I would say it was another great weekend in the USL, but Cincinnati won and there were 7 draws (yawn). For those interested in the goings-on of the Western Conference, there was a tasty fixture that featured 7 goals and a swing in momentum atop the table.
Harrisburg City Islanders 2, Charleston Battery 2
It was a typical up-and-down match for temperamental Harrisburg, who have been able to find goals, scoring in every match this season, but are not able to keep the opposition from scoring, allowing 15 goals in 8 matches, the most in the conference. Charleston on the other hand, played well. They scored 3 which ties their season high in a match, and they have been making the most of their chances. They allowed 14 shots to Harrisburg, which may sound some alarm bells, especially since they only had 7 themselves. This match in particular looked to be headed for a draw after Harrisburg netted their second equalizer thanks to Paul Wilsons second goal on the night. Ultimately Austin Savage took all three points for the visitors in the 80th minute.
Wilmington Hammerheads 1, Charlotte Independence 1
An ill-advised tackle at the edge of the box saw Wilmington awarded a penalty kick in the 14th minute, which was subsequently converted by Bruno Perone. Wilmington would only get one more shot on goal in the whole match. Charlotte would go on to equalize in the 43rd minute, after a calamitous series of events after a corner left Hammerheads keeper John Smits chasing a ball down to his left, but could not corral it, and Independence forward Brian Brown finished off the opportunity from a narrow angle just outside the 6-yard box. The gaff was really the only thing that could be pinned on the keeper, as his 4 saves kept the hosts in this one. The result sees Charlotte’s unbeaten streak move to 5 matches.
Toronto FC II 1, Richmond Kickers 0
Toronto registered their first home win of the season last Wednesday at the Ontario Soccer Centre, taking down a strong side in Richmond. Toronto controlled much more of the game than their 3 shots on goal would lead you to believe, controlling their attacking third in the closing phases of the contest. Their winner came in the 75th minute, from a long ball out of TFCII’s own half, controlled by Salvador Bernal Flores, before he took a touch in the box and hit it by Matt Turner, who got a hand on it but couldn’t keep it out. The win snaps TFCII’s 4 match winless streak, and is only the second time Richmond has been shut out this year.
Rio Grande Valley Toros 1, Real Monarchs SLC 1
UofL product Ricardo Velazco got things underway early last Friday out in the Rio Grande Valley, converting a penalty in the 6th minute for the Monarchs. RGV equalized in the 58th minute, as the visiting Monarchs side seemed to lose their focus. Danny Acosta earned himself a second yellow in the 69th minute, and Kevaugh Frater got a straight red in the 85th minute for pulling RGV defender Kevin Garcia down on the endline. The Toros could not take advantage of the 11 on 9 advantage and the match finished level. RGV sits 6th in the West at 3-2-2 and Real Monarchs are 2-3-3 on the year, failing to win in their last 5.
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC 1, Portland Timbers 2 0
It was another ground out win at home Friday night for the solid Western Conference upstarts, their 3rd home win of 3 for the campaign. Probably the altitude. Not much to say about the match, pretty bleh in general. The winner came in the 52nd minute from Mike Seth. The Switchbacks are currently 3rd in the west, 2 points off of top. Portland sit 7th at 3-5-1.
New York Red Bulls II 1, Richmond Kickers 1
It was a tense match at Red Bull Arena, where for the last 30 minutes it looked as if the hosts were going to win another match over the Kickers, thanks to a 67th minute goal from Anatole Abang. Richmond found an equalizer in added time to steal a point over NYRBII. 31 total fouls in the match only yielded a single booking, surprising considering the competitive nature of the game. New York is 2 points behind LCFC, and Richmond sit 7th at 4-3-2.
FC Cincinnati 1, Pittsburgh Riverhounds 0
By now everyone knows that FCC set a new USL attendance record against last weekend, but what did we expect to happen when they give away hundreds of tickets and sell the rest for $1? At any rate, the first match of this new “rivalry” wasn’t much of a match, especially considering Pitt was without Romeo Parkes, and also they’re just bad. Cincy only managed the one goal, in the 27th minute, although they turned 9 of the 11 shots on goal. On the other side of the coin, Mauricio Vargas (who replaces Romeo Parkes for the best name on the team) posted 8 saves for the ‘Hounds. Pittsburgh continue to struggle, only getting 2 shots on goal. Cincy are second to (read as ‘worse than’) Louisville City in the East, three points back. Pittsburgh’s campaign of mediocrity continues, theyre second bottom at 0-4-3.
