Monday, May 6, 2013

Lower Division Recap: Round 5

After five weeks of play one thing is becoming very clear. The NASL is going to come down to the final weekend. Three teams came into the weekend tied for first with one more a point back. After three draws, nothing changed. Ironically, the draws were the first in league play since the opening weekend finished with no winners.

North American Soccer League

The week started off early for FC Edmonton, who were blanked 2-0 at Vancouver in the second leg of the Amway Canadian Championship, eliminating the Eddies from the event 5-2 on aggregate. The team rebounded, however, after a cross-continental trip to Tampa Bay, posting a 1-1 draw against the defending league champions. A penalty 16 minutes in could have spelled doom for the travellers, but Edmonton rebounded with a 35th minute equalizer from Shaun Saiko, who has had quite the week going from the winning penalty a week ago against San Antonio to having an own goal in Vancouver. In the span of a week, however, the club has produced a pair of impressive results with a win over the 2012 regular season and a road draw against the playoff champions.

Sitting three points back, the Eddies did not lose any ground on the trio tied for the league lead as the two other contests on Saturday also finished even.

Carolina took the lead on the road only to see their former star Etienne Barbara score twice, one from the spot, to move Minnesota in front until recent Real Salt Lake loan acquisition Enzo Martinez scored on a fantastic long-range effort with six minutes left for the 2-2 draw. The draw kept the duo gripped in the three-way league lead with the Rowdies.

Sitting a point back of the lead pack, the Silverbacks were poised for a chance to jump in front, but San Antonio would not oblige.  After taking the initial lead five minutes in Atlanta saw the hosts move in front on goals from Hans Denissen and Edin Husic in the 20th and 28th minutes, respectively, off a pair of quality services. A busy first half-hour came to a close with Pedro Mendez capitalizing on a defensive error, driving through the back line the equalizer, which stood as the finally tally of the night and kept the Scorpions winless on the year along with the idle Fort Lauderdale Strikers.

Scoring Summaries / Ejections

*ACC* - Edmonton 0 :: 2 Vancouver (2 :: 5 Agg.)
VAN: Corey Hertzog (Russell Teibert) 58, Edmonton Own Goal (Shaun Saiko) 67
~ EDM: Adrian Leroy (red card) 51

Edmonton 1 :: 1 Tampa Bay 
TB: Georgi Hristov (pen) 16
EDM: Shaun Saiko (Daryl Fordyce) 35

Carolina 2 :: 2 Minnesota
CAR: Jordan Graye (Austin Da Luz) 40, Enzo Martinez 84
MIN: Etienne Barbara 58, Etienne Barbara (pen) 65

Atlanta 2 :: 2 San Antonio 
ATL: Richie Menjivar 5, Pedro Mendes 30
SA: Hans Denissen (Javier Saavedra) 20, Edin Husic (Hans Denissen, Walter Ramirez) 28


Though the first match of the week, a Florida derby between VSI Tampa Bay and Orlando City, was washed out by a storm Tuesday, the round proved to be full of dramatic moments as some of the top clubs squared off and several matches provided plenty of fireworks. The excitement began 10 minutes into Wednesday night’s showdown between the Battery and Harrisburg when Charleston striker Michael Azira scored a goal of the year candidate, striking the ball on the volley from a lengthy cross from the outer corner of the box and into the far side upper corner of the goal. A penalty in the 38th gave the visitors a two goal lead that proved to be enough despite the City Islanders pulling back within one two minutes before the half.

Charleston’s road trip continued Friday evening in Dayton where another penalty from Nicki Paterson, this time in the 34th, proved to be the difference. Meanwhile, in Wilmington the Richmond Kickers used a penalty in the 73rd to break a stalemate with the Hammerheads and secured the win with a breakaway goal from young FC United loanee Michael Seaton in the 90th minute. Pittsburgh also picked up a point on the road Friday night, rallying from a goal down in Phoenix where Donny Toia put the Wolves on the board 10 minutes in. But with 11 minutes left Andrew Marshall pulled the Riverhounds level.

Also on Friday, Antigua finally got their first goal in four games, taking the initial lead seven minutes in at Tampa Bay through Tamorley Thomas. The weekend turned into a nightmare from there however. The hosts rolled off three unanswered, including two from Mauricio Salles off the bench in the final 20 minutes, on a strike from distance. As if that were not enough, the Barracuda lost Alex Phillip to a red card in stoppage time, affecting them for the next contest just a mere 24 hours later in Orlando.
The Lions dominated literally from the opening whistle with Sporting Kansas City loanee Dom Dwyer netting the first of his three goals on the night in the first minute of the contest as Orlando City put up seven goals in the contest. Jamie Watson and Dennis Chin also had a goal and an assist each in the rout before Antigua was able to find two goals in consolation, one through Hazely Pyle in the 76th and one courtesy of the hosts on an own goal in the final minutes.

While Orlando City was drubbing the island nomads, the other two Saturday night fixtures were contrasting affairs with Rochester falling once again, this time in a narrow decision against Harrisburg, while Charlotte and Richmond dueled in a thriller.

In their home opener, the Rhinos were hoping to reverse their fortunes, but the only thing they were able to do was hopefully stop the gluttony of multi-goal defeats (four in the first five games) as Morgan Langely’s strike in the 37th for Harrisburg was the lone tally of the contest. Perhaps worse than their fifth defeat of the year was the loss of Matt Luzunaris to a broken leg. Further south in Richmond, the Kickers looked to be heading to their second win over a North Carolina club in as many nights with Brian Ownby scoring in the 14th minute and setting up Stanley Nyazamba 20 minutes later. That was erased in the second half, however, as Charlotte erased the deficit by the 79th minute courtesy of Drew Yates and Stefan Smith. The Eagles took the lead in the 90th via Shaun Francis, who set up Yates in the 48th, floated a ball off the underside of the crossbar from the top of the box but the road win was wiped out by Seaton, who finished a corner in stoppage time for the dramatic draw.

The weekend wrapped with a whimper as Los Angeles kept their home record unbeaten, playing the visiting Riverhounds to a scoreless draw Sunday.

Scoring Summaries / Ejections

USL - Tampa Bay @ Orlando – Postponed

Charleston 2 :: 1 Harrisburg 
CHB: Michael Azira (Mark Wiltze) 10, Nicholas Paterson (pen) 38
HAR: Christhian Hernandez (Lucky Mkosana) 43

Charleston 1 :: 0 Dayton 
CHB: Nicholas Paterson (pen) 34

Richmond 2 :: 0 Wilmington 
RIC: Luke Vercollone (pen) 73, Michael Seaton 90

Antigua 1 :: 3 Tampa Bay 
ANT: Tamorley Thomas 7
TB: Tony Donatelli (Alex Freitas) 52, Mauricio Salles 70, Mauricio Salles 90+
~ ANT: Alex Phillip (red card) 90+

Pittsburgh 1 :: 1 Phoenix
PHO: Donny Toia 11
PIT: Andrew Marshall (Jose Angulo) 79

Charlotte 3 :: 3 Richmond 
RIC: Brian Ownby 14, Stanley Nyazamba (Brian Ownby) 34, Connor Shanosky 90+
CHE: Drew Yates (Shaun Francis) 48, Stefan Smith (Mitch Waul) 79, Shaun Francis 90

Harrisburg 1 :: 0 Rochester 
HAR: Morgan Langley (Sainey Touray) 37

Antigua 2 :: 7 Orlando 
ORL: Dom Dwyer (Jamie Watson) 1, Anthony Pulis (Dennis Chin) 4, Dennis Chin (Jamie Watson) 12, Dom Dwyer  17, Dom Dwyer (Luke Boden) 40, Antigua own goal 49, Rob Valentino (Jonathan Mendoza) 54
ANT: Hazeley Pyle  76 , Orlando own goal 89

Pittsburgh 0 :: 0 Los Angeles 

MLS Reserve League

In a quiet week of action, it was a on and off again MLS star Maicon Santos that was the headliner, tallying a goal and assist in leading the Chicago Fire past FC Dallas Wednesday at home.  In Columbus, the Crew found a little something to celebrate following their first team loss to New York, posting a victory in reserve league action.

Scoring Summaries / Ejections

Dallas 1 :: 2 Chicago 
CHI: Maicon Santos (Yazid Atouba) 20, Corben Bone (Maicon Santos) 45+
DAL: Kellyn Acosta 80

New York 0 :: 2 Columbus 
CLB: Ryan Finlay (Justin Meram) 18, Ben Speas (Chad Barson) 50

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