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The Kickabout: May 9, 2016

Hey Lou City fans, just because the Boys in Purple didn’t have a match this weekend doesn’t mean that the USL didn’t have a plethora of action (and goals) across the country. An exciting derby in Texas, an unexpected end to an unbeaten campaign in LA, and St. Louis crushing shorthanded Swope Park are some highlights of this weekend’s look around the league.

But back to last week’s matchups first:

Orlando City B 1, FC Cincinnati 3

It took a while for the match to get underway last Wednesday night in Melbourne, and the players still looked as if they were still in warming up mode 20 minutes into the match. 10 minutes into the second half however, OCB took the lead. FCC came storming back though, leveling on a tidy strike from Kenney Walker just 5 minutes from going down. They added another in the 78 th minute, and another in added time just for good measure.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 3, Tulsa Roughnecks FC 2

It was frenzied scenes from UBC Stadium in British Columbia late Wednesday, which saw Tulsa twice take the lead, and saw Vancouver equalize twice in the 67 th and 84 th minutes, and took scored again at the beginning of stoppage time to rescue all three points. A brace by Tulsa’s Sammy Ochoa was not enough to take anything away from this match, who will feel like they dropped some serious points against a top team in VWFC2. This game saw an impressive 8 different players involved in goals, with each team getting 2 assisted goals. Vancouver shelled Tulsa Keeper Jake Feener with 18 shots in all.

Los Angeles Galaxy II 3, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC 2

LA almost let this certain win get out of hand late at “home” (match held at a local stadium in LA as the StubHub Center was occupied) against a surging Switchbacks team. Captain Jack McBean netted a hat trick to take a commanding 3-0 lead with just 20 minutes left in the match. They had checked out at that point, assured of all 3 points, only to have Colorado Springs get a goal and an assist from both Saeed Robinson and Mike Seth. With the hat trick, Jack McBean goes to the top of the USL goal scorer’s chart, two ahead of our own Chandler Hoffman. It should be noted that McBean has one more appearance than Hoffman under his belt as well.

Rochester Rhinos 3, Charleston Battery 2

It was a tense match in Rochester that saw 21 fouls and 6 bookings over the 90 minutes, which had a spike in attendance to a season high 4,162. The two old stalwarts of the Eastern Conference exchanged blows early, each snagging a goal in the first 15 minutes. Rochester took the lead in the 28th minute, only to concede the match’s second equalizer 2 minutes into the second half. The Rhinos took the lead for the second and final time 15 minutes from the end to win their 3rd in a row, and are unbeaten in their last 4. Like much of last season, all of their matches have been decided by a goal or less, although they’re conceding more now than in their championship campaign of a year ago. They’ve let 8 by in their 6 matches, compared to only 15 conceded in 28 regular season games last year. Rochester improves their mark to 4-1-1 on the year, whereas Charleston is at 2-2-3, a spot behind them in 7th .

Charlotte Independence 1, FC Montreal 0

Surging Charlotte now find themselves amidst a 4-game winning streak after dispatching the bottomfeeders of the East by a single goal from the 10th minute. To their credit, FC Montreal came close to stealing their first point of the season at the death, but Independence keeper Cody Mizell made a save from point blank range to secure the W. Charlotte move to 5-2-0 on the year, still 2 points behind Lou City and a match in hand. At this point we all know where FC Montreal sit. They have only managed 2 goals on the season, and have seen their own net bulge a 9 times this year. That isn’t the worst goals allowed mark in the league, actually. The real problem for Montreal isn’t their defense, but their incompetence in the attacking third.

Pittsburgh Riverhounds 1, New York Red Bulls II 3

It was a good performance for the Red Bulls’ reserve side that saw them return to winning form after faltering to Charlotte last week. Unfortunately, it was not the goals and assists that made headlines, but rather the deplorable actions of [now former] Riverhounds’ forward Romeo Parkes. This isn’t the place to delve into it,but after a confrontation with Karl Ouimette of NYRBII in the 86 th minute which saw them both receive straight reds, Parkes cleated (attacked) Ouimette from behind whilst they were both on the way off. The club responded swiftly by terminating Parkes’ contract the following morning. NYRB go to 4-1-2 on the year, 3 points behind Louisville and a match in hand. Pittsburgh’s problems aren’t going to get any better, as Parkes contributed more than anyone else to their goal scoring potential. They remain winless on the year and have a record of 0-3- 3.

