July 23, 2012
USL PRO ROUNDUP
Week in review: Orlando Takes Dramatic Victory
CHARLESTON, S.C. Ė Ian Fullerís stoppage-time goal earned Orlando City victory against his former club as the Lions took a 2-1 win against the Charleston Battery on Thursday night at Blackbaud Stadium.
The win clinched for Orlando the first berth in the USL PRO Playoffs, and extended its lead at the top of the league standings to 13 points.
Fuller headed home at the back post off a corner from the right as the Lions scored twice in the final minute of regulation and stoppage time to deny the Battery victory.
Orlando had the better of the possession, but the first clear chance came to the Battery when a low cross came to Tony Donatelli, only for the veteran midfielder to shoot over the crossbar from 15 yards in the 21st minute. Cityís Kevin Molino had a good chance 10 minutes later, but Kevin Klasila made a good save.
Donatelli went close again early in the second half when he picked up a poor clearance by Orlando goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo, but his shot from 20 yards found the left side-netting. As the game went on, however, the Battery seemed to gain in confidence, and they went close when John Wilson found an alley down the left, only for his low cross to be blocked away.
Cuevas was making a difference as well, and he broke the deadlock in the 64th minute as a scramble in the penalty area came loose on the right side. Ryan Richter found Cuevas at a narrow angle, and he fired a high finish into the net to give the Battery the lead. Orlando responded immediately, Dennis Chin and Jamie Watson being denied by the woodwork, but it took until the final minute for the Lions to tie the game as Matt Luzunaris headed home from Luke Bodenís cross from the left wing, setting up the Lionsí dramatic victory.
Orlando will next face the Wilmington Hammerheads on Wednesday night at the Florida Citrus Bowl, before a rematch with the Battery on Friday, July 27, also at the Florida Citrus Bowl, in their final meeting of the regular season.
DAYTON DUTCH LIONS 2, HARRISBURG CITY ISLANDERS 1: The Dayton Dutch Lions rallied from an early deficit to take victory against the Harrisburg City Islanders at Miami Valley South Stadium. Gibson Bardsley and Gerrit-Jan Bartels scored either side of halftime to give the Dutch Lions their third win of the USL PRO season.
Both teams had chances to score in an open first five minutes, but it was the City Islanders that took the early lead in the ninth minute after being awarded a free kick just outside the Dutch Lionsí penalty area. Tom Mellorís low drive found the left corner of the net for his second goal of the season.
The game remained open, however, and the Dutch Lions were able to get back on even terms in the 38th minute as Bardsley scored his team-leading fourth goal of the season from close range after a good counter-attack. The Dutch Lions then took the lead six minutes into the second half as Bartels fired home from eight yards after a clever back-heel by Kyle Knotek set up his finish.
Harrisburg pushed for an equalizer, and Dayton goalkeeper Matt Williams had to be sharp, making a pair of good saves to maintain the Dutch Lionsí lead. The closest the City Islanders came to an equalizer was in the 88th minute, when a deflected shot that had Williams wrong-footed trickled just wide of the left post, but the Dutch Lions were able to hold on to take victory.
HARRISBURG CITY ISLANDERS 2, PITTSBURGH RIVERHOUNDS 0: The Harrisburg City Islanders ended a three-game winless streak with victory in the final installment of the Keystone Derby this season against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds at Chartiers Valley Stadium. Tom Mellor scored early, and Lucky Mkosana late, to give their side victory.
Mellor put the City Islanders ahead early, scoring in the fifth minute as he converted a chance created by Garret Pettis. The score would hold until the final five minutes, when Harrisburg clinched all three points through Mkosana, who scored his fourth goal of the season with help from Sainey Tourayís assist.
The win moves the City Islanders four points ahead of the Charlotte Eagles, Los Angeles Blues and Richmond Kickers, who are currently battling for the sixth and final playoff position. The City Islanders return home to host the Los Angeles Blues Saturday at Skyline Sports Complex, while the Riverhounds will visit the Rochester Rhinos at Sahlenís Stadium on Saturday night as they try to bounce back from the loss.
WILMINGTON HAMMERHEADS 2, DAYTON DUTCH LIONS 0: The Wilmington Hammerheads scored twice in the opening 10 minutes as they took a comfortable win against the Dayton Dutch Lions at Legion Stadium. The win allowed the Hammerheads to maintain fourth place in the USL PRO standings, staying ahead of the Harrisburg City Islanders.
The Hammerheads opened the scoring in the third minute as Corey Hertzogís long throw-in from the left side was headed home from six yards by Dylan Riley. The goal was the defenderís first of the season.
Six minutes later, Cody Arnoux opened his account for his hometown team in spectacular fashion, as he stole possession and began a counter-attack, saw Dayton goalkeeper Matt Williams off his line and drove a shot from 45 yards into the top-left corner of the net. Arnoux went close again later in the first half, only for Williams to make a good save, but the Hammerheads were rarely threatened defensively, with Alex Horwath saving well when called into action.
RICHMOND KICKERS 2, DAYTON DUTCH LIONS 0: Matt Delicate became the leading goal-scorer in Richmond Kickers history as his late goal from the penalty spot capped a 2-0 victory against the Dayton Dutch Lions at City Stadium on Saturday night. The victory broke a three-way tie for sixth place in the USL PRO standings with the Los Angeles Blues and Charlotte Eagles both idle after the Eaglesí game with Wilmington was postponed.
Richmond got on top early, taking the lead in the 11th minute as Ryan Heins was able to put away the rebound after Sascha Goerresí shot was only parried. Heins almost added a second in the 33rd minute, only for his shot to go wide after a good cross by Phillipe Davies.
The Kickers thought they had doubled their lead early in the second half when Goerres found the back of the net, only for the offside flag to be raised, but in the final minute Delicate won a penalty after being brought on as a second-half substitute. Delicate took the kick himself, and with the goal passed Rob Ukrop with his 64th goal as a member of the Kickers.
The Kickers next face a home-and-home series with the Charlotte Eagles this weekend, opening at Charlotte Christian Stadium Friday night. The Dutch Lions return home after a tough road trip to host Antigua Barracuda FC on Sunday at Miami Valley South Stadium at 7:30 p.m. ET.
ROCHESTER RHINOS 2, PITTSBURGH RIVERHOUNDS 0: The Rochester Rhinos maintained their undefeated record against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds at Sahlenís Stadium with victory, while also moving back into second place in the USL PRO standings. JC Banks and Andrew Hoxie each scored their fifth goals of the season to give the Rhinos victory.
The Rhinos took the lead in the 10th minute as Lucas Fernandez swung in a cross from the right side. Isaac Kissi flicked the ball on toward the far post, where Banks was on hand to tuck home his finish. Soon after, Banks was substituted after picking up an injury, but the Rhinos continued to create chances, Georgios Kyriazis going close as he headed over the crossbar.
The Riverhounds came close to an equalizer in the 75th minute when Matt Kassel cut in from the right and curled a shot with his left foot that went just wide of the far post. A minute later, however, the Rhinos added their second as Andrew Hoxie headed home Fernandezís cross for a 2-0 lead. That would prove enough for the Rhinos to move past the Charleston Battery with four games remaining in their regular season.
The Rhinos remain at Sahlenís Stadium as they host the Los Angeles Blues Friday night at 7:35 p.m. ET. The Riverhounds return home to host Antigua Barracuda FC, also Friday, at Chartiers Valley Stadium at 7 p.m. ET.