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Gameday Report: March 9, Week 1

By NICHOLAS MURRAY - nicholas.murray@uslsoccer.com, 03/10/19, 12:52AM EST

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New Mexico earns first point before almost 13,000 fans; Sellout crowd of 8,062 in Memphis sees Rowdies spoil party

New Mexico United earned its first point in club history as almost 13,000 fans set a Week 1 attendance record in USL Championship history at Isotopes Park, while the Tampa Bay Rowdies spoiled Memphis 901 FC's coming out party at AutoZone Park with a narrow victory in front of a sellout crowd of 8,062 fans.

Elsewhere North Carolina FC, Nashville SC and the New York Red Bulls II all claimed opening victories, and San Antonio FC and Phoenix Rising FC dueled to a draw in a six-goal thriller. 

Select a match below...

 

Sacramento Republic FC (1), Real Monarchs SLC (1)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Republic FC denied the Monarchs a road victory to start the season thanks to a late goal by Charalampos Chantzopoulos. Real had gone ahead late in the first half when Jack Blake converted from the penalty spot, and it looked as though that lead might hold up as the Monarchs’ defense and United States U-20 international goalkeeper David Ochoa held firm under pressure. Sacramento finally broke through with nine minutes to go, however, as Chantzopoulos got on the end of a low cross by Sam Werner to grab the hosts a point.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Sam Werner, Sacramento Republic FC – Werner had an immediate impact as a second-half substitute, setting up the equalizer and looking threatening in the closing stages.

 

Las Vegas Lights FC (0), Austin Bold FC (0)

LAS VEGAS – Las Vegas and Austin ended scoreless in front of a crowd of 8,017 fans at Cashman Field as Bold FC earned its first point in club history. The lack of goals wasn’t for a lack of chances, with Austin’s Amobi Okugo forcing a good reflex save from Lights FC goalkeeper Thomas Olsen in the 31st minute and Las Vegas’ Christhian Hernandez doing the same with a free kick that Bold FC goalkeeper turned around the right post three minutes later. Neither side found a way to break through as Lights FC’s Gabriel Robinson headed over the best chance of the second half, but while the hosts held a 18-8 shots advantage, Head Coach Eric Wynalda’s side was unable to come through on Owner Brett Lashbrook’s guarantee of victory earlier this week.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Diego Restrepo, Austin Bold FC – Restrepo made two strong saves in the first half to keep Austin level, eventually earning the visitors a point.

 

Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC (4), LA Galaxy II (1)

CARSON, Calif. – The Switchbacks got their 2019 season off to a flying start as Shane Malcolm scored a hat trick against Los Dos. The Guam international struck first in the 10th minute as he nodded home from close range after Mike Seth’s header back across the penalty area, and then scored at the second attempt three minutes into the second half. Jordan Burt added a third for Colorado Springs before Malcolm notched his hat trick from eight yards out with 14 minutes to go. Los Dos got a consolation goal late through Geoffrey Acheampong, but it was far too late for the hosts to mount a comeback.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Shane Malcolm, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC – Malcolm claimed the first hat trick of the 2019 season to power the Switchbacks to an impressive start to the campaign.

 

OKC Energy FC (3), El Paso Locomotive FC (1)

EL PASO, Texas – Deshorn Brown continued his hot preseason form with two goals as Energy FC took victory on the road to spoil Locomotive FC’s regular-season debut. After scoring seven goals in preseason, Brown struck after just 22 seconds to move into a tie for the sixth-fastest goal in USL Championship history to put Energy FC ahead. Derek Gebhard made history as the first goalscorer in Locomotive FC to level the score in the 15th minute, but Brown put Energy FC back on top nine minutes into the second half from a narrow angle after rounding the goalkeeper. Cordell Cato then wrapped up the three points for the visitors with nine minutes to go as he latched onto Kyle Hyland’s ball over the top and finished.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Deshorn Brown, OKC Energy FC – Two goals to open the season from the Jamaican powered OKC to a big road victory.

 

New Mexico United (1), Fresno FC (1)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Devon Sandoval scored the first goal in New Mexico United history, but Fresno pegged back its hosts in the second half to earn a point. The first signing in NMU’s history, Sandoval struck in the 25th minute with a blistering strike that brought a crowd of 12,896 fans – a USL Championship Week 1 record – to its feet. The Foxes hit back shortly into the second half, however, as Jackson powered home a header off a cross by Alex Cooper to level. Both chances had opportunities to grab the lead in the final half-hour, but neither found a breakthrough to allow NMU to earn its first point in club history.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Devon Sandoval, New Mexico United – Going from first signing in club history to first goalscorer, the New Mexico native made history on a big night in Albuquerque. 

