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The Kickabout: Round 1

USL Matchday 1 Roundup

Hello, everyone! I’m happy to be back and contributing a regular piece to the website. Over the course of the 2016 season I’ll be bringing a recap of the rest of the league’s action. But before I delve into the results, a few things I should go over:

  • Austin Aztex are sitting this season out, due to not being able to find a suitable stadium that meets league requirements. The high school football stadium they were playing in last year was damaged in the flooding there last summer, and the high school stadium they moved to doesn’t permit the sale of alcohol, so this season is over before it started.
  • St. Louis has moved over to the western conference. All the best to them playing those MLS 2 teams and some long nights out on the left coast. We still play them twice, but it’s not like there were any playoff implications in last season’s matchups anyway (burn).
  • Since the Western Conference has 15 teams, one of them will have a bye each week. San Antonio FC was that team this week. They start their season next Sunday against Sounders 2.

Now lets look at last weekend’s action. It was a crazy and exciting opening weekend across the USL which featured no fewer than 5 second half stoppage time goals, 2 of which dealt St. Louis and Cincinnati their opening losses of the campaign. Awesome. There were also a lot of names taken this weekend, with 28 bookings, including a red card.

Friday night had two matches, each yielding a 1-0 result for the away team.

FC Montreal 0, Bethlehem Steel 1

It was slightly hilarious watching what seemed like 200 fans watching this match in the Stade Olpmpique in Montreal. It was Union loanee Fabian Herbers that notched the only goal of this match, giving the new club their first win in their first competitive match.

Seattle Sounders 2 0, Sacramento Republic FC 1

It was again the away team netting the win on opening night, as Sacramento’s Thomas Stewart converted the first penalty of the season in the 62 minute. S2 squandered several promising chances in the second half both before and after Sacramento drew the spot kick.

Saturday is when the rest of the league’s teams got down to brass tacks:

New York Red Bulls II 2, Toronto FC II 2

New York turned in 19 shots at home, putting 10 on frame. Toronto needed just 3 shots on goal to take away the draw.

Richmond Kickers 3, Harrisburg City Islanders 1

Richmond scored the first three goals in this contest in the first 50 minutes of the match. The game did feature 22 total shots, split 12/10 in favor of the Kickers.

Charleston Battery 1, FC Cincinnati 0

Here’s the thing, FC Cincy. Stoppage time goals are a cruel mistress. Or the best thing to happen to your SG since the smoke grenade. Cincinnati took this one right in the Pride. You needed to learn the hard way that you can’t beat a few Scandinavian clubs down in Florida and think you’re a USL contender. Get used to it.

Orlando City B 1, Wilmington Hammerheads 2

Wilmington saw off new club OCB thanks to the game winning goal from 35 year old former Premier League midfielder Liam Miller in the 66th minute after a rain delay.

OKC Energy FC 1, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC 2

Apparently there’s a rivalry here, although Oklahoma City and Colorado Springs aren’t exactly spitting distance from each other. Former Sounders youth system product Miguel Gonzalez notched the game winner, with 2015 Golden Boot runner up Dani Konig netting a conselation goal for the Energy.

Tulsa Roughnecks FC 2, Rio Grande Valley FC 0

The new club Rio Grande Valley, apparently nicknamed the “Toros” dropped their first match in club history to a team called “the Roughnecks” I know Lou City played them last season, but jeez that’s a stupid name. The game had 19 first half shots, and the second Tulsa goal 8 seconds into the second half off of a classy volley from Carlos Martinez.

Swope Park Rangers 2, Portland Timbers 2 1

Over 7,000 fans in Sporting Park attested to the appetite for soccer in Kansas City. “The Zoo,” as SPR Supporters Group call themselves, were in full voice as the Rangers added a second goal in extra time to seemingly put away T2, but Matt Besler’s younger brother, Nick stole a consolation goal away for the Timbers reserves (IN KANSAS CITY) to take the luster off of the Rangers opening win.

Real Monarchs SLC 1, St. Louis FC 0

Another 90’+4 goal saw StLFC lose their season opener in hilarious fashion. But overshadowing this was a scary scene, as the Monarchs’ Omar Holness collapsed in the 34th minute of the match. I am happy to report that he was released around 11:30 local time after being treated for a minor seizure.

Orange County Blues FC 0, Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 1

This match was such a snoozefest, that there are no stats for the match on the USL site. I can report that there was a 60’ goal, and a handful of yellows.

LA Galaxy II 2, Arizona United SC 0

Former US U-23 (turned Costa Rican U-23) player Ariel Lassiter’s brace secured a dos-a-cero for “Los Dos.” It says here in my notes that Arizona was “OVERMATCHED” and they really were. LA II did have the first red card of the season, in the 63rd minute, but Arizona squandered their few chances in LA’s defensinve third.

Expansion Teams record: (W-L-D) 2-3-0

Here’s how the table looks as of right now…

Eastern – 2016 Regular Season

Team GP W L T PTS GF GA +/-
Richmond Kickers 1 1 0 0 3 3 1 2
Wilmington Hammerheads FC 1 1 0 0 3 2 1 1
Louisville City FC 1 1 0 0 3 1 0 1
Charleston Battery 1 1 0 0 3 1 0 1
Bethlehem Steel FC 1 1 0 0 3 1 0 1
New York Red Bulls II 1 0 0 1 1 2 2 0
Toronto FC II 1 0 0 1 1 2 2 0
Pittsburgh Riverhounds 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Rochester Rhinos 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Orlando City B 1 0 1 0 0 1 2 -1
FC Montreal 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 -1
Charlotte Independence 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 -1
FC Cincinnati 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 -1
Harrisburg City Islanders 1 0 1 0 0 1 3 -2