Monday, May 20, 2013

Lower Division Recap: Round 7

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The complexity of the season kicked up a notch with the introduction of the US Open Cup this week for four of the USL Pro clubs and will continue with the remaining teams from the league and the NASL entering the event on Tuesday against the First Round winners.

North American Soccer League

The race for the spring season continues to be tight, but the story of the week is arguably the 2012 regular season champion San Antonio Scorpions finally getting their first victory six games into the season. A goal in the very first minute from Javier Saavedra may have been the key as their second tally in the 54th from Luka Vucko was immediately answered a minutes later by the visiting Fort Lauderdale Strikers, who put themselves out of reach another three minutes later when Scott Gordon put it in his own net.

A Carolina own goal on the road in Atlanta by Paul Hamilton six minutes in opened the door for others to catch the league leaders. A red card to Floyd Franks in the 53rd gave the Silverbacks control as they used a Martyn Lancaster striker in the final 14 minutes to pull within a point of Carolina and Tampa Bay.

The Rowdies had pulled even with Carolina in the afternoon contest Saturday in Minnesota with a dramatic finish. Headed to the break in a scoreless stalemate Tampa Bay’s Shane Hill took advantage of a stoppage time goalkeeping error from Daryl Satler, who came well out from goal to punch a cross, leaving a wide open net for Hill to loft a shot into off the clearance.  The two sides exchanged three goals in a ten-minute span in the second half with Simone Bracallelo setting up Michael Reed for the equalizer in the 55th only to see Luke Mulholland restore the advantage for the visitors a minute later off of poor defending. Bracalello equalized himself with an excellent individual effort, battling past two defenders. It looked again as though things were going to end even but the clearance of a cross falls directly into the path of Keith Savage for the 90th minute winner.

Scoring Summaries / Ejections

Tampa Bay 3 :: 2 Minnesota
TB: Shane Hill 45+, Luke Mulholland 55, Keith Savage 90
MIN: Michael Reed (Simone Bracalello) 54, Simone Bracalello (Pablo Campos) 65

Carolina 0 :: 2 Atlanta 
ATL: Carolina own goal (Paul Hamilton) 6, Martyn Lancaster 76
~ CAR: Floyd Franks (red card) 53

Fort Lauderdale 1 :: 3 San Antonio  
SA: Javier Saavedra 1, Luka Vucko 54, Fort Lauderdale own goal (Scott Gordon) 58
FTL: Scott Gordon 55


The week got off to an interesting start on Tuesday with unbeaten Charlotte keeping that status in tact at home against the Charleston Battery, prevailing 1-0 on a 65th minute strike from defender Shaun Francis, who now has two goals and two assists on the year in addition to leading a back line that has allowed just four goals in six games.

Meanwhile, the foursome in the US Open Cup saw three move on to the next round, but scraped by in ugly fashion with a 1-1-2 record as two clubs needed penalties to stay alive. Dayton was the only team on the night that recorded what appeared to be a professional outcome, blanking visiting River City Rovers of the PDL 3-0. Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Riverhounds had to come from behind to knock off RWB Adria (USASA) from the spot after a 1-1 draw and Tampa Bay took the penalty tiebreaker by the same 5-3 decision after their own 1-1 draw in which they gave up a 90th minute equalizer to Orlando City U23s, the PDL club of their USL Pro in-state rival. Phoenix FC were not able to summon the same fortune, however, seeing host FC Tucson of the PDL get two goals from late a late sub in the final eight minutes for a 2-1 upset victory.

League action resumed Friday with four of the league’s top five clubs (by points) squaring off in a pair of contests. None came away with a full three points. Orlando City played to a 2-2 draw in Harrisburg with each side scoring in each half, including a brace from Dominic Dwyer, who scored in his fifth straight with at least two in each of the last four. The Los Angeles Blues nabbed a late equalizer in the 88th minute courtesy of Juan Perez to snare a point in Richmond.

Dwyer’s scoring streak came to an end Saturday, primarily because he only played the final 25 minutes of a 1-0 win in Rochester. Come Sunday, however, the bigger story was that the Rhinos decided to reliever coach Jesse Myers of his duties and named USL Hall of Famer and current club COO Pat Ercoli the interim coach.

