Monday, April 29, 2013

Lower Division Recap: Round 4

Surprise; surprise. Four weeks into the season and Edmonton’s first win not only pulled them out of the NASL cellar, but past two other winless clubs in the Fort Lauderdale Strikers and last year’s regular season champion San Antonio Scorpions. Meanwhile in USL Pro, Orlando City is once again making the case as one of the powerhouses while Harrisburg, who started later is firing on all cylinders as well.

North American Soccer League

Carolina saw its league lead disappear while idle as Minnesota and Tampa Bay both pulled even with victories on the road. The Rowdies took their state derby contest with Fort Lauderdale, 2-1, while Minnesota came out on top in a back-and-forth affair with Atlanta.

Luke Mulholland rang a shot off the post and in three minutes before the break for Tampa Bay, and a tally from Houston Dynamo loanee Alex Dixon off a cross from Georgi Hristov in the 78th proved enough as Fort Lauderdale could only find one in response via Walter Restrepo, who beat the keeper.

Minnesota, meanwhile, had to come from behind twice before finding the winner. Milton Blanco put the hosts on top 17 minutes in and Brian Kallman answered six minutes later Brian Kallman headed in the Simone Bracalello. Only three minutes later, though, a penalty converted by Ruben Luna restored the Silverbacks’ lead, but a Minnesota penalty was put away by Bracalello in the 54th. Aaron Pitchkolan got his foot on the loose ball in the box in the 61st to give Minnesota the victory.

The deciding play in Sunday’s lone contest was a breakaway off a corner that resulted in defender Eddie Edward being brought down in the penalty area, allowing for Shaun Saiko to net the winner from the spot.

Scoring Summaries / Ejections

Minnesota 3 :: 2 Atlanta
ATL: Milton Blanco 17, Ruben Luna (pen) 26
MIN: Brian Kallman (Simone Bracalello) 23, Simone Bracalello (pen) 54, Aaron Pitchkolan 61

Tampa Bay 2 :: 1 Fort Lauderdale
TB: Luke Mulholland 42, Alex Dixon (Georgi Hristov) 78
FTL: Walter Restrepo (Darnell King) 80

San Antonio 0 :: 1 Edmonton 
EDM: Shaun Saiko (pen) 45


Round four proved to be a week of blowouts around the league, particularly over the weekend when six of the seven matches were decided by at least two goals and five games were shutouts. The week began, however, with a pair of tight contests midweek with Phoenix FC playing the RSL Reserves to a scoreless draw in interleague play and the Charlotte Eagles snatching a 1-1 draw against visiting Orlando City with a 90th minute strike from Nate Thornton.

On Friday all three games were shutouts. Charlotte took the initial lead three minutes in when Christian Meza found Christian Ramirez and then took advantage of a Pittsburgh red card to Anthony Vasquez in the 25th through a Meza strike in the 54th. Dayton snared a narrow 1-0 win in Tampa Bay on a second half goal from Brandon Swartzendruber and Los Angeles ran away with a 4-0 victory against visiting Wilmington after the Hammerheads lost defender Paul Nicholson to a red card less than a minute into the contest. Four different players would score for LA, two in each half.

Rochester road woes were the highlight of Saturday night as they suffered yet another blowout defeat, this time 5-1 at the hands of Harrisburg. The City Islanders took the lead just after the half hour mark when Yann Ekra connected with Jim McGlaughlin and Bilal Duckett pulled the Rhinos even in the 62nd minute, but Ekra scored the first of four unanswered for Harrisburg four minutes later as the City Islanders registered their 100th franchise victory. Sainey Touray also tallied a goal and assist and Lucky Mkosana posted two goals.

Also tally twice on the night was Mike Azira, who gave Charleston a 2-0 win over visiting Pittsburgh, and Sporting Kansas City loanee Dom Dwyer, who hit the second and fourth goals in Orlando City’s 4-0 drubbing of Dayton.

Phoenix lost a pair of players, including starting keeper Andrew Weber, to red cards in RSL, but showed little affect against Wilmington Sunday evening. That was in part due to another Hammerheads red card doled out to Shawn Nicklaw in the 61st minute. The Wolves had already taken a 2-1 lead with an own goal six minutes in and a strike from Netinho in the 34th.  Jamel Wallace pulled the visitors back in reach five minutes before the break but Diego Faria capitalized on the man advantage with seven minutes left to lock up the win.

Scoring Summaries / Ejections

Phoenix 0 :: 0 RSL Reserves (MLSR)
~ PHO: Andrew Weber (red card) 45+, Renan Boufleur (red card) 45+
~ RSL: Kwame Watson-Siriboe (red card) 45+

Orlando 1 :: 1 Charlotte 
ORL: Dominic Dwyer (Luke Boden) 8
CHE: Nate Thornton 90

Pittsburgh 0 :: 2 Charlotte 
CHA: Christian Ramirez (Christian Meza) 3, Christian Meza 54
~ PIT: Anthony Vasquez (red card) 25

Dayton 1 :: 0 Tampa Bay 
DAY: Brandon Swartzendruber (Eric Kissinger) 68

Wilmington 0 :: 4 Los Angeles 
LA: Shay Spitz  (Jimmy Turner) 5, Mershad Momeni 16, Chris Cortez (Allan Russel) 81, Juan Perez-Bernal 84
~ WIL: Paul Nicholson (red card) 1

Rochester 1 :: 5 Harrisburg 
HAR:  Jim McGlaughlin (Yann Ekra) 31, Yann Ekra (Coady Andrews) 66, Lucky Mkosana (Don Anding) 75, Sainey Touray (Colin Zizzi) 80, Lucky Mkosana (Sainey Touray) 90
ROC: Bilal Duckett (Michael Reidy) 62

Pittsburgh 0 :: 2 Charleston
CHB: Mike Azira 24, Mike Azira (Zach Prince) 61

Dayton 0 :: 4 Orlando 
ORL: Dennis Chin (Jamie Watson) 28, Dom Dwyer (Rob Valentino) 34, Jamie Watson (penalty) 39, Dom Dwyer (Adama Mbengue) 72

Wilmington 1 :: 3 Phoenix 
PHO: Own goal (Uriah Bentick) 6, Netinho (Aaron King) 34, Diego Faria 83
WIL: Jamel Wallace (William Heaney) 40
~ WIL: Shawn Nicklaw (red card) 61

MLS Reserve League

All of the Reserve League action came on the west side of the country, beginning with Real Salt Lake’s scoreless draw at home playing a man up in the second half when a small scrum in first half stoppage time resulted in two reds for Phoenix and one for Kwame Watson-Siriboe.  The following day Seattle and San Jose went into the second half before an Earthquakes own goal by Hunter Gorskie broke the deadlock in the 56th. Will Bates pushed the lead to two in the 72nd and Gorskie, made up for his previous error, but coming in the 91st minute, it proved too late.

Salt Lake posted its second clean sheet of the week Sunday against visiting Los Angeles, picking up the victory through Sebastian Velasquez in the 75th minute of the match.

Phoenix (USL Pro) 0 :: 0 RSL Reserves 
~ PHO: Andrew Weber (red card) 45+, Renan Boufleur (red card) 45+
~ RSL: Kwame Watson-Siriboe (red card) 45+

San Jose 1 :: 2 Seattle 
SEA: Own goal (Hunter Gorskie) 56, Will Bates 72
SJ: Hunter Gorskie 91+

New York @ Toronto - Postponed

Los Angeles 0 :: 1 Salt Lake 
RSL: Sebastian Velasquez (John Stertzer) 75

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