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Gameday Report: April 6, Week 5

By JOHN ARLIA - john.arlia@uslsoccer.com, 04/06/19, 4:10PM EDT

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Orange County, San Antonio, Pittsburgh pick up first wins; Rowdies, STLFC add to unbeaten starts

Orange County SC, San Antonio FC and Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC earned their first victories of 2019 on Saturday, with the Hounds' 1-0 win at Louisville City FC sending the defending USL Cup champion to back-to-back defeats for the first time in its history.

Elsewhere, the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Saint Louis FC continued their unbeaten starts to the season with victories, while 10-men North Carolina FC battled back for a draw to do the same.

Select a match below...

 

PHOENIX RISING FC (0) VS FRESNO FC (0)

PHOENIX – Rising FC continued its run of draws to start the season with a scoreless contest against 10-men Fresno FC. The visitors started brightly with Christian Chaney and Emir Alihodzic forcing saves out of Phoenix goalkeeper Zac Lubin in the opening 10 minutes, but the hosts eventually started to ramp up the pressure and Jon Bakero nearly opened the scoring with a right-footed effort from the center of the box in the 36th minute. Four minutes later, Fresno FC was reduced to 10 men as Seth Moses was sent off for a bad foul. Despite the man-advantage, Rising FC couldn’t quite muster an opening goal as its best chances came from long range with Solomon Asante forcing a save out of CJ Cochran just after the hour mark and Jason Johnson striking the crossbar with a driven effort three minutes later.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Amadou Dia, Phoenix Rising FC – Dia completed 86 percent of his passes, won 9 of 10 duels and made three interceptions as Phoenix kept its first clean sheet of the season. 

 

SACRAMENTO REPUBLIC FC (1) VS AUSTIN BOLD FC (0)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Republic FC bounced back from Monday’s loss to claim victory over Bold FC. The hosts carved out the game’s first quality chance in the 38th minute when Tyler Blackwood skipped around an Austin defender and fired a low right-footed effort that was parried just wide by the fingertips of Bold FC goalkeeper Diego Restrepo. Xavier Báez nearly broke the deadlock right before halftime as his low free kick from distance found its way through traffic to Josh Cohen’s goal, but the veteran netminder was able to steer the shot around his right-hand post. Sacramento forward Cameron Iwasa went close with a solo effort just after the hour-mark, but Republic FC finally made its breakthrough with five minutes remaining as Jaime Villareal’s shot off a corner kick was headed in by Austin defender Jermaine Taylor as Sacramento rode its luck to victory.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Mitchell Taintor, Sacramento Republic FC – Taintor completed 80 of 88 passes, made eight clearances and four recoveries as Republic FC recorded a shutout victory.

 

LA GALAXY II (4) VS TULSA ROUGHNECKS FC (2)

CARSON, Calif. – Braces from Ethan Zubak and Kai Koreniuk led the LA Galaxy II to victory against Tulsa Roughnecks FC. Zubak got the home side started from the penalty spot in the 13th minute, keeping his cool after getting fouled in the box by Roughnecks midfielder Akeil Barrett. Tulsa had a chance to equalize on the half-hour mark with a penalty of its own but Cristhian Altamirano skied his effort over the cross bar. Kai Koreniuk scored twice in four-minute span after halftime to break the game open with a pair of left-footed finishes from the left side of the penalty area. Luca Lobo continued his hot start to the season with a headed finish from a free kick to cut the deficit to two near the hour-mark, but Zubak restored LA’s three-goal advantage with a first-time finish to cap a brilliant counterattack just two minutes later. Lobo picked up his league-leading seventh goal of the season in the 70th minute with another header from a free kick, but Tulsa would get no closer as it lost for the first time in three games.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Ethan Zubak, LA Galaxy II – Zubak scored a pair of goals and assisted on another as the Galaxy II put on another impressive attacking display.