Richmond Kickers 1, Wilmington Hammerheads FC 0

The Kickers continued their winning ways last Saturday, after grinding out another 1-0 victory, their third of the season. The goal itself came off of a cross/shot from Braeden Troyer of Richmond that deflected off of the far post and deflected off of Hammerheads defender Ashani Faircloth, whose failed clearing attempt left him without control to stop the ball from bouncing off him and into his own net. Other than that, it was a pretty physical contest which saw 5 yellows in total. The result is another disappointing for the Hammerheads, whose only 2 wins have come against OCB and FC Montreal. They fall to 2-3-2 on the year, where the Kickers move to 4-2-1. Their key is to post clean sheets, they’ve only one once after conceding a goal, and are 3-0-1 in matches where they keep the opposition from scoring.

Harrisburg City Islanders 1, FC Cincinnati 1

In a surprising turn of form, Harrisburg City looked to have taken control of this match in the 17th minute, after a tasty ball from Paul Wilson set up Craig Foster with a straightforward finish over Hildebrandt. Cincinnati left it late indeed, needing until the 81 st minute to find an equalizer, which came in the form of a rebound off of a FCC corner. McLauchlin mopped up the failed clearance and turned theshot toward goal, which Harrisburg keeper Nick Noble could get a hand on, but not keep out. FCC are unbeaten in their last 4, but the real problem area for them is defense. They’ve failed to post a single clean sheet yet this season, but their offense is keeping them in matches. They’ve scored 2+ goals in 5 of 8 matches and failed to get on the board just once. Their record of 4-2-2 is good for 4th in the East. Harrisburg sits fourth from bottom with a record of 2-4-1. The good news is they’ve scored as many or more than any other team outside the top 5 in the Conference, but they’ve conceded a 3rd worst of 12 goals in the conference.

Orlando City B 2, Bethlehem Steel FC 2

Bethlehem Steel stormed out of the gate, grabbing 2 goals courtesy of Fabian Herbers in the first 15 minutes. OCB answered almost immediately with a distance strike from Tyler Turner, assisted by Michael Cox. 7 minutes into the second half, it was Cox’s turn to score, assisted by Turner. A BSFC free kick from distance almost found its way into the back of Earl Edward’s net, but a diving save from the OCB goal minder kept things level, where they would finish. Bethlehem sit 8 th at the moment, at 2-2-3, and OCB’s record moves to 2-5- 2, 2 spots behind the Steel.

Portland Timbers 2 3, Real Monarchs SLC 1

Portland got to play at the senior side’s Providence Park for the first time this season, and they made the most of it. Portland scored early on in the 18th minute, and then nothing really happened for about another hour. In the 80th minute, Portland struck again, with a goal from Neco Brett. Real Monarchs clawed one back 6 minutes later, which was by the hand (well foot) of UofL product Andrew Brody, his first professional career goal. Any rally for the Monarchs was laid to rest when Brett sunk the back end of his brace in added time. Timbers 2 keeper Kendall McIntosh turned in a notable performance, turning away all but one of the 7 shots he faced. Portland needs to keep up their winning ways if they aim to make the playoffs, they sit 7 th at 3-4-1, but have played the second most matches in the West. Real Monarchs are 10th at 2-3-2.

San Antonio FC 2, Rio Grande Valley FC 3

The first “Southern Texas Duel” between these brand new clubs certainly did not disappoint. In one of the most eventful and entertaining second halves of soccer you’ll see, these teams scored all of the match’s goals. The seal wasn’t broken until the 69th minute, when a great pass from Robert Cassner to substitute Roy Lovejoy (probably the best name in the league) unlocked San Antonio’s Defense and broke the deadlock in favor of the visiting ‘Toros.’ It was RGV who netted the second goal as well, just 2 and a half minutes later, via the right foot of Mauro Manotas. San Antonio didn’t look to take this one lying down, however and came surging back with a pair of goals in the 79 th and 84 th minutes. After a lengthy stoppage in the 89 th minute for a hard head-to- ground collision that saw RGV forward Dzenan Cadic helped off the pitch, 7 minutes of stoppage time was added on. Houston Dynamo loanee Lovejoy sidefooted a bouncing effort by Matt Cardone from 23 yards out in the 95th minute to take all three points for the Toros. Its certain to say there will be little in the way of Love or joy for the Toros in San Antonio in the foreseeable future. Hopefully this proves to be a seminal moment in this fledgling rivalry, and that these clubs keep producing these kinds of entertaining and exasperating matches. RGV’s win takes them to 3-2-1 on the year, while SAFC falls to the 2-3-2 mark.

Saint Louis FC 3, Swope Park Rangers 0

St. Louis is good. There, I said it. I thought Swope Park was better than they were letting on, but they’re plagued by the instability in their squad that every MLS reserve side has. According to ReportingKC.com the usual striker for SPR, Daniel Salloi, was apparently back in his native Hungary working on some schoolwork. At any rate, StLFC took a hold on this match early and didn’t look back. A goal in the 11th for St. Louis was nearly cancelled out by a Oumar Ballo effort in the 21st minute, but it came back off the crossbar. A questionable foul call in the 38th minute gave way to Chad Bond’s millimeter-perfect free kick goal over the Rangers’ wall. Ballo was forced into a professional foul when StLFC’s Drew Connor picked up a poor clearance from SPR, earning him his second yellow of the match just before the break. Saint Louis came out and scored another in the 52nd minute to just rub salt in the wound. Chad Bond did see red in the 79th minute, but the die had already been cast. Saint Louis moves into third in the West, with a 3-2-2 record and a two games in hand on first placed LA. SPR is fourth-bottom in the West at 2-3-1

Arizona United SC 0, OKC Energy FC 0

There may not have been any goals in this match between these two mid-to- lower table team, but that’s not for the lack of trying. A total of 24 shots were split evenly, and the shots on goal came out 5-4 in favor of the visiting Energy. There were a handful of good saves, but the score was down to the back lines by most accounts. Arizona is 5 th bottom in the West at 2-3- 2, and OKC is 3 rd worst at 1-1-3, although they only have the 5 games under their belt.

Los Angeles Galaxy II 0, Sacramento Republic FC 2

It looks like Sacramento have righted the ship, ending their 3 game losing skid against the best of the West last Saturday. In the first match in which they scored more than one goal, they also succeeded in posting their 4th clean sheet of the year, against the most prolific offense in the USL, no less. The uptick in goal production hasn’t come from a raise in the shot numbers, just some higher quality looks that had previously been missing in The Republic. Sacramento only put 3 shots on frame in LA. This match ends Los Dos’ unbeaten start to the season as well as the first match they have been held scoreless. LA remain tops in the West at 4-1- 4, and the Republic are 4 th at 3-3-1.

Orange County Blues FC 0, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC 3

If you looked at these team’s form on paper, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Orange County had the upper hand, not losing since April 2nd . The Switchbacks on the other hand had lost 2 of 3 and were on their second leg of a west coast road trip. All that seemed to melt away, however as they took control within the first 10 minutes of the match, scoring at the 9:27 mark. Netting again in the 45 th minute, they took an imposing lead into the break. OCB only managed a paltry 3 shots on goal, none of which troubled Devala Gorrick between the posts for CS. Martin Maybin scored again 3 minutes from the end for Colorado Springs just because. OC Blues are 6 th in the West after this encounter, tied with 3 other teams with 10 points, and have only played 6. The Switchbacks have 9 from 5 matches and are 8th .