July 16, 2012
USL PRO ROUNDUP
Week in review: Orlando sweeps past Rochester
ORLANDO, Fla. Ė Orlando City moved within a win of the playoffs by scoring three times in the opening half-hour to take a 4-0 victory against the Rochester Rhinos on Saturday night at the Florida Citrus Bowl. Matt Luzunaris scored his fifth goal in his past seven games to open the scoring and lead the Lions to their 13th win of the season.
The Lions opened the scoring in the 10th minute as Kevin Molino slid a pass through to Luzunaris to finish. Eight minutes later, Jerome Mecheck lashed home a fierce free kick from just outside the penalty area, and the Lions added a third in the 27th minute as Rob Valentino headed home Luke Bodenís corner kick. Rhinos coach Jesse Myers made three first-half substitutions to try and change his sideís energy, but they were unable to pull a goal back before the break.
The second half was more even, but the Lions added to their lead in the 73rd minute as recent addition Rodrigo Lopez converted from the penalty spot to record his first goal for the Lions. The four goals against were the most conceded by the Rhinos this season, surpassing a 3-0 defeat against the Philadelphia Union in the U.S. Open Cup.
Orlando hits the road in its next outing, visiting the Charleston Battery on Thursday night at Blackbaud Stadium at 7:30 p.m. The Rhinos head home to host the Pittsburgh Riverhounds next Saturday night at 7 p.m. at Sahlenís Stadium.
WILMINGTON HAMMERHEADS 0, ROCHESTER RHINOS 0: The Wilmington Hammerheads and Rochester Rhinos played to a draw at Legion Stadium as the Hammerheads maintained their undefeated home record in USL PRO despite being reduced to 10 men with just more than 10 minutes remaining.
The Hammerheads almost took the lead after 20 seconds when Corey Hertzog stole in on goal after a defensive mistake, only for his shot to go just wide of the right post. Wilmington had the better of the early chances, and Bryce Taylor also went close from a long throw-in by Hertzog from the right, his flicked header finding the side netting.
Rochester didnít have many clear opportunities, but did get a good chance to take the lead in the 36th minute as Kendell McFayden broke in behind the Hammerheadsí defense, drawing Alex Horwath off his line. The Rhinos striker went for the lob over Horwath, but saw his effort come back off the crossbar and safely cleared.
Both teams had chances in the second half, with the Hammerheads throwing numbers forward to try and find a winner. Those efforts were tempered in the 79th minute when substitute Chukwudi Chijindu was shown a straight red card for a challenge on Rochesterís Tyler Rosenlund, and the teams settled for a scoreless draw.
LOS ANGELES BLUES 3, ANTIGUA BARRACUDA FC 0: Bryan Burke had a pair of goals, and Brian Farber had a goal and assist, as the Los Angeles Blues took victory against Antigua Barracuda FC as the two teams concluded their weather-delayed contest from Thursday night.
Burke had given the Blues the lead before lightning and heavy rain pulled the teams off the field at IMG Academy in the 13th minute on Thursday. Burkeís 11th-minute goal came from a defensive error, and the Blues were able to maintain their advantage until the halftime break when the game resumed.
Antiguaís chances of getting back into the contest took a hit when they were reduced to 10 men just past the hour-mark as Luke Blakely was sent off, and shortly after Farber doubled the Blues lead. Farber then played provider with five minutes to go as he set up Burke for his second, and third of the season.
HARRISBURG CITY ISLANDERS 0, DAYTON DUTCH LIONS 0: The Harrisburg City Islanders and Dayton Dutch Lions played to a scoreless draw at Skyline Sports Complex. The draw extended the City Islandersí undefeated streak to four games, while the Dutch Lions drew for a USL PRO-high seventh time this season.
The City Islanders went close to taking the lead in the 16th minute as Lucky Mkosana was sprung into the right channel, but his shot went just wide of the right post. Both sides had chances later in the half, with Dayton playing effectively on the counter attack, but the game remained scoreless at the break.
Harrisburg came out sharply to start the second half, and Sainey Touray almost gave his side the lead in the 51st minute as he received a pass from Mkosana 10 yards out, only to sky his shot over the crossbar. The Dutch Lions also went close as a flicked header by Gibson Bardsley off a free kick from the right went just wide of the left post. Moments later, Daytonís Matt Williams made an outstanding save to deny Tom Mellor the opening goal.
Dayton almost took the lead in the 76th minute as Greg Preciado slid in at the far post to meet a corner from the right, but his effort went just wide of the net. The City Islanders had the last good chance as Touray shot wide of the left post in stoppage time, however, as the sides finished scoreless.
The City Islanders and Dutch Lions meet again on Wednesday night at Miami Valley South Stadium at 7:30 p.m. ET for their third and final meeting of the regular season.
RICHMOND KICKERS 3, PITTSBURGH RIVERHOUNDS 1: The Richmond Kickers got first-half goals by William Yomby and Chris Agorsor as they defeated the Pittsburgh Riverhounds at City Stadium. Agorsorís goal was his team-leading sixth of the season, putting him in a tie for fifth place in USL PRO.
Both sides had chances early, with the Riverhoundsí Stefan Lundberg and Mike Seth both going close in the opening 15 minutes. Richmondís Gerson dos Santos had a header denied by Hunter Gilstrap, who was also sharp to deny Agorsorís finish from Ryan Heinsí cross minutes later.
The Kickers took the lead eight minutes before halftime, though, as dos Santos played provider for Yomby as he headed home from a free kick. Agorsor doubled the lead just before the halftime whistle as he fired home despite the efforts of Gilstrap.
