Monday, August 19, 2013

Lower Division Recap: Round 20

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Nearly all of the attention in Week 20 was focused on USL Pro where there were a handful of races and storylines to watch as the regular season came to a close. Commissioner’s Cup contenders Richmond and Orlando squared off in a game that decided the outcome for the top of the table while at the bottom of the standings the road warriors, Antigua Barracuda, had two final opportunities to earn their first points of the season. And, perhaps more crucial, a few teams were still vying for the final playoff spot.

North American Soccer League

There were several interesting items this week, but the most stunning was the result in San Antonio where consistent cellar-dwelling Fort Lauderdale Strikers ended a seven game (0-6-1) winless string with a 2-1 victory against the Scorpions, who have shockingly returned to the original form of the Spring season they experienced prior to the late title-contending run they posted before the break.

Elsewhere, Brian Shriver scored twice early to give Carolina a solid two-goal lead over the visiting Cosmos, who have now been shutout twice since their home opener against the Strikers. The other two matches were 1-1 stalemates, though Tampa Bay’s point came courtesy of a 94th minute stoppage time equalizer in Minnesota.

SATURDAY, August 17 

New York 0 :: 3 Carolina 
CAR: Brian Shriver (Zach Schilawski) 8, Brian Shriver 28, Brian Ackley (pen) 89
~CAR: Austin da Luz (second yellow) 45+
~NY: Joseph Nane (second yellow) 44, Sebastian Guenzatti (ejection) 93+

Tampa Bay 1 :: 1 Minnesota 
MIN: Pablo Campos (Max Griffin) 17
TB: Andres Arango (Frankie Sanfilippo) 94+

Fort Lauderdale 2 :: 1 San Antonio 
FTL: Martin Nunez (Mark Anderson) 2, Mark Anderson 15
SA: Tomasz Zahorski 45

SUNDAY, August 18

Atlanta 1 :: 1 Edmonton 
ATL: Horace James (Daniel Barrera) 48
EDM: Chris Nurse (Neil Hlavaty) 69


The final week of the regular season was quite an affair. It kicked off Wednesday with Richmond claiming the regular season title with another 2-0 victory over Orlando City, giving them the tiebreaker advantage heading into the final weekend. The Kickers would go on to play to a 1-1 draw in Pittsburgh to finish with just one loss for the year and finish alone at the table outright.

At the bottom though, the Barracudas could not find any fortune. They fell 3-0 to playoff-bound Charleston, inflicting the first damage themselves with an own goal,. And although they nearly took playoff hopeful Wilmington to the second half scoreless, they gave up a late tally just before the intermission and fell apart in the second half to lose by three once again, finishing the year without a single point.

In the race for the final playoff spot, VSI Tampa Bay saw their hopes end at home against the playoff-bound Charlotte Eagles, who grabbed a two-goal lead before the hosts responded. Tampa Bay would pull even with a penalty with three minutes left, but they were unable to find the winner as they finished even at 3-3. Dayton, meanwhile, went on to 3-1 victory over playoff entry Harrisburg on the final night of the season Saturday, clinching the last spot. The victory proved critical as they finished only one point ahead of Wilmington, who closed the season with a 4-1 win against visiting Pittsburgh Wednesday to make up ground and then hammered Antigua. Wilmington’s deducted point earlier this season for botching the timing of sitting a suspended player for card accumulation proved monumental as the Hammerheads held the head-to-head tiebreaker versus Dayton and would have advanced to the postseason had they not been penalized by the league.

WEDNESDAY, August 14

Orlando 0 :: 2 Richmond 
RIC: Matthew Delicate (Joseph Ngwenya) 24, Matthew Delicate (Brian Ownby) 29

Pittsburgh 1 :: 4 Wilmington
PIT: Jose Angulo (Richard Costanzo) 13
WIL: Kyle Greig (Shawn Nicklaw) 32, Steven Perry (Cody Arnoux) 76, Bryce Taylor (Gareth Evans) 82, Cody Arnoux (Steven Perry) 82

THURSDAY, August 15

Antigua 0 :: 3 Charleston 
CHB: Antigua Own Goal (Lawson Robinson) 26, Dane Kelly 50, Dane Kelly (Ben Fisk) 66

FRIDAY, August 16

Charlotte 3 :: 3 VSI Tampa Bay 
CHE: Christian Ramirez 16, Christian Ramirez (Drew Yates) 43, Stephen Okai 58
TB: Mauricio Salles 44, Douglas Dos Santos 63, Chad Burt (pen) 87

Rochester 4 :: 3 Phoenix 
PHO: Danny Toia 4, Travis Bowen 21, Josh Bento 91+
ROC: Danny Earls (Tyler Rosenlund) 32, Blake Brettschneider (Matt Horth) 59, Thomas Kelly McManus 64, Thomas Kelly McManus (Michael Reidy) 92+
~PHO: Tommy Ramos 45+6

SATURDAY, August 17 

Richmond 1 :: 1 Pittsburgh 
PIT: Jose Angulo (Rob Vincent) 65
RIC: Joseph Ngwenya (Shane Johnson) 68

Harrisburg 1 :: 3 Dayton 
HAR: Coady Andrews (Tom Mellor) 2
DAY: Eli Garner (Gibson Bardsley) 56, Gibson Bardsley (Brandon Swartzendruber) 62, Brandon Swartzendruber (Gibson Bardsley) 69

Charlotte 0 :: 1 Orlando City 
ORL: Freddie Braun (Adama Mbengue) 50

Antigua 1 :: 4 Wilmington 
WIL: Daniel Steres (Tom Parratt) 45, Cody Arnoux (Tom Parratt) 64, Steven Perry 68, Will Heaney 90
ANT: Orlando Mitchum (Tamorley Thomas) 67

Rochester 1 :: 2 Los Angeles
LA: Shay Spitz (George Davis) 50, Matt Fondy (Shay Spitz) 90+
ROC: Tyler Rosenlund 67
~ROC: Blake Brettschneider (second yellow) 84

MLS Reserve League

All the Reserve League teams were idle.

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