It was a week of interesting results around the USL which saw some top teams drop points to lesser sides, LA Galaxy II settle for a draw against the bottomfeeders that are Tulsa, San Antonio FC’s win over Colorado Springs and Orlando City B’s draw with NYRBII. The playoff race is getting interesting, as Vancouver stretched its lead to 4 points over Sacramento in the West. The remaining 6 teams are separated by just 5 points out West. Things are a little more spread out in the East, with 2nd to 8th separated by 10 points. The 7th to 9th place clubs are all on 17 points.
Portland Timbers 2 1, Seattle Sounders FC 2 2
The latest matchweek kicked off last Wednesday at Providence Park in Portland as the Cascadia Cup took the USL in the form of Sounders 2 and Timbers 2. S2 took the lead in the 35th minute when John Magnus lofted a cross to the Timbers’ far post, where Myron Samuel slotted it home. T2 keeper Kendall McIntosh was the victim of an unfortunate deflection in the 43rd minute when a cross was deflected by his own defender and into the goal to put the visitors up 2-0 going into the half. T2 got a rash of chances in the second half, culminating in a classy headed chip for 18 year old Blake Bodily in the 67th minute. Timbers 2 never really got another clean chance after that, and dropped their 8th game of the season. Sounders 2 improve to 3-7-4, just second bottom of the West.
Toronto FC II 1, FC Montreal 1
Anthony Jackson-Hamel found the end of Alessandro Riggi’s cross to put the visiting Montreal side ahead in the 55th minute. A goal looked imminent for TFCII, but a second yellow for Bubacarr Jobe left the home team with 10 men. Liam Fraser headed home the equalizer off of a free kick just moments before the final whistle to steal a point at home. TFCII almost didn’t salvage a result from this one, which saw them dictate most of the play- and the scoring chances. Shots on goal favored the Reds 7:3. Neither of these teams looked destined for the playoffs, they’re both in the bottom 3 of the East.
Wilmington Hammerheads FC 1, Bethlehem Steel FC 1
Wilmington came off a disappointing and taxing US Open Cup loss to Real Salt in PKs by pushing their USL unbeaten streak to 4 games (2-0-2). The team looked to be headed for a loss as the 3rd game in 6 days was wearing the team out. They went down within 25 minutes when Seku Conneh put the visitors up with an impressive lobbed finish. Wilmington were the beneficiaries of a Steel error when keeper Samir Badr dropped the ball right in front of Ashani Fairclough who didn’t need to be asked twice to put the hosts level. Wilmington are 9th in the conference, level on points with 8th placed OCB and 105h placed Bethlehem Steel.
Tulsa Roughnecks FC 2, LA Galaxy II 2
LA looked to be taking all 3 points from ONEOK field last Friday night as Jeffery Payeras and USL leading goal scorer Jack McBean each tallied goals in the first 25 minutes for Los Dos. Tulsa rallied late in the opening period, getting on the board in the 41st minute. Tulsa started to pick up momentum and were in control of the play headed into the half, despite the scoreline or the records of the two squads. Tulsa picked up right where they left off in the first half and added an equalizer in the 48th minute to conclude the scoring. It’s a very surprising result, Tulsa were probably looking to make a statement after that 7-1 hiding they got from St Louis. That, combined with LAII taking their foot off the gas after going up early led to another demonstration on how a 2 goal lead is the least stable in the sport of soccer. LA settle for their 8th draw of the year, going 5-2-8 which puts them in 5th out West. Tulsa are still bottom of the West, 5 points adrift of the next team.
Charlotte Independence 1, Richmond Kickers 0
It started out back and forth, but the Independence took the lead in the 30th minute when Caleb Clavert found the end of an Enzo Martinez corner. The Independence were awarded a penalty just 4 minutes later when Kickers midfielder Hugh Roberts brought down Brian Brown in the box. The Penalty was converted, but curiously disallowed when a Kickers player stepped inside the box before Brown could connect with the ball. Brown pushed his second attempt wide. The teams traded dangerous chances for most of the remainder of the game, although no one converted. Charlotte are 5th in conference at 6-4-3, Richmond are a spot behind them at 5-5-4.
FC Cincinnati 2, Toronto FC II 1
Raheem Edwards put the visitors ahead early in this one, in the 4th minute to be precise when he avoided the sliding FCC defenders to slide the ball by Hildebrandt. FCC got back into it, but did not dictate the game by any means in the first half. Once the second period got going, Cincy did look to find their stride, culminating in a finish back across TFCIIs goal, courtesy of Harrison’s forehead. The home team took the lead when, just two minutes later, Corben Bone found the intelligent run of Eric Stevenson who finished the scoring from Nippert. FCC go 3rd in the East, 4 points behind LCFC with a game in hand. Toronto are 3rd bottom with 13 points from 15 games.
Charleston Battery 1, Harrisburg City Islanders 0
In the first match at MUSC Health Stadium since LouCity broke the 31-match unbeaten streak, Charleston converted their late (82nd minute) penalty to take all 3 points. Harrisburg made the most of their 2 shots on goal, although Battery keeper Alex Tambakis was up to the task to keep a clean sheet in this one. The Battery are 4th in the East, Harrisburg are 11th with just 13 points from 14 games.
San Antonio FC 2, Colorado Springs Switchbacks 1
SAFC put the League on notice when they took the lead in the 8th minute against a championship contender in Colorado Springs. They surprised everyone when they doubled their money in the 34th minute when a parried shot fell to Stephen McCarthy who converted the rebound. COS tried to get back into things when they converted a penalty in the 50th minute, but it wasn’t enough to get anything for the third placed team, who have still taken 23 points from 12 games. San Antonio are just 3rd bottom in the West at 3-5-5.
Arizona United 2, Saint Louis FC 1
Arizona United SC has strung together back-to-back wins for the first time this season, defeating Saint Louis FC 2-1 on Saturday at the Peoria Sports Complex. United’s Tyler Blackwood and Long Tan provided the offense while the defense shut down a Saint Louis side that was one shy of matching the single-game goal-scoring record the previous week. United goalkeeper Jordan Stagmiller nearly earned a second straight clean sheet, but a defensive miscue in second-half stoppage time put Sagmiller in a predicament as Jordan Roberts put Saint Louis on the score sheet in the waning moments. Courtesy USLSoccer.com
Orlando City B 2, New York Red Bulls II 2
Despite the stinginess of the Red Bulls’ D, OCB had no trouble finding the back of the visiting Baby Bulls’ net. The home team took the lead 17 minutes into this one as the Bull’s 377 minute shutout streak came to an end. NYRBII equalized in the 38th minute and took the lead 3 minutes later to go into the half up on OCB. It looked like the visitors were going to walk away with all 3 points, but Pierre da Silva had other ideas for OCB. His goal rescued a point for the home squad as NYRBII allowed multiple goals for just the 3rd time this season. NYRBII are second in the East, 4 points behind LCFC and 2 games in hand. OCB are 8th in the conference at 5-6-2.