July 9, 2012
USL PRO ROUNDUP
The week in review: Charlotte surges up standings
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Charlotte Eagles claimed a sweep of their home-and-home weekend series with the Charleston Battery as they took a 1-0 victory at Charlotte Christian Stadium on Saturday night.
The victory was the Eagles’ fourth in a row, moving them into the sixth and final playoff spot as they edged past the Richmond Kickers on 20 points.
Charlotte had taken a 2-0 victory on Friday night at Blackbaud Stadium in the opening game of the series. Nate Thornton opened the scoring just after halftime taking on a flick by Mauricio Salles and finishing into the back of the net. Juan Guzman then doubled the Eagles’ advantage with 11 minutes to go as he fired a shot from just inside the penalty area into the top-left corner of the net after a corner was deflected to him.
On Saturday night, the Battery were the more aggressive side early on as they tried to bounce back from the previous night’s loss. Charleston tried to use Dane Kelly’s speed up front to get in behind the Eagles’ defense, but Charlotte was able to withstand the pressure. The Eagles then took the lead in the 36th minute as a good cross by Cheyne Roberts was met on the volley by Darryl Roberts for his team-leading fourth goal of the season.
Charlotte was able to carry its lead into the second half, and then withstood the pressure of the Battery as they looked for an equalizer. Charlotte hit the post twice in the second half, with Juan Herrera and Christian Meza both going close to doubling the Eagles’ lead. Charleston came close to earning an equalizer late on through Jose Cuevas, but Eric Reed was able to maintain the shutout and give his side victory.
The Eagles remain home next weekend as they host the Pittsburgh Riverhounds at Charlotte Christian Stadium on Saturday night at 8 p.m. The Battery return home to host the Wilmington Hammerheads next Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Blackbaud Stadium.
RICHMOND KICKERS 1, LOS ANGELES 0 BLUES: Ryan Heins scored the only goal of the game as the Richmond Kickers took a 1-0 victory against the Los Angeles Blues at City Stadium. The win moved the Kickers into fifth place in the USL PRO standings and snapped a three-game losing streak.
The Kickers found the lead as Heins finished off a chance created by Edson Elcock in the 66th minute to put his side ahead.
ROCHESTER RHINOS 3, ANTIGUA BARRACUDA FC 1: Kendell McFayden scored twice in the first half and Andrew Hoxie twice in the second as the Rochester Rhinos defeated Antigua Barracuda FC 3-1 at Sahlen’s Stadium. The goals were McFayden’s first in a Rhinos uniform as the Rhinos moved within two points of the Charleston Battery for second place in the USL PRO standings.
McFayden put the Rhinos on top in just the third minute as a pass by Tam McManus behind the Barracudas’ defense allowed the striker to use his speed before finishing low into the left corner of the net. His second goal, in the 19th minute, was almost an exact replica of the first, giving the Rhinos a comfortable lead.
Antigua hit back, however, as Peter Byers struck in the 29th minute on a blistering shot from 35 yards that dipped over Rhinos goalkeeper Kristian Nicht and into the top-left corner of the net. Antigua tried to push forward in search of an equalizer after the break, but for the most part were stifled by the Rhinos’ defense.
Hoxie then put the game away for Rochester in the final 15 minutes, first roofing home a rebound from Conor Chinn’s initial effort in the 76th minute off a corner. The 6-foot-3 forward then produced a deft flick over an advancing goalkeeper after a flick by Isaac Kissi in the 80th minute to give the Rhinos a three-goal lead.
DAYTON DUTCH LIONS 1, PITTSBURGH RIVERHOUNDS 0: Akeem Priestley scored the only goal late in the second half as the Dayton Dutch Lions earned victory against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds at Miami Valley South Stadium. The Dutch Lions’ second win in USL PRO this season snapped the Riverhounds’ four-game undefeated streak.
The goal came in the 86th minute as Priestley picked up the ball on the right after a pass from Eli Garner. Priestley beat his defender to the outside, and then scored from a tight angle to give his side victory. The goal was Priestley’s second in as many games after scoring in his side’s 2-2 draw with Orlando City last Friday night.