Rochester Rhinos 0, Charlotte Independence 0
It was another boring match in Rochester, par for the course. They seemed to stop letting in goals for the time being, although they also lost their shooting touch (if they ever really had it). There were a few good chances for the Independence, namely in the 59th and 67th minute. Rochester got the most promising opportunity of the match in the 33rd minute when Michael Garzi got his head on a cross, but it was held by Mizell. The draw is the second of such result in as many games for Charlotte, and the result snaps Rochester’s 3 match winning streak. Charlotte sits 3rd in the conference at 17 points from 9 matches, and Rochester are 6th with 14 points from 7 matches.
Charleston Battery 2, Toronto FC II 0
It was a 10th minute goal by Romario Wiliiams that proved the winner in this one. Williams is 4th on the league scoring charts after the weekend with 6 goals on the year. Charleston picked up right where they left off after the intermission, getting a goal just 3 minutes into the second half after a whiffed clearance meant a ball fell to the feet of Maikel Chang, who put it away neatly. Charleston have earned a strong 15 points from 9 matches while Toronto is 10th at 2-4-2
Swope Park Rangers 2, Tulsa Roughnecks FC 1
The back end of the brace by Canadian midfielder Tyler Pasher in the 81st minute saw the Rangers by the Roughnecks at Children’s Mercy Victory Field Saturday night. USL player of the week Sammy Ochoa scored then-equalizer for the Roughnecks in the 79th minute, but it wasn’t enough. Swope Park finally returns to winning form after failing to win since April 2nd, 4 games ago. They’re sitting at 3-3-1, and Tulsa is 3rd from the bottom at 2-6-1.
Orange County Blues FC 1, Arizona United SC 1
Despite outnumbering Arizona’s shots by 13 to 4, they only had one more shot on goal over the 90 minutes from Cali. OC Blues managed to hit the frame 5 times throughout the game, and they only managed to find the back of the net once, in the 78th minute. It will feel much like the Blues dropped 2 points, despite having to come from behind to equalize. They were in control for much of the contest. OCB holds at 7th in the very congested West at 3-3-2, and Arizona are 4th bottom at 2-3-3
Sacramento Republic FC 2, Seattle Sounders FC 2 0
In their second of three meetings this season, Sacramento took their second win from Seattle. Former San Jose Quakes player Thomas Thompson turned in a brace to secure the team’s second straight 2-0 win. There was a hectic 29 shots in the competition, 9 of which found their way on goal. Sounders 2 continue their disappointing season in the basement of the West at 1-5-3. Sacramento are coming together at 4-3-1, good for 4th in the conference.
Bethlehem Steel FC 2, FC Montreal 1
Credit where it’s due, Montreal was leading for about 45 minutes in this one, before a pair of penalty kicks in the 69th and 76th minutes brought about their undoing. They had to get back where they belong, in the loss column. FCM only managed 2 shots on goal, compared to Bethlehem’s 7. Nothing much to say on this one, guys. Bethlehem are in the middle of the East at 3-2-3. We know where Montreal is.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 4, Los Angeles Galaxy II 3
In a clash of the Western Conference leaders, this match promised a lot and certainly delivered. There were goals early, goals late, and goals in between. Kyle Grieg and Jaime Villareal both had braces for their respective teams. Grieg bagged his in the first 17 minutes, and followed by an Alphonso Davies smash-and-grab goal to put the ‘caps up 3-0 within the first 20 from British Columbia. LA struck back with a spectacular Villareal free-kick effort in the 35th minute. LA came out very strong in the second half, but it wasn’t until the 81st minute until a team hit pay dirt again, which happened to be Brett Levis for the Whitecaps via a rebounded shot off of Los Dos keeper Diop. Down 4-1 and late on, LA threw everything at the seemingly hopeless match, finding a goal in the 83rd minute off of a fine Denzel Slager strike form inside the 18. They found another consolation goal in added time, but it proved academic. The Whitecaps move into first place in the West for the first time this season, a point ahead of the Galaxy reserves, and 3 big games in hand. LA have now lost 2 in a row, although their schedule gets easier over the next few weeks.
Oklahoma City Energy FC 1, San Antonio FC 1
San Antonio FC got up early in OKC, scoring in the 18th minute from a Dany Garcia strike. The Energy netted the equalizer just minutes from the half, via a Danni Konig effort. The 21 shots failed to yield more than 6 shots on goals in totality. The draw is OKC’s 4th such result on the year, where San Antonio makes due with 9 points from 8 matches.