Agorsor had a pair of chances early in the second half to add to his tally, only to be denied by Gilstrap on both occasions. Sascha Goerres also hit the post off a free kick just past the hour-mark, but the Kickers rounded out their victory as Matt Delicate converted from the penalty spot with four minutes to go after Luke Vercollone was brought down in the penalty area before Matt Kassel would back a consolation goal for the Riverhounds in the 90th minute, also from the penalty spot.
LOS ANGELES BLUES 2, ANTIGUA BARRACUDAS FC 0: The Los Angeles Blues took their second victory of the weekend as goals by Max Griffin and Matt Fondy earned victory against Antigua Barracuda FC at IMG Academy. Griffin opened the scoring in the first half before Fondyís late strike put the game away.
The Blues opened with more possession, but the first clear chance came to the Barracudas in the eighth minute when Peter Byers was able to beat the offside trap and break in on goal. The forward was met by Blues goalkeeper Carl Woszczynski, who came off his line quickly to make the save. Three minutes later Antigua went close again as Kimoi Alexanderís shot from 25 yards went just wide of the left post.
The Blues took the lead in the 25th minute, though, as Josh Suggs found space on the left, and his low cross was met at the near post by Griffin, who flicked his shot into the right corner of the net. The goal was Griffinís first since joining the Blues on loan from Orlando City earlier this week, and his second of the season.
The game slowed in the Florida heat in the second half, but Antigua had some chances to get back on level terms. Byers forced a save from Woszczynski in the 54th minute after being played into the left side of the penalty area by Matt Aldred, cutting back at the goal line onto his right foot before blasting on goal, and Quinton Griffithís low free kick went just wide of the left post two minutes later. The Blues put the game away with 14 minutes remaining as Bryan Burke picked out Fondy in the left side of the penalty area and the halftime substitute put his finish into the bottom-right corner of the net.
Los Angeles returns home for an international friendly against Guatemalan club Municipal Saturday night at Titan Stadium, while Antigua has the weekend off before a visit to the Pittsburgh Riverhounds on Friday, July 27 at 7 p.m. ET at Chartiers Valley Stadium.
CHARLESTON BATTERY 3, WILMINGTON HAMMERHEADS 1: The Charleston Battery moved back into second place in the USL PRO standings as a pair of second-half goals downed the Wilmington Hammerheads at Blackbaud Stadium.
The Battery took an early lead through Navion Boyd in the sixth minute as he was able to use his speed to get in behind the Hammerheadsí defense and fire a low shot just inside the post. The remainder of the half was relatively even, but the Hammerheads were able to tie the game two minutes into the second half as Andriy Budnyy volleyed home after the Battery were unable to clear a cross into the penalty area.
The Battery took the lead for good on the hour-mark, however, as Dane Kelly was on hand to head home Ryan Richterís cross, and six minutes later Nicki Paterson scored his league-leading ninth goal of the season on a brilliant strike from 35 yards out. Paterson almost added a second minutes later, only to see his free kick come back off the post and away to safety.
Charleston will play host to Orlando City on Thursday night at Blackbaud Stadium in its next outing. Meanwhile, the Hammerheads will head home to host the Dayton Dutch Lions on Friday night at Legion Stadium at 7:30 p.m. ET.
CHARLOTTE EAGLES 2, PITTSBURGH RIVERHOUNDS 0: The Charlotte Eagles got a goal in either half as they took victory against a 10-man Pittsburgh Riverhounds side that saw its playoff hopes grow more remote at Charlotte Christian Stadium.
The game was delayed in the third minute due to lightning, with the 8 p.m. kickoff not resuming until 10:30 p.m. ET. In the 33rd minute, the Riverhounds were reduced to 10 men as Nikola Katic was sent off for a late challenge. Two minutes later, the Eagles took the lead as Mauricio Sallesí cross was met by Devon Grousis, who headed home. The goal was Grousisí first as an Eagle.
Charlotte sealed its fifth consecutive victory in USL PRO play in second-half stoppage time as Chris Salvaggione scored his first goal of the season. The win allowed the Eagles to keep pace with the Richmond Kickers and Los Angeles Blues, with all three teams sitting tied with 23 points and seven games to play as they battle for the sixth and final playoff berth.
The Eagles remain at home Saturday as they host in-state rival the Wilmington Hammerheads at Charlotte Christian Stadium at 7 p.m. ET. The Riverhounds, meanwhile, return home to host the Harrisburg City Islanders on Friday night before a trip to face the Rochester Rhinos on Saturday at Sahlenís Stadium.
Wednesday, July 18
Harrisburg at Dayton, 7:30 p.m. ET
Thursday, July 19
Orlando at Charleston, 7:30 p.m. ET
Friday, July 20
Harrisburg at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m. ET
Dayton at Wilmington, 7:30 p.m. ET
Saturday, July 21
Wilmington at Charlotte, 7 p.m. ET
Dayton at Richmond, 7 p.m. ET
Pittsburgh at Rochester, 7:05 p.m. ET
Wednesday, July 25
Wilmington at Orlando City, 7:30 p.m. ET
Friday, July 27
Richmond at Charlotte, 7 p.m. ET
Antigua at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m. ET
Charleston at Orlando, 7:30 p.m. ET
Los Angeles at Rochester, 7:35 p.m. ET
Saturday, July 28
Los Angeles at Harrisburg, 7 p.m. ET
Charlotte at Richmond, 7 p.m. ET
Sunday, July 29
Antigua at Dayton, 7:30 p.m. ET