HARRISBURG CITY ISLANDERS 3, PITTSBURGH RIVERHOUNDS 2: Garret Pettis scored a late goal to give the Harrisburg City Islanders victory against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds in a dramatic edition of the Keystone Derby at Chartiers Valley Stadium. The victory moves the City Islanders into fifth place in the USL PRO standings.
After a scoreless draw in the opening meeting between the two teams, the City Islanders opened to scoring in the 19th minute as Lucky Mkosana found space in the Riverhounds’ penalty area before finishing past Hunter Gilstrap. The Riverhounds hit back quickly, however, as Rich Constanzo tied the game six minutes later, sending the sides to the break even.
Both sides had chances in the second half, Shintaro Harada going close for the Riverhounds and Hunter Gilstrap making a good save to deny the City Islanders a second goal. It was Pittsburgh that would take the lead as Darren Amoo scored his third goal of the season, but the City Islanders responded almost immediately as Sainey Touray struck two minutes later to bring his side even again. Then Pettis capped a dramatic final 15 minutes as he found what proved to be the game-winner in the 87th minute.
ORLANDO CITY 1, LOS ANGELES BLUES 0: Keiron Bernard scored the only goal as Orlando City defeated the Los Angeles Blues at Titan Stadium. The victory allowed the Lions to extend their lead at the top of the USL PRO standings to seven point after the Charleston Battery’s loss to the Charlotte Eagles earlier in the evening.
Orlando scored on their first opportunity, as Anthony Pulis’ corner from the left was met at the near post by Bernard, who headed home to give the Lions the lead.
WILMINGTON HAMMERHEADS 1, RICHMOND KICKERS 0: Corey Hertzog scored the only goal of the game as the Wilmington Hammerheads took victory against the Richmond Kickers at Legion Stadium. The victory allowed the Hammerheads to remain undefeated at home in USL PRO this season.
Hertzog, on loan from the New York Red Bulls, finally broke the deadlock in the 66th minute as he was able to drive home a shot from 25 yards out. Richmond was able to come close to an equalizer shortly after, only for Hammerheads goalkeeper Alex Horwath to save well from a corner.
The Kickers were then reduced to 10 men as Henry Kalungi was sent off for a second yellow card, and the Hammerheads earned a stoppage-time penalty kick as Luke Holmes was brought down in the penalty area. Kickers goalkeeper Ronnie Pascale denied Chukwudi Chijindu from the spot, but it didn’t make a difference as the Hammerheads held on for victory.
ROCHESTER RHINOS 2, DAYTON DUTCH LIONS 0: The Rochester Rhinos took their second consecutive victory, and third in their last four, as an early goal by Danny Earls and a late finish by Isaac Kissi earned victory against the Dayton Dutch Lions at Sahlen’s Stadium.
The Rhinos took the lead in just the third minute as JC Banks flicked a pass over the Dutch Lions’ defense to Earls cutting down the left side, and the Irishman drilled a low shot in at the near post from a tight angle. The two teams played relatively evenly following that, for while the Rhinos held more possession, the Dutch Lions looked dangerous in the final third when they had the ball.
The Rhinos doubled their lead in the 90th minute through Kissi, who took advantage as the Dutch Lions pushed forward to strike on a breakaway, shooting home low from 15 yards out.
ORLANDO CITY 4, LOS ANGELES BLUES 0: Dennis Chin scored a pair of first-half goals as Orlando City took a second victory from its visit to California with a 4-0 win against the Los Angeles Blues on Sunday evening. The two goals gave Chin eight for the season, putting him into a tie for the USL PRO lead with the Charleston Battery’s Nicki Paterson.
Chin struck first in the seventh minute after a perfectly judged through-ball by Jamie Watson allowed Chin to knife in through the left channel before finishing from 15 yards. The second goal was very similar, coming 10 minutes later as Jean Alexandre released Chin for a finish into the left corner from the right side of the penalty area.
The Lions added to their lead with 20 minutes to go as second-half substitute Matt Luzunaris stole possession two minutes after coming on and fed Jean Alexandre, who finished well. Luzunaris then added a goal of his own in the 78th minute as Watson picked up his second assist before the former San Jose Earthquakes striker notched his fifth of the season.