It was another entertaining weekend in the USL, with 27 goals being netted in 11 games. And that’s with two goalless draws on Friday. Calling it “Matchday 2” is simply semantic because the piecemeal schedule has meant that some teams have played three matches by now, and some have just played one. This weekend’s theme was late goals, and a lot of them (no less than 8 goals in the last 10 minutes)
Before we can talk about those two aforementioned stalemates that opened the weekend, let’s visit last Wednesday’s matches out in the Western Conference.
LA Galaxy II 3, St Louis FC 0
Captain Jack McBean (they call him “Captain Jack” out there) was the second player to get a brace for Los Dos in as many games. Despite the scoreline, StLFC did show signs of life, maintaining good possession in the attacking third, but LA had a monopoly on the counterattack, netting two in the 42’ and right at the close of the first half to deny Saint Louis their first points of the season.
Seattle Sounders FC 2 0, Arizona United SC 2
It was two early goals (16’, 24’) by Arizona that saw off Sounders 2 at home, denying them their first points of the season. 33 fouls and Seven yellow cards attested to the competitive nature of this one in front of a half-empty Starfire.
Now for this Friday’s “matches”:
Wilmington Hammerheads FC 0, Richmond Kickers 0
Let’s hope no one was trying to watch this one (and who would), since the stream picked up in the 38th minute. Just a combined seven shot haul and 5 on target as these two mid-table bound sides split points in this one from the high school field known as Legion Stadium.
Orlando City B 0, Charleston Battery 0
A rain delay threatened to keep this one from transpiring in Melbourne, but eventually the ball got rolling. OCB’s Antonio Rocha was the second player to see red this season, being sent off in the 50th minute. Charleston donned their love-or-hate neon kits, which we will hopefully get to see and make fun of down the road (July 9th) [Ed note: I LOVE them].
Charlotte Independence 2, Harrisburg City Islanders 1
For Men in Blazers fans, Harrisburg City (or as I like to call them “the ‘ders”) illustrated how you can “score too early.” They scored in the 3rd minute, and then proceeded to concede two goals and most of the meaningful possession in the following 30 minutes.
Rochester Rhinos 1, Pittsburgh Riverhounds 0
There was neither a stream nor stats available for this match, but by most accounts it was a vintage Rochester performance, defending well and taking advantage of what opportunities the opposition gave them.
Tulsa Roughnecks 1, Swope Park Rangers 2
A superb strike off of the volley by Nansel Selbol in second half stoppage seemingly looked to sew up all three points, but Tulsa did claw a single goal back just a minute later to rally the crowd late in the match. It wasn’t enough for Tulsa, but Swope Park have done this now twice in two weeks, both scoring and conceding in second half stoppage time. I don’t know what it means, but an interesting note.
Arizona United SC 3, LA Galaxy II, 3
After giving up three soft goals in the first half, you would have been forgiven for writing off the Galaxy junior side. But Los Dos wasn’t discouraged, earning a point after scoring three times in the last 10 minutes of the game, culminating in a penalty courtesy of a Riley McGovern (Arizona) handball in his own box in the 89’.
Orange County Blues 1, St Louis FC 3
Heading into the closing stages of this one, it looked like each of these teams were going to walk away with their first point of the season in the form of a one all draw, but Jamiel Hardware and Vince Cicciarelli linked up twice, in the 89th and 7th minute of second half stoppage to get their hands on their first points from three games.
Portland Timbers 2 1, Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 3
Vancouver precluded Portland from getting any sort of result from this match, thanks to a three goal spurt in just 15 minutes between the hour mark and 75th minute. Portland did notch a consolation goal in the 79th minute from Dylan Damraoui, who would become the second man to be sent off in the weekend just 6 minutes later. The vocal fans at Merlo Field took exception to the sending off, in fairness it may have been a bit of a harsh decision.
Sacramento Republic FC 1, Arizona United SC 0
Sacramento’s home opener saw the 2014 USL champions get their first points of the season, netting a winner in the 83rd minute. Are we seeing a trend here? SRFC was dominating the match and deserved these points from a tired Arizona United SC. With the new stand addition in the offseason, there were 11,569 reasons why this team has MLS aspirations.
Bethlehem Steel FC 1, FC Cincinnati 2,
Dammit! Bethlehem Steel had a man sent off in the 80th minute (if you’re ounting at home that’s three this weekend) but the die had already been cast. Two first half goals saw the visitors past the Steel, despite a 90’ consolation goal by way of Eric Ayuk.
Seattle Sounders 2 0, San Antonio FC 3
San Antonio’s first game was over almost before it started. Jamaican international Jason Johnson scored twice in the opening ten minutes, and SAFC never looked back, cruising to their first ever win over what appears to be a not-very-connected Seattle Sounders 2 team this year, who slid to their third consecutive loss.