Monday, September 2, 2013

Lower Division Recap: Round 22

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After a year in which they lost only one game, including the US Open Cup where they were eliminated in penalties, the Richmond Kickers saw their campaign come to a surprising end Saturday when fifth-seeded Charlotte recorded a stunning 2-1 semifinal upset that was the story of the weekend in the lower divisions.

Other items of note included Fort Lauderdale picking up a third consecutive victory and the MLS Reserve League returning to action after a two-week break.


Early in the season before the attention turned toward Dom Dwyer’s scoring exploits with Orlando City and the unbeaten run of the Richmond Kickers, it was the Charlotte Eagle’s defense that was one of the primary storylines.

On Saturday, that defense proved critical as they kept the Kickers in check after an early goal, allowing Christian Ramirez and Nate Thornton to rally the fifth-seeded side to a second consecutive road victory in the postseason for the club’s eighth appearance in a USL Final.

In the other semifinal Friday, Orlando City jumped out to a quick two-goal lead for the consecutive week with goals from Long Tan and Adama Mbengue in just the first five minutes. Dennis Chin, who set up Tan’s opener made it three in the 19th. The Charleston Battery made a valiant attempt at a comeback on the road with Michael Azira finding the back of the net in the 33rd and Amadou Sanyoung pulling them within one at the hour mark, but it was not enough.  The Lions had to wait another night for the best news of the season: they will play host to the Eagles in the USL Pro Championship.

FRIDAY, August 30

Charleston 2 : 3 Orlando 
ORL: Long Tan (Dennis Chin) 4, Adama Mbengue (Erik Ustruck) 5, Dennis Chin 19
CHB: Michael Azira 33, Amadou Sanyang (Jose Cuevas) 60

SATURDAY, August 31

Charlotte 2 :: 1 Richmond 
RIC: Mike Callahan (Brian Ownby) 11
CHE: Christian Ramirez (Ben Newman) 31, Nate Thornton (Stephen Okai) 38

North American Soccer League

If anyone thought Fort Lauderdale’s two-game win streak was a fluke because it was against San Antonio and the struggling Silverbacks, they proved otherwise with a third straight in a 1-0 victory against the Carolina RailHawks Friday night. On Saturday, former league MVP Pablo Campos led Minnesota to a victory against his former side, scoring rallying them from a goal down with Minnesota’s first two strikes in the 3-2 road win.

Fort Lauderdale turned out to be the only home team to win on the weekend. Tampa Bay used a second half penalty to earn a 1-1 draw in Atlanta Saturday and on Sunday the Cosmos, still winless on the road, were able to claim a 1-1 tie in Edmonton on a 79th minute Marcos Senna goal.

FRIDAY, August 30

Carolina 0 :: 1 Fort Lauderdale  
FTL: Darnell King (Ivan Guerrero) 52

SATURDAY, August 31

Tampa Bay 1 :: 1 Atlanta 
ATL: Pedro Mendes (Richard Menjivar) 4
TB: Georgi Hristov (pen) 50

Minnesota 3 :: 2 San Antonio 
SA: Walter Ramirez 14, Tomasz Zahorski (Borja Rubiato) 78
MIN: Pablo Campos 34, Pablo Campos (Calum Mallace) 50, Connor Tobin 90

SUNDAY, September 1

New York 1 :: 1 Edmonton
EDM: Chris Nurse (Neil Hlavaty) 60
NY: Marcos Senna 79

MLS Reserve League

After two weeks of virtually no games, the Reserve League sprung back to life with four games early in the week and two more on the weekend. Cascadia rivals Seattle and Vancouver battled to a 2-2 draw with David Estrada rescuing the draw for the hosts in stoppage time Monday. The following day, Columbus striker Ryan Finley scored all three goals as they rolled to a 3-1 victory against FC Dallas. The entire Western Conference was in action on the week with Chivas edging Colorado, Real Salt Lake nipping Portland and old rivals San Jose and the Galaxy finishing scoreless.

MONDAY, August 26

Vancouver 2 :: 2 Seattle 
VAN: Marco Bustos 30, Carlyle Mitchell 82
SEA: Eriq Zavaleta (Blair Gavin) 51, David Estrada 90+

TUESDAY, August 27

Chicago 1 :: 2 New York 
NY: Michael Bustamante 7, Marius Obekop 90
CHI: Hunter Jumper (Quincy Amarikwa) 19

Dallas 1 :: 3 Columbus 
CLB: Ryan Finley (Konrad Warzycha) 6, Ryan Finley 54, Ryan Finley 69
DAL: Kenny Cooper 77

Chivas USA 1 :: 0 Colorado 
CHV: Aaron Ponce (Tristan Bowen) 50

SATURDAY, August 31

Portland 0 :: 1 Salt Lake
RSL: Devon Sandoval (Sebastian Velasquez) 38

SUNDAY, September 1

San Jose 0 :: 0 LA Galaxy

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