Monday, September 9, 2013

Lower Division Recap: Round 23

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One old sports adage certainly was not descriptive of the USL Pro Championship game Saturday as very little defense was to be found in an 11-goal thriller. Sporting Kansas City prospect Dom Dwyer made a triumphant return to Orlando City, where he spent the first half of the season on loan, in leading them to a 7-4 victory with four goals and an assist against the Charlotte Eagles, who did not back down and took the game to the break even at two goals each.

Meanwhile, plenty of action among the rest of the lower divisions finished even in low scoring contests. Three of the four NASL matches finished 1-1 or scoreless and two of the four MLS Reserve League matches finished even. Tampa Bay used a win over Carolina to move atop the table amid the NASL headlines while New York Red Bulls striker Andre Akpan was the highlight of the MLS reserves this week, scoring in a loss to Dallas and tallying four times in a 7-2 win in Houston.


Back on loan from Sporting Kansas City for the first time since being called back to MLS midseason, Dom Dwyer had arguably the greatest night of the year as he led Orlando City to the championship with a four-goal, one assist performance. And the Lions needed all five tallies he was involved in.

Charlotte, known all season for its defense, claimed the lead in the 20th minute off a corner. During the regular season, that would have been a huge goal as the pair played to a 1-1 draw in the first meeting and a 1-0 Orlando win in Florida in the second.

Instead, the game turned into an all-out goalfest with Dwyer and Charlotte's Christian Ramirez leading the way.

The Sporting KC striker put things level in the 33rd, knocking in a ball from Dennis Chin, and claimed the lead in the 42nd on a header. But Orlando City's lead also was not safe. Ramirez scored in his third consecutive playoff contest a minute later to take things to the break dead even.

Ramirez got behind the line in the 58th minute to give Charlotte the lead again, but then Dwyer returned to the forefront. He converted a penalty three minutes later after Adama Mbengue was taken down in the box and then put the Lions in front in the 69th with another header, this time off a corner. Chin scored what proved to be the game-winner on a 20-yard effort a minute later to create the first two-goal lead in the game and Mbengue pushed the advantage to three with five minutes left. Charlotte's Christian Meza scored three minutes later, but the three-goal hole was too much to pull out of that late in the contest. As they pushed for a comeback Chin added his second in the final minute.

SATURDAY, September 7

Charlotte 4 :: 7 Orlando
CHE: Fejiro Okiomah (Jorge Herrera) 20
ORL: Dom Dwyer (Dennis Chin) 33
ORL: Dom Dwyer (Erik Ustruck) 42
CHE: Christian Ramirez (Ben Newnam) 43
CHE: Christian Ramirez 58
ORL: Dom Dwyer (penalty) 61
ORL: Dom Dwyer (Anthony Pulis) 69
ORL: Dennis Chin 70
ORL: Adama Mbengue (Dom Dwyer) 85
CHE: Christian Meza (Tommy Smith) 88
ORL: Dennis Chin 90

North American Soccer League

In a back-and-forth affair, the Tampa Bay Rowdies rallied at home and found a little fortune to claim the only win in the league on the night, 3-2, against Carolina, jumping the RailHawks into the top spot in the Fall table. Ty Shipalane gave the visitors the advantage, but former RailHawk Etienne Barbara set up Eric Frimpong in the 42nd and Georgi Hristov on the hour mark to put the Rowdies in front. Enzo Martinez, who set up Shipalane's opener in the 34th put things level again in the 64th and it looked like it would be a full night of draws when a deflected Lucky Mkosana shot was inadvertantly headed into the goal by Carolina defender Paul Hamilton two minutes into stoppage time.

Down the road in Florida, a scoreless draw meant the end of two streaks. Fort Lauderdale's three-game run of victories came to a halt and San Antonio's losing streak ended at five games as they registered their first point of the Fall campaign, though not in the most impressive of manners. Meanwhile in Minnesota, FC Edmonton found a quick equalizer in the 77th minute when defender Antonio Rago raced up the field and found Corey Hertzog with a cross immediately after the restart from Cristiano Dias' goal that came off a corner. The result was the fourth consecutive draw for Edmonton.

If you took an extended break at halftime for concessions, you may have missed all the meaningful action in New York as the Cosmos converted from the spot via Marcos Senna in the 44th. Atlanta pulled even four minutes after intermission when Shane Moroney nodded in a free kick from Pablo Cruz.

SATURDAY, September 7

Atlanta 1 :: 1 New York
NY: Marcos Senna (pen) 44
ATL: Shane Moroney (Pablo Cruz) 49

Edmonton 1 :: 1 Minnesota
MIN: Cristiano Dias (Miguel Ibarra) 76
EDM: Corey Hertzog (Antonio Rago) 77

Carolina 2 :: 3 Tampa Bay
CAR: Ty Shipalane (Enzo Martinez) 34
TB: Eric Frimpong (Etienne Barbara) 42
TB: Georgi Hristov (Etienne Barbara) 60
CAR: Enzo Martinez (Brian Shriver) 64
TB: Carolina Own Goal (Paul Hamilton) 92+

San Antonio 0 :: 0 Fort Lauderdale

MLS Reserve League

The action Sunday in the MLS Reserves took on a bit of both the USL championship's wild goalfest and the NASL's penchent for draws. The Galaxy rebounded from scoring an early own goal to claim the lead before the break with Chandler Hoffman setting up Charlie Rugg and scoring himself. Danny Mwanga, however, spoiled the victory with two minutes left in regulation on a rocket from the edge of the area. Portland also found a late equalizer with three minutes left, taking advantage of an extra man from Olmes Garcia's 65th minute straight red send-off with Antony Macchione scoring from 15 yards.

Meanwhile in Houston, the Red Bulls made a double trampling of the Dynamo with a 7-2 reserves victory to accompany the 4-1 MLS win for an 11-3 aggregate on the day. Andre Akpan scored three goals in teh first half-hour and Marius Obekop made it a four goal lead before Calen Carr answered for the hosts.Akpan would add a fourth in the second half as the Red Bulls widened the gap. New York lost earlier in the week at home against Dallas. Akpan also had a goal in that contest, scoring an equalizer to make it 2-2 five minutes before the break, but Dallas took the victory through a Jonathan top strike in the 63rd.

TUESDAY, September 3

Dallas 3 :: 2 New York
NY: Ruben Bover (Amando Moreno) 19
DAL: Peter Luccin (Diego de la Tejera) 30
DAL: Kenny Cooper 38
NY: Andre Akpan 40
DAL: Jonathan Top 63

SUNDAY, September 8

Colorado 2 :: 2 LA Galaxy
COL: LA Own Goal (Oscar Sorto) 9
LA: Charlie Rugg (Chandler Hoffman) 22
LA: Chandler Hoffman (Laurent Courtois, Colin Clark) 33
COL: Danny Mwanga (unassisted) 88

Salt Lake 1 :: 1 Portland
RSL: Devon Sandoval 53
POR: Anthony Macchione (Jacob Kempf) 87

New York 7 :: 2 Houston
NY: Andre Akpan 7
NY: Andre Akpan 13
NY: Andre Akpan 27
NY: Marius Obekop 35
HOU: Calen Carr (Brian Ownby) 42
NY: Michael Bustamante 54
HOU: Omar Cummings 72
NY: Andre Akpan 79
NY: Ruben Bover 84

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