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The Kickabout: May 2, 2016

This week’s review of the world’s largest soccer league goes alllllll the way back to last Monday night, when Orlando City B traveled to Harrisburg to take on the City Islanders.

Harrisburg City Islanders 2, Orlando City B 1

Harrisburg bounced back after losing to Lou City in disheartening fashion by beating OCB with 2 goals in 17 minutes in the first half. UofL product Shane Campbell made a substitute appearance for Harrisburg City, earning himself a yellow in his 8-minute outing. Harrisburg City Midfielder Bobby Warshaw saw red in the 85th minute, after trying to bicycle kick a corner kick, but caught OCB midfielder Kiegan Smith in the face, drawing blood. The result brought Harrisburg just their second win of the season, and second win against OCB- sweeping the side in the two matches they play against one another. OCB’s points total holds firm at just 4 points from 6 contests.

Real Monarchs SLC 0, Seattle Sounders FC 2 0

Sounders 2 ventured from the friendly confines of Starfire for the first time this season, and despite 17 shots between the two sides, only 4 found its way on frame last Tuesday in Rio Tinto Stadium. There were some spectacular saves by the goal minders, most notably a Tyler Miller fingertip-effort to preserve the S2 clean sheet in the 33rd minute. The result sees Sounders extend their unbeaten streak to three matches (1-0-2) and go to 1-3-2 on the season at this point. Sounders 2 still are in dire need of goals, however. In the 6 matches played through last Tuesday, they’ve only manage to find the back of the net 3 times. The Monarchs move to 2-2-2 on the season, good for 6th in the West.

Swope Park Rangers 1, Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 2

Kyle Grieg recorded a goal and an assist for the ‘Caps’s reserve side last Wednesday in his belated return to his hometown of Kansas City. Swope Park took early control of this one, netting a Kris Tyrpak goal in the 16th minute. Grieg scored an unassisted goal in the 30th minute, and assisted Ben McKendry in the 54th to take all 3 points from a losing position. Despite the final scoreline, SPR had 2 more shots on goal than VWFC2 (6-4), but ‘Caps 2 keeper Spencer Richey had 5 different things to say about that. The result saw Vancouver consolidate its hold on second in the West, 2 points behind fellow unbeatens LA Galaxy II and with 2 matches in hand. Swope Park sits slap dab in the middle of the West at 2-2-1

Rochester Rhinos 2, Harrisburg City Islanders 1

A little over 2,500 bothered to turn up to see the defending USL Champions take to the turf at Sahlen’s Stadium last Saturday in upstate New York. Despite letting in an uncharacteristic goal in the 85th minute, Rochester maintains a conference-best goals against defense. The late consolation proved too-little too-late for the Vanilla Islanders, who conceded themselves in the 23rd and 59th minutes to the Rhinos. The Rhinos are unbeaten in their last 3, scoring 4 in the last 2 matches. The Rhinos sit 5th in the East, with 10 points from 5 matches. Harrisburg continue to putz along at 2-4-0.

Richmond Kickers 1, Toronto FC II 0

Despite a combined 19 shots, it was the first effort on target for Richmond that proved the game winner, in the 10th minute from City Stadium. It was a busy outing between the sticks for Kickers keeper Matt Turner, who Turner’d (I couldn’t help myself) away all 5 shots that came his way. Richmond continue their strong start to the season, going 3-2-1 on the year, good for 4th. Toronto FC II continue to have problems on D, letting 8 by in 5 games. They sit 11th in the East.

FC Cincinnati 1, Wilmington Hammerheads FC 1

FCC Keeper Mitch Hildebrandt came off his line to save a PK in the 23rd minute (WHICH IS AGAINST THE RULES), and then proceeded to concede a goal off the resulting corner. Karma is, ya know. The match was an up-and-down, back-and-forth affair which saw no less than 30 (!) shots, 14 of which were on target, and 17 fouls, which yielded 3 cautions. Hildebrandt will be catching headlines for his PK save, but Hammerheads’ keeper John Smits ought to be the Man of the Match for his 8 save performance. FCC have 10 points from 6 matches, and Wilmington are holding steady at 2-2-2.

Charleston Battery 1, Pittsburgh Riverhounds 1

With an 18-3 shots advantage, Charleston will have felt like it was two points dropped Saturday night from MUSC Health Stadium. Pittsburgh only needed 2 shots on goal to secure the draw, a match in which a familiar face in Romeo Parkes scored in first, in the 30th minute. Charleston took 65 minutes to crack the enigmatic Pittsburgh D, anchored by a 6-save performance from Gilstrap (which sounds like something you leave behind at the gym). Charleston are 7th in the conference, with a 2-1-3 record, and Pittsburgh remain winless at 0-2-3, better than only Montreal FC.

