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Gameday Report: April 27, Week 8

By USLChampionship.com Staff, 04/27/19, 9:15PM EDT

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STLFC sees off Rangers to reclaim East's top spot, Battery, Hounds and Legion leave it late

Saint Louis FC regained the top spot in the Eastern Conference standings on Saturday night as the side cruised to a 3-1 victory over the Swope Park Rangers at World Wide Technology Soccer Park. Elsewhere in the East, Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC scored twice late on to salvage a home draw with Nashville SC, while Birmingham Legion FC's Prosper Kasim and the Charleston Battery's Dante Marini grabbed dramatic, late goals to propel their respective sides to victory.

Out West, OKC Energy FC and Tulsa Roughnecks FC settled for a share of the spoils in an entertaining Black Gold Derby. Preseason favorites Sacramento Republic FC and Phoenix Rising FC also played to a stalemate, while El Paso Locomotive FC defeated Reno 1868 FC for its second victory of the season.

Select a match below...

 

Sacramento Republic FC (0) vs Phoenix Rising FC (0)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Republic FC and Rising FC battled to a scoreless draw at Papa Murphy’s Park. Phoenix had the first good look at goal in the 12th minute when Solomon Asante picked out José Aguinaga with a right-wing cross, but the midfielder’s header was tipped over the crossbar by Sacramento goalkeeper Josh Cohen. Republic FC had the ball in the back of the net five minutes later as Stefano Bonomo forced an initial save out of Rising FC goalkeeper Zac Lubin and Tyler Blackwood tapped home the rebound, but the goal was correctly ruled out for offside. Bonomo went close again in the 26th minute with a header from Ray Saari’s chipped through ball and Rising FC’s Junior Flemmings tested Cohen again just before the break with an effort from outside the box, but the two teams went to halftime scoreless. Sacramento had a golden chance to take the lead in the 74th minute from a corner kick as Sam Werner’s delivery was headed across goal by Dekel Keinan, but Bonomo and Mitchell Taintor couldn’t quite get the ball over the line with the goal at their mercy. Rising FC forward Solomon Asante and Republic FC midfielder Jaime Villareal traded speculative efforts in the final five minutes, but neither could break the deadlock.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Josh Cohen, Sacramento Republic FC – Cohen recorded a three-save shutout against his former club to help Republic FC earn a point at Papa Murphy’s Park.

 

El Paso Locomotive FC (1) vs Reno 1868 FC (0)

EL PASO, Texas – Sebastián Contreras’ second-half penalty lifted Locomotive FC to a home victory over 1868 FC. The visitors had the best chance of the first half inside the opening five minutes as Will Seymore tried his luck with a right-footed shot from just outside the penalty area and forced El Paso goalkeeper Logan Ketterer into an acrobatic diving save. Locomotive FC had a golden opportunity to take the lead just shy of the hour mark as Jerome Kiesewetter got in behind the Reno defense and rounded Reno goalkeeper Matt Bersano but took too long to shoot and eventually saw his effort blocked to safety by defender Emrah Klimenta. 1868 FC leading scorer Brian Brown was inches away from an opening goal in the 64th minute but his left-footed free kick stung the crossbar and bounced harmless back into play. Locomotive FC was the more threatening side in the game’s final stages as Mechack Jerome tested Bersano with a long-range free kick and the home side finally broke the deadlock in the 76th minute from the penalty spot as Sebastián Contreras converted after Kiesewetter was fouled in the box by Zach Carroll. Kiesewetter was denied a goal of his own by Bersano four minutes later but Locomotive FC wouldn’t need the insurance goal as it held on for a shutout victory.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Jerome Kiesewetter, El Paso Locomotive FC – Kiesewetter was a threat up front all night long, attempting four shots and winning the penalty for the eventual game-winning goal.

 

Saint Louis FC (3) vs Swope Park Rangers (1)

FENTON, Mo. – Saint Louis got back in the win column with a convincing home victory over the Rangers. Russell Cicerone came close to giving the hosts the lead in the 21st minute but his right-footed curling effort was brilliantly tipped wide by Swope Park goalkeeper Adrian Zendejas. STLFC did open the scoring just before halftime though, as Audi Jepson took a Cicerone pass, teed himself up for a volley and produced a spectacular dipping effort from 25 yards out that left Zendejas with no chance. Cicerone got himself on the scoresheet two minutes after the break as he followed up his initial effort and tapped home an easy rebound. Alexsander Andrade gave the Rangers a bit of life in the 65th minute with a right-footed shot from the outside of the box that made its way past STLFC goalkeeper Jake Fenlason, but the home side secured all three points with six minutes remaining as Kyle Greig headed home Sam Fink’s headed pass from a free kick.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Russell Cicerone, Saint Louis FC – Cicerone grabbed a goal and an assist to help Saint Louis take victory to go top of the Eastern Conference standings.

 

Tulsa Roughnecks FC (1) vs OKC Energy FC (1)

TULSA, Okla. – Energy FC batted back to earn a point against the Roughnecks in the Black Gold derby. The visitors nearly took the lead inside the opening three minutes as Omar Gordon struck the crossbar with his side’s first shot of the game, but instead it was the home side that grabbed the early edge as Janú Silva slotted a right-footed shot past Cody Laurendi from the right side of the penalty area in the fourth minute. Silva nearly grabbed another goal two minutes later as Cristhian Altamirano played the forward in behind the Energy FC defense, but Laurendi came out and made himself big to end the threat. Tulsa nearly gave the lead away on the half-hour mark when goalkeeper Mason Stajduhar saw a clearance attempt blocked by his defender Cyprian Hedrick, but left back Moses Makinde was able to track back and stop the ball from going into an empty net. Energy FC did find its equalizer in the 32nd minute though, as Gordon reacted first to a deflected free kick and headed home into the top-right corner. The Roughnecks continued to push as Fabián Bastidas forced Laurendi into a low save just before the half and Tobenna Uzo came agonizingly close to tapping in Rodrigo da Costa’s cross at the back post just after the break. Stajduhar stood his ground in the 52nd minute as the Roughnecks goalkeeper got down quickly to deny a close-range chance from Cordell Cato and neither side came any closer to finding a winner as the derby ended in a stalemate.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Rodrigo da Costa, Tulsa Roughnecks FC – The midfielder made three key passes picked up his league-leading sixth assist of the season to help Tulsa earn a point against its in-state rival.

 

Memphis 901 FC (0) vs Charleston Battery (1)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Dante Marini’s 93rd-minute winner helped the Battery take three points in a smash-and-grab performance against 901 FC. Memphis had the best chance of a relatively quiet first half in the 42nd minute when Marc Burch’s right-wing free kick was deflected to the back post and Elliot Collier rose highest but saw his header bounce back off Joe Kuzminsky’s right-hand post. 901 FC had a pair of golden opportunities to open the scoring in the 82nd minute as Wesley Charpie forced an acrobatic save out of Kuzminsky with a header from Cameron Lindley’s cross and then Todd Praztner hit the crossbar from close range after the resulting corner had found its way to him at the back post. After getting a few bounces to go its way, Charleston grabbed a winner at the death as 901 FC goalkeeper Jeff Caldwell couldn’t claim Kyle Nelson’s cross and Marini tucked the rebound home from close range to silence the home crowd and emerge with the three points.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Tah Anunga, Charleston Battery – Anunga completed 74 percent of his passes, won 8 of 11 duels and made 13 recoