closer. They’re 3 points behind top-placed LA Galaxy II, with a game in hand as well.