Rio Grande Valley FC 0, Los Angeles Galaxy II 2

Los Dos broke back into the win column Saturday at RGV, thanks to a goal 46 seconds into the second half from “Captain Jack” McBean, and a 52nd minute effort from Ariel Lassiter stitched up all all three points in LA’s first road win of the season. LA continue their unbeaten start to the season at 3-0-4, and RGV’s inaugural season record moves to a respectable 2-2-1.

San Antonio FC 3, Tulsa Roughnecks FC 1

Two highlight-reel goals punctuated a dominant performance in front of a packed Toyota Park in San Antonio. After coming out of the half at one-all, Rafael Castillo unloaded on a 30-yard effort in the 68th minute that Roughnecks keeper Alex Mangels couldn’t manage to keep out. With the final whistle just 2 minutes away, SAFC’s Jason Johnson found the ball at his feet at the edge of the box and pulled out a tidy chip to put it over poorly-positioned Mangels to see the hosts win this one going away. SAFC moves to the 2-2-2 mark on the year, and Tulsa is still in the basement of the West at 1-4-1. At least you’re not Montreal, Tulsa.

Arizona United SC 1, Portland Timbers 2 1

Portland recorded their first draw of the season last Saturday out in AZ. They only needed 41 seconds to find the back of the net, by way of a Victor Arbodela goal. T2 only managed one more shot on goal for the rest of the match. It took another 78 minutes and 8 seconds for Arizona to equalize, despite outshooting the visitors 16-9. The ref called 21 fouls in this contest, only taking 2 names. Portland seem to have righted the ship, after losing their first 3 matches by a combined 2-7. They’ve taken 7 points from their last 4. They’re 2-4-1 on the year, while Arizona are plugging along at 2-3-1.

Sacramento Republic FC 0, Orange County Blues FC 1

The stats for this one aren’t important; the shot numbers were 5-6 in favor of the victors. What’s important is that these two teams are headed in opposite directions. OC Blues dropped their first two games of the season to good sides (Vancouver 2 and StLFC) and have drawn against La Galaxy II and have won their last three matches to really find their stride in the unpredictable West. Bolstered by 3 straight clean sheets from former Rhinos keeper Brandon Miller, OC Blues have won their last three by a 1-0 scoreline. Sacramento on the other hand are headed downhill. After winning their first 2 of the season by 1-0 lines, they’ve drawn 1 and lost 3 straight, 2 of them at home. What is doing them in is not a shoddy defense (conceding once in each of the 3 losses) but an inability to create and convert promising goalscoring chances. If the 2014 USL champions want to make it to the playoffs, they need to strap on their shooting boots.

New York Red Bulls II 0, Charlotte Independence 2

134 people (most of them lost, I presume) witnessed the Red Bulls’ unbeaten start to the season come to an unceremonious end Sunday at Red Bull Arena. A heavily-rotated side which saw 9 MLS players start for the Baby Bulls meant that the players whose chemistry that built the streak were not the ones to defend it this particular match. Taking nothing away from Charlotte, who have cropped up surprising results in their season and a bit of existence, beating Rochester (and Lou City) last year, as well as advancing pretty far in the US Open Cup a year ago. This particular result sees the Independence leapfrog NYRBII to second in the conference (BEHIND US STILL) with 12 points. NYRBII holds at 3rd with 11 points, although both these teams have a game in hand on us.

Orlando City B 1, FC Montreal 0

If both of these teams could have lost this game, I’m sure they would have found a way. There’s no stats on this one available, probably because nobody bothered to show up. OCB did score early on (10th min) and then shortly thereafter had a man sent off (18th minute). FC Montreal, being the burning dumpster fire that they are, could not scrap together an attack to equalize. In fairness, they are from Quebec so we can’t expect too much out of them. They go to 0-5-0 on the year with a goal differential of -6. OCB is not far ahead at 2-4-1.

Oklahoma City Energy 1, Seattle Sounders 2 1

Seattle returned to Starfire Sports Complex on Sunday night to host the Energy. The Energy peppered S2’s defense with twenty (20!) shots, but just nine were on goal and only one went in, and that was laaaaate game sub Jordan Rideout’s lone shot, taken at the death. The Sounders were much more conservative, if that’s what you want to call it, with just four shots of their own, two being on target, and one hitting the back of the net in the first half courtesy of Victor Mansaray. The draw did little for either team, other than to preserve their places just one and two notches about basement-dwelling Tulsa. Seattle is now 1-3-3 through seven games, while Oklahoma City is 1-1-2 through four. The Western Conference is weird.