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The Kickabout: April 11, 2016

It was another (mostly) good weekend around the USL. 32 goals from around the league. A great strike in Oklahoma City. A win for FC Cincinnati. You can’t have it all, I suppose.

Portland Timbers 2 0, Rio Grande Valley FC 2

RGVFC opened its scoring account Friday night out in Portland, scoring two in the first half to deny the Timbers’ B-side their first points of the season. Portland held a 12-8 shot advantage, but only managed to turn two of the twelve on frame. It was just the “Toros” second match in action this season, and Portland’s fourth. #WesternConferenceSchedule

LA Galaxy II 1, Orange County Blues FC 1

A soft 73 minute set piece goal from 25 yards out saw the Blues earn their first point of the season, taking them off of a strong LA Galaxy II side. The match wasn’t as cagey as the 7 total shots, 36 (!) fouls and 7 bookings may suggest. Unbeaten LA maintains their position as the leaders of the bottom-heavy Western Conference, with upstarts Swope Park Rangers only a point back and with a game in hand.

Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC 2, Arizona United SC 0

A 25-shot match in total made for an end-to-end home opener in Colorado Springs for the Switchbacks. Northern Ireland national Martin Maybin headed home a great back-post cross that proved a game-winner in the 22nd minute. The Switchbacks have picked up where they left off last regular season, taking six points from their two matches and sit in fifth, whereas Arizona has only managed 3 from 4.

Richmond Kickers 1, Rochester Rhinos 0

Richmond scored on their only shot of the game to deal Rochester their first loss in USL action since August 1 of last year, their only point-less outing of the 2015 season. Rochester shouts for a foul fell on deaf ears as collision near the top of the box in the 60th minute found the Rhino’s goalkeeper Grinwis on the ground and the ball unpossessed. Kickers Midfielder Yedai Imura knocked the ball into the empty net to win a windy and cold affair. Rochester played a Rochester kind of game of possessing the ball but Richmond’s back line held firm and kept the visitors from finding much space in the box. The result sends Richmond to the top of the Eastern Conference table, level on points with Charleston, and just a goal ahead on differential.

FC Cincinnati presented by Toyota 2, Charlotte Independence 1

Ugh. As much as I don’t want to say it, Cincinnati played a pretty good match. Both of their goals were pretty good. Scissor kick from Sean Okoli in the first half. Good header in the second. 14,658 in attendance for their home opener. Should be a good game next week. Next review.

Charleston Battery 2, Wilmington Hammerheads FC 1

Charleston opened the scoring 60 seconds into the match from a long throw in into the box that was headed home by Romario Williams. It was a brilliantly headed equalizer for Wilmington off of a distanced free kick in the 33rd minute that saw this match head into the break level. It looked to be wrapping up that way, but Battery defender Taylor Mueller had other ideas. In the 84th minute, he scored the third headed goal of the night, lifting the Battery by the Hammerheads, and dealing Wilmington their first loss of the season.

FC Montreal 1, Toronto FC II 2

Despite neither team having played since the opening weekend, it was a hectic and exciting final 30 minutes that featured the 3 goals of this match. The first was courtesy of a 40 yard run from TFCII’s Malik Johnson who shrugged of several challenges before dancing by Maxime Crepeau in goal and slotting the ball home. A textbook give-and-go from Montreal gave Ballou just enough time and space to chip the charging Toronto keeper to equalize in the 80th minute, and Toronto’s Raheem Edwards squeezed the game winner by Crepeau’s near post in the 85th minute to take all three points in this one. The result leaves Montreal with nothing to show for their first two matches of the season, and Toronto FC II gets their first win in their second try.

OKC Energy FC 2, St. Louis FC 2

The points may have been shared in this one but Coy Craft, the 18 year old FC Dallas loanee, stole the headlines, netting a brace for the Energy in his debut. His 60th minute second goal is one for the highlight reels, a left footed looping strike off the bounce from 30 yards out that was found the side of the net, just out of reach of St. Louis keeper Mark Pais. The draw gives StLFC its fourth point from as many matches, and yields OKC its first point from its second match.

Tulsa Roughnecks FC 0, Real Monarchs SLC 1

A shoving match in the 57th minute found Roughnecks forward Sammy Ochoa unceremoniously (and a bit surprisingly) awarded a red card. The disadvantage worked itself out, culminating in a Monarchs winner 8 minutes later. Roughnecks Keeper Alexander Mangels turned in a heroic match, coming up with seven big saves. The Monarchs collected their seventh point from three matches, where Tulsa have to make due with just three points from their first three encounters.

San Antonio FC 1, Swope Park Rangers 1

Swope Park had scored a combined 3 goals in the last 5 minutes of their first two matches. They didn’t want to leave it that late here, netting a point-blank goal after just 78 ticks of the second hand. SAFC went on to produce 17 shots in the match, finding the back of the net once, just 3 minutes before the end of the first half. San Antonio FC take up where the San Antonio Scorpions left off in the NASL after ceasing operations at the conclusion of last season, finding a great home at Toyota Field. San Antonio and Swope Park both remain unbeaten.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 0, Sacramento Republic FC 0

Both teams are probably happy to settle for this scoreless draw. Sacramento turned in its third clean sheet from three matches, and Vancouver keeps their goals against total at 1 on the season as well. Both of these clubs dropped their first points of the season, going to 2-0-1 on the year. If Sacramento want to repeat their season from 2014, they’re going to need to strap on their shooting boots. They’ve only managed to find the back of the net twice in their three matches so far.

New York Red Bulls II 4, Bethlehem Steel FC 0

The sugar-free red bulls, or the pink calves, or whatever we’re calling them, are for real. They have more goals than they do fans. They’ve put up 8 goals in three matches, conceding just two in the same span. Bethlehem gifted NYRB2 their first goal when defender Josh Yaro shassed the ball into his own net in the first minute. New York’s Alex Muyl doubled the lead just three minutes later, and the Baby Bulls’ Anatole Abang scored again before halftime to effectively seal the game with 45 minutes left to play. Derrick Etienne added one more in the second half, as if that was necessary.