After needing late heroics Tuesday, the Riverhounds got a dose of their own medicine courtesy of Dayton after having taken a two-goal lead on a pair of goals set up by Matt Dallman. Tjeerd Westdjik, who scored Tuesday, set up Gibson Bardsley for his fourth goal of the season and then tallied the equalizer himself with six minutes left, giving the Riverhounds a 1-1-2 record in all competitions thus far at their newly-opened home.

A pair of first half goals in Wilmington proved to be too much for the Blues to rally back from Saturday as they fell 2-1 on the road Saturday and on Sunday the Battery rebounded from their loss in Charlotte by topping the Houston Dynamo Reserves 1-0 on a 35th minute strike from Dane Kelly on the road.

Scoring Summaries / Ejections

Charleston 0 :: 1 Charlotte 
CHE: Shaun Francis 65

** US Open Cup **
# VSI Tampa Bay 1 (5) :: (3) 1 Orlando City U23 (PDL)
# RWB Adria (USASA) 1 (3) :: (5) 1 Pittsburgh
# River City Rovers (PDL) 0 :: 3 Dayton
# Phoenix 1 :: 2 FC Tucson (PDL)

Orlando 2 :: 2 Harrisburg 
HAR: Sainey Touray (Don Anding) 17, Yann Ekra 72
ORL: Dominic Dwyer 22, Dominic Dwyer (Bryan Burke) 65

Los Angeles 1 :: 1 Richmond 
RIC: Joseph Ngwenya 37
LA: Juan Perez (Chris Cortez) 88

Dayton 2 :: 2 Pittsburgh 
PIT: Jhonny Arteaga (Matt Dallman) 10, Jose Angulo (Matt Dallman) 51
DAY: Gibson Bardsley (Tjeerd Westdjik) 65, Tjeerd Westdjik (Irakli Khutsidze) 84

Orlando 1 :: 0 Rochester 
OC: Erik Ustruck (Kevin Molino) 85

Los Angeles 1 :: 2 Wilmington 
WIL: Jamel Wallace (Uriah Bentick) 16, Daniel Steres (Tom Parratt) 40
LA: Allan Russell (pen) 86

Charleston 1 :: 0 Houston (MLSR)
CHB: Dane Kelly (Emmanuel Adjetey) 35

MLS Reserve League

The Dynamo Reserves started the week off well with a 2-0 victory over the visiting Fire Reserves Tuesday in which Jason Johnson tallied a goal and an assist in the second half. On Sunday, however, they were unable to keep the USL Pro Battery off the board as the visitors claimed the narrow decision 1-0.

Toronto and San Jose, meanwhile, found plenty of scoring punch on the weekend. Three different goal scorers led the TFC Reserves to a 3-1 win Saturday against visiting Columbus and San Jose blanked Colorado Sunday with Tommy Thompson getting the credit for two assists as three different players also tallied in the Earthquakes’ 3-0 home win.

Vancouver, however, was not as fortunate at home. Leading since a Tommy Heinemann tally in the first half, the Whitecaps Reserves saw their Cascadia rivals from Portland equalize via Sal Zizzo with eight minutes left in the contest.

Scoring Summaries / Ejections

Chicago 0 :: 2 Houston 
HOU: Jason Johnson (Elo Ozumba) 48, Luiz Camargo (Mike Chabala, Jason Johnson) 80

Columbus 1 :: 3 Toronto 
TOR: Jonathan Osorio 43, Jeremy Brockie 44, Dylan Sacramento 71
CLB: Bernardo Anor 70

Charleston (USL Pro) 1 :: 0 Houston 
CHB: Dane Kelly (Emmanuel Adjetey) 35

Colorado 0 :: 3 San Jose 
SJ: Cordell Cato (Mehdi Ballouchy, Colin Mitchell) 38, Danchrisandre Delgado (Tommy Thompson) 73, Mike Fucito (Sam Garza, Tommy Thompson) 78

Portland 1 :: 1 Vancouver 
VAN: Tommy Heinemann 26
POR: Sal Zizzo 82
~ POR: Ben Zemanski (red card) 90+

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