Round 1 of the 2015 Playoffs is in the books. Louisville City know whom they’ll play on Saturday. It was, all in all, a fun weekend to watch the USL, but in case you couldn’t do that, or just forgot/blacked out, here’s a recap of the four opening round matches:
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC 2-0 Seattle Sounders FC 2
Colorado picked up two early goals to and ground out a hard-fought win against the Lil’ Sounders in the opening game on Friday night. Houston Dynamo loanee Chandler Hoffman scored the opener off a nice pass from rookie Miguel Gonzalez in the 14th minute, and then defender JJ Greer scored off a corner kick in the 22nd to round out the scoring.
Seattle probably feels done a bit dirty by the refs, as the second Switchbacks goal was initially disallowed for offside before the center referee reversed the call. In the second half, a Seattle penalty was rescinded in the second half by the same guy. Yikes.
The Switchbacks will face Oklahoma City at Taft Stadium on Sunday, Oct 4th. Three Colorado Springs players picked up yellow cards in this match, which will be an interesting development to watch as the USL Media Guide is silent with regard to how suspension for yellow card accumulation works in the playoffs. In most tournament formats, two yellows = suspension in the next game.
New York Red Bulls II 4-2 Pittsburgh Riverhounds
The game of the round. New York came from behind twice before scoring THREE in extra time to advance past the Otters to Round Two in front of hundreds of people who happened to stop by.
Pittsburgh forward Willie Hunt opened the scoring off a header in the first half despite the Sugar Frees owning most of the ball. In the second, New York equalized off a great setup from Leo Stoltz to Manolo Sanchez. The score held at one apiece after ninety minutes, so the teams headed to extra time.
Willie Hunt again found the net off a corner kick in the fifth minute of extra time, but Karl Ouimette equalized six minutes later off another set piece. Ouimette found the net again in the second overtime period, again off a corner, to put the Baby Bulls ahead for the first time all match, and Dan Bedoya sealed the deal on his own just before time ran out.
New York travels to Rochester, Actual New York for their second round game. The Baby Bulls took twenty five shots to get their four goals in this match. I kind of feel like that’s not going to happen in Real New York this weekend.
Charleston Battery 2-1 Richmond Kickers
The oldest persisting rivalry in American soccer, Charleston v. Richmond lived up to its billing, at least in extra time. A fairly tight ninety minutes passed without either team hitting the net, though not for lack of trying on the part of the Battery, who logged 13 shots.
After such a hard fought and defensive regular period, extra time opened up quickly. Richmond struck first off a brilliant play by Own Goal to put them in front at the end of the first overtime period. However, Dane Kelly struck early for Charleston in the second overtime period to equalize, and substitute defender Forrest “Ted” Lasso picked up the winner in the 114th minute off a corner kick to earn the victory for the Battery.
Charleston heads north to visit us here in Louisville on Saturday. Navion Boyd will not be available as he picked up a second yellow card in extra time and will be suspended for the Round 2 match.
Sacramento Republic FC 0-1 LA Galaxy II
Sacramento fans are pretty upset about this one, and maybe should be. LA took three shots all night, one (a Bryan Olivera penalty kick) went in, and they won. Sacramento took eleven shots in the second half alone, and still lost. Six yellow cards were handed out, three per side. The penalty won by LA’s Jack McBean was probably a soft one, but contact in the penalty area is always a dicey proposition, and Sacramento paid the price for it.
The most fun part of this game was probably in the first half when RoRo Lopez threw a throw-in attempt directly at LA’s Alejandro Covarrubias’s face because he was defending the throw like it was an in-bounds play in basketball. Hilarious and relatable!
The second half was barely played as LA’s contingent spent more time laying down motioning for the training on the field than they did playing on it. That said, unless the referee is going to do something about simulation, or handing out harsher penalties for fouls, then LA played the smarter, if more cynical and wholly unwatchable, game. Too bad for the Republic, but these are the times we live in.
LA will make the super long trip to Orange County for their round two match on Saturday.
I’d just like to take this opportunity to point out that while I might have missed on some scorelines in my preview last week, I was right all the way on results. You probably didn’t read this far down the page, so I don’t feel bad about gloating about how clairvoyant I sort of am. No one will read this! Except maybe you, and I thank you for that.