 

San Antonio FC (3), Phoenix Rising FC (3)

SAN ANTONIO – Three times San Antonio FC took the lead, and each time Phoenix Rising FC found an answer, capped by Jason Johnson’s stoppage-time equalizer to end matters at Toyota Field.

San Antonio took its first lead in the ninth minute when Ever Guzman clipped home a finish from close range off a low cross by Lance Laing, but Junior Flemmings responded with his first goal for Rising FC midway through the first half as he stretched turn home Solomon Asante’s cross. Then it was Billy Forbes’ turn to put the hosts ahead with a lashed finish five minutes before halftime, but Adam Jahn’s close-range tap-in off Flemmings’ low cross evened things again three minutes later.

Jahn had the misfortune of finding his own net with 10 minutes to go as his own goal put San Antonio back ahead, but in stoppage time his teammates rescued him as a floated cross from the right by Kevon Lambert found Johnson in space at the back post for a headed finish that left the sides with a point apiece.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Jason Johnson, Phoenix Rising FC - Johnson came off the bench and had the desired impact for the visitors with the stoppage-time equalizer against his former club.

 

Nashville SC (2), Loudoun United FC (0)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Nashville SC’s dynamic duo of Cameron Lancaster and Daniel Ríos scored second-half goals to earn victory against Loudoun United FC. 2018 Championship Golden Boot-winner Lancaster opened his account for NSC just before the hour-mark with a looping near-post header from a corner kick off the left that dropped into the right side of the net, and Ríos followed three minutes later as he capitalized on a fumbled cross by Loudoun goalkeeper Calle Brown to fire into an empty net.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Daniel Ríos, Nashville SC – The attacking newcomer not only opened his Nashville account but also recorded three key passes to ensure NSC had a smooth path to victory.

 

Tulsa Roughnecks FC (1), Portland Timbers 2 (1)

TULSA, Okla. – Honors ended even as T2 hit back with a second half goal to cancel out the Roughnecks’ opener. Tulsa took the lead in the 12th minute when Jose Altamirano drifted in from the right and curled home a good finish to the left corner. Portland had the chance to equalize five minutes after the break from the penalty spot, only for Tulsa goalkeeper Sean Lewis to save from Marvin Loria, but in the 55th minute Modou Jadama arrived late and headed home a corner kick from the left to level. Lewis had to make another big save in the 69th minute to keep the game level off a shot by T2’s Eryk Williamson, but Portland was unable to find a winner despite holding a 6-2 edge in shots on goal.  

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Sean Lewis, Tulsa Roughnecks FC – Lewis made a good save to deny Marvin Loria’s penalty kick and finished with five stops overall to earn his side a point.

 

Charleston Battery (1), Ottawa Fury FC (1)

CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Battery hit back in the second half to claim a draw after Ottawa had taken an early lead on the road at MUSC Health Stadium. It took only five minutes for Fury FC to find its first goal of the season as Kevin Oliveira fired a shot home in off the crossbar, but 20 minutes into the second half Ian Svantesson had a simple finish for the Battery after Kotaro Higashi’s initial shot had been parried by Fury FC goalkeeper David Monsalve to earn the hosts a point.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Kotaro Higashi, Charleston Battery – Higashi had the shot that led to the Battery’s equalizer, and had three of Charleston’s six shots on goal overall in a sharp performance.

 

ATL UTD 2 (2), Hartford Athletic (0)

KENNESAW, Ga. – ATL UTD 2 scored in either half to defeat Championship newcomer Hartford. John Gallagher struck first on the half-hour mark as a through-ball deflected kindly into his path for a sharp finish to put the hosts ahead, and then with 10 minutes to go Brandon Vazquez wrapped up all three points with a shot to the right corner that took a deflection from a challenging defender. Atlanta’s victory was its second consecutive season-opening victory as the Athletic fell in its debut.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Jon Gallagher, ATL UTD 2 – Gallagher scored for the second consecutive year in his side’s home opener, and also created three other scoring chances for the hosts in a lively display.

 

Tampa Bay Rowdies (1), Memphis 901 FC (0)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – An early goal for the Rowdies gave the visitors victory against 901 FC in front of a raucous sellout crowd of 8,062 fans in downtown Memphis. The Rowdies took the lead in the fourth minute after newcomer Juan Tejada was brought down inside the penalty area, allowing captain Sebastian Guenzatti to convert to the right corner as he sent Memphis goalkeeper Jeff Caldwell the wrong way. 901 FC’s Wesley Charpie came closest to finding an equalizer in the second half, first having a bouncing shot parried away by Tampa Bay goalkeeper John McCarthy and then having a header flash just wide of the right post, but the Rowdies held firm to spoil the party for the large crowd on hand at AutoZone Park that welcomed professional soccer back to Memphis.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Juan Tejada, Tampa Bay Rowdies – Tejada won the penalty kick that gave the Rowdies victory and was an energetic presence throughout on his professional debut.

 

Reno 1868 FC (2), Orange County SC (2)

RENO, Nev. – Orange County SC scored twice in the final 15 minutes to rally from a two-goal deficit to spoil Reno 1868 FC’s home opener. After a scoreless first half, Reno appeared to take control of the game as it struck twice in five minutes just past the hour-mark. Brian Brown opened the scoring in the 63rd minute and then set up Lindo Mfeka for 1868 FC’s second with a powerful low finish. Two of Orange County’s standouts a season ago led its fightback, however, as Michael Seaton pulled a goal back with 13 minutes to go before Aodhan Quinn was pulled down in the penalty area in stoppage time. Quinn stepped up and converted from the spot to leave honors even.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Brian Brown, Reno 1868 FC – Brown recorded a goal and assist for the hosts to stake them to a two-goal lead before OCSC's rally.

 

North Carolina FC (4), Louisville City FC (1)

CARY, N.C. – The Dave Sarachan era began with a victory as a pair of quick second-half goals led North Carolina FC past Louisville City FC. Already ahead by a goal at the break, NCFC doubled its lead when Tommy McCabe knocked home the rebound after Marios Lomis’ free header came back off the right post. Donovan Ewolo was then left unmarked as he cut into the center of the penalty area to polish off D.J. Taylor’s low cross from the right three minutes later. Louisville had controlled most of the opening half-hour, but North Carolina went ahead against the run of play when Lomis sent home a low finish to the left corner in the 34th minute. An 83rd-minute tally by Robbie Kristo added a fourth for the hosts before LouCity’s Sunny Jane got a stoppage-time consolation.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Marios Lomis, North Carolina FC – The Dutch forward bagged the opening goal, and played a key role in the second to send his side on its way to all three points. 

 

Saint Louis FC (2), Indy Eleven (1)

FENTON, Mo. – Saint Louis FC rallied for victory against Indy Eleven as Russell Cicerone scored the winner in the 76th minute. Indy took the lead in the 61st minute thanks to Neveal Hackshaw, who bundled home a finish from a corner after Saint Louis’ goalkeeper Jake Fenlason had denied a penalty kick by Dane Kelly. The hosts hit back eight minutes later, however, as Phanuel Kavita lashed home a finish to the top-right corner after the Eleven failed to clear a corner, and then with 14 minutes to go Cicerone got to a loose ball and finished after a scramble in the penalty area. STLFC’s defense subsequently withstood Indy’s late pressure to earn a victorious start to its season.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Russell Cicerone, Saint Louis FC – Cicerone scored the winner while also putting in a solid two-way shift in midfield to help rally the hosts to victory.

 

NEW YORK RED BULLS II (3), Swope park rangers (1)

MONTCLAIR, N.J. – Tom Barlow struck twice as the Red Bulls II dominated the Rangers to open the season with a victory. The Red Bulls II made their early pressure pay off when Barlow got in behind the defense and notched the opener in the 26th minute. The Rangers hit back just before halftime on a sweet volleyed finish by Felipe Hernandez to level against the run of play, but New York regained the lead thanks to Marcus Epps’ curling finish in the 55th minute. Barlow added a third for the hosts after once again slipping in behind the defense seven minutes later, and the Red Bulls II cruised from there while finishing with a 15-1 advantage in shots on goal.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Tom Barlow, New York Red Bulls II – Barlow scored twice and could have had more as he proved difficult to contain for the Rangers’ back line. 

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