 

ORANGE COUNTY SC (2) VS COLORADO SPRINGS SWITCHBACKS FC (0)

IRVINE, Calif. – A brace from Darwin Jones led Orange County SC to victory over Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC at Championship Soccer Stadium at OC Great Park. Jones opened the scoring three minutes before halftime, heading home from close range after Liam Trotter headed Jerry van Ewijk’s free kick across the six-yard box. The forward doubled the hosts advantage in the 57th minute with a right-footed effort from the top of the penalty area that took a deflection on its way past Switchbacks goalkeeper Abraham Rodriguez and into the bottom-left corner. Michael Seaton should have made it three for Orange County 13 minutes later when he latched onto a poor backpass, but Rodriguez came out to smother the chance. Kwasi Donsu tested OCSC goalkeeper Aaron Cervantes with shot from the center of the box with 18 minutes remaining, but that was as close as the Switchbacks would come.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Darwin Jones, Orange County SC – Jones attempted four shots and scored twice to lead Orange County to its first victory of the season.

 

SAN ANTONIO FC (2) VS LAS VEGAS LIGHTS FC (1)

SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio FC picked up its first win of the season against Lights FC at Toyota Field. The hosts provided a warning sign in the ninth minute as Jack Barmby’s left-footed free kick from distance tested Thomas Olsen and Bradford Jamieson beat the Lights FC goalkeeper just seven minutes later to give San Antonio the lead after pouncing on a defensive mistake. Las Vegas thought it was back on level terms in the 72nd minute after Mobi Fehr’s shot from 25 yards out found its way through a crowd of players into the back of the net, but the assistant referee waved the goal off for offsides. Ever Guzmán gave his side some breathing room with seven minutes remaining as he latched onto Jack Barmby’s through ball beyond the Lights FC defense and rounded Olsen before firing the ball into an empty net. Irvin Parra converted from the penalty spot in the seventh minute of stoppage time to cut the deficit in half, but it was mere consolation as the home side held on for a crucial victory.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Jack Barmby, San Antonio FC – Barmby completed 72 percent of his passes, 7 of 8 dribbles and assisted on the game-winning goal to get SAFC in the win column for the first time this season.

 

RIO GRANDE VALLEY FC (0) VS NEW MEXICO UNITED (0)

EDINBURG, Texas – New Mexico United extended its unbeaten start to six games with a scoreless draw at Rio Grande Valley FC. Santi Moar came close to opening the scoring in the ninth minute with a right-footed shot from the left side of the box, but his effort just sailed wide of Tyler Deric’s goal. RGVFC had a pair of chances to break the deadlock just after halftime but NMU goalkeeper Cody Mizell was able to keep out on-target efforts from Juan Cabezas and Jesús Enríquez. The hosts looked the more likely side to grab a winner late on as Enríquez just nearly missed the top-right corner with a curling shot four minutes from time and Kevin Rodríguez dragged a right-footed effort from the right side of the box just wide a minute later, but the two sides settled for a share of the spoils.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Josh Suggs, New Mexico United – Suggs made five clearances, four recoveries and three interceptions to help his defense post its first clean sheet of the season.

 

OKC ENERGY FC (2) VS PORTLAND TIMBERS 2 (3)

OKLAHOMA CITY – Ryan Sierakowski’s stoppage-time strike helped Portland come back from a two-goal deficit to beat Energy FC at Taft Stadium. Mike da Fonte and Cordell Cato scored within a four-minute span of first half action to get the hosts off and running and Energy FC dodged a bullet five minutes after the break when Renzo Zambrano skied his penalty kick over Cody Laurendi’s crossbar. Brayan Hurtado cut T2’s deficit in half in the 68th minute when he ran onto Eryk Williamson’s through ball and blasted a left-footed effort past the onrushing Laurendi. Zambrano made amends for his penalty miss 11 minutes later when set up Zach Kobayashi for the equalizing goal. Portland wouldn’t settle for the road point however as T2 countered to perfection in the first minute of stoppage time with Nathan Smith feeding Sierakowski to slot home a left-footed finish for a dramatic late victory.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Eryk Williamson, Portland Timbers 2 – Williamson completed 42 of 52 passes, made two key passes and recorded an assist as Portland won for the third time this season.

 

TAMPA BAY ROWDIES (4) VS HARTFORD ATHLETIC (0)

ST PETERSBURG, Fla. –  A brace from Sebastián Guenzatti helped the Rowdies continue their unbeaten start to the season with a convincing win over Hartford Athletic. Guenzatti got things going in the 37th minute, popping up at the back post to tap a deflected cross into the waning net. Defender David Najem doubled Tampa Bay’s advantage 13 minutes after halftime when he fired a rebound past Jacob Lissek after the Hartford goalkeeper had stopped an initial shot from Antoine Hoppenot. The Rowdies wrapped up the points with two goals in an eight-minute span late on as Andrew Tinari tapped home Leo Fernandes’ low cross before Guenzatti capped the evening with a powerful header from a corner kick.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Sebastián Guenzatti, Tampa Bay Rowdies – Guenzatti attempted five shots and scored two goals as the Rowdies racked up another shutout victory.

 

ATLANTA UNITED 2 (0) VS SAINT LOUIS FC (2)

KENNESAW, Ga. – Saint Louis FC continued its unbeaten start to 2019 with a road victory over ATL UTD 2. The visitors nearly took the lead inside the opening five minutes when Lewis Hilton saw a right-footed volley saved onto the woodwork by Alec Kann after the Atlanta goalkeeper had punched a corner kick to the top of the box. Sam Fink opened the scoring for STLFC just four minutes later from the penalty spot after Jack Metcalf was adjudged to have fouled Kyle Greig in the box. Russell Cicerone doubled his side’s advantage in the 20th minute with a brilliant individual effort that saw him create a yard of space before slotting a left-footed shot inside Kann’s near post. Andrew Carleton fizzed a left-footed volley just over Jake Fenlason’s goal in the 68th minute but that was as close as Atlanta would come to finding a way back.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Lewis Hilton, Saint Louis FC – Hilton made three key passes and recorded an assist and made six recoveries as STLFC continued its impressive start to 2019.

 

LOUISVILLE CITY FC (0) VS PITTSBURGH RIVERHOUNDS SC (1)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Riverhounds SC picked up its first win of the season and sent Louisville City FC to back-to-back defeats at Slugger Field. Oscar Jimenez tried to get the home side on the board first in the 12th minute with an ambitious lob from 45 yards out, but Pittsburgh goalkeeper Ben Lundgaard was able to retreat and push the effort over his crossbar. The Hounds came close to taking the lead in the 66th minute when Steevan Dos Santos saw his header denied by LCFC goalkeeper Ben Lundt, but the visitors finally broke through eight minutes later from the penalty spot. Neco Brett beat Lundt with a powerful strike from 12 yards after Alexis Souahy slid into the back of Anthony Velarde in the penalty area and Pittsburgh held on for its first shutout of the year and all three points.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Neco Brett, Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC – Brett scored the game-winning goal from the penalty spot to give Pittsburgh its first victory of 2019.

 

NORTH CAROLINA FC (1) VS MEMPHIS 901 FC (1)

CARY, N.C. – Mario Lomis’ second-half strike helped 10-men North Carolina FC earn a point against Memphis 901 FC at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park. The visitors nearly took the lead right on the stroke of halftime through midfielder Morgan Hackworth, who successfully lobbed NCFC goalkeeper Alex Tambakis only for the ball to bounce down off the crossbar and back into play. Memphis did go on to open the scoring in the 64th minute when captain Marc Burch converted a penalty kick after his NCFC counterpart Austin da Luz was sent off for a challenge on Ewan Grandison. The hosts responded with 12 minutes to play as Lomis curled a free kick over the wall and past goalkeeper Jeff Caldwell. Tambakis made that goal stand up four minutes from time as he produced a terrific save to deny Adam Najem’s angled free kick through traffic to ensure a share of the spoils.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Marc Burch, Memphis 901 FC – Burch converted from the penalty spot, completed 81 percent of his passes and made six clearances to help 901 FC earn a good road point.

 

SWOPE PARK RANGERS (3) VS BETHLEHEM STEEL FC (4)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Sergio Santos scored in stoppage time to give 10-men Steel FC a stunning comeback victory against the Rangers at Children’s Mercy Park. Ethan Vanacore-Decker got the home side off and running in the 19th minute when he expertly directed Killian Colombie’s cross into the bottom-right corner with the outside of his foot, leaving Steel FC goalkeeper Matt Freese with no chance. The visitors levelled the contest eight minutes later through Faris, who reacted quickest to find the ball in a goalline scramble and tap it home after a corner kick. Jerome Mbekeli restored the Rangers’ advantage with a goal on either side of halftime, beating Freese at his near post in the 44th minute before curling home a left-footed drive from 25 yards out 14 minutes after the break. Bethlehem battled back with two goals in a six-minute span as Ben Ofeimu headed home a cross from James Chambers in the 73rd minute before Matt Real’s cross took a wicked deflection off Rangers defender Mark Segbers and looped over goalkeeper Max Trejo to level the contest. Real was sent off for a second yellow card in the first minute of stoppage time, but it was Bethlehem that went on to find a winner as Santos powered home a rebound from close range after Trejo had spilled Chambers’ initial effort.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Ben Ofeimu, Bethlehem Steel FC – Ofeimu recorded a goal and an assist and won 5 of 7 duels as Steel FC ended a three-game winless run with a stunning late victory.

 

REAL MONARCHS SLC (3) VS RENO 1868 FC (1)

HERRIMAN, Utah – The Monarchs got back in the win column with a decisive victory over 1868 FC at Zions Bank Stadium. Reno had a glorious chance to take a lead in the opening three minutes, but Corey Hertzog saw his penalty kick saved by Monarchs goalkeeper David Ochoa after Jordan Pena had fouled Abdulkadir Haji in the penalty area. The home side took the lead three minutes later when Maikel Chang chested down James Moberg’s cross, cut inside a defender and placed the ball between the legs of 1868 FC goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski. The Monarchs doubled their advantage in the 15th minute when Joao Plata fired a right-footed shot from 20 yards out past Marcinkowski into the top-left corner. Reno came close to cutting the deficit twice before the half as Seth Casiple struck the post with a free kick and Haji saw a left-footed shot stopped by an outstretched Ochoa. Jack Blake gave the hosts a 3-0 advantage three minutes into the second half, providing a first-time finish to a Douglas Martínez pass on the edge of the penalty area. Reno’s Aidan Apodaca fired a stunning volley into the top-left corner with nine minutes to play to end the shutout bid, but it was mere consolation as the Monarchs held on for three points.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Douglas Martínez, Real Monarchs SLC – Martínez made four key passes and registered two assists as the Monarchs avenged their 2018 USL Cup Playoffs defeat to 1868 FC at Zions Bank Stadium.

 

OTTAWA FURY FC (0) VS NASHVILLE SC (3)

OTTAWA – A brace from Daniel Ríos helped Nashville SC to a comfortable victory over Fury FC at TD Place. The visitors took the lead in the 33rd minute through Ríos as the forward latched onto a quickly taken free kick and lobbed Fury FC goalkeeper David Monsalve with a cheeky chipped finish. Nashville nearly doubled its advantage just after the hour mark through Kharlton Belmar, who lashed a right-footed volley past Monsalve only to see the strike come back off the crossbar. Tucker Hume gave NSC some breathing room three minutes later though, turning and firing a left-footed shot past Monsalve at his near post. Ottawa could have cut the deficit in half with 11 minutes to play as Aidan Daniels played Christiano François clean through, but the winger pushed his shot wide of Connor Sparrow’s goal. A minute later, Ríos tapped in a rebound for his second goal of afternoon to end any hope of a Fury FC fightback.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Daniel Ríos, Nashville SC – Ríos completed 69 percent of his passes, attempted six shots and scored twice to help Nashville earn its first road victory of the season.

 

BIRMINGHAM LEGION FC VS NEW YORK RED BULLS II

BIRMINGHAM. Ala. - Birmingham Legion FC's contest with the New York Red Bulls II was postponed on Saturday night after heavy thunderstorms caused the game to be suspended in the first half. The date for the rescheduled game will be announced at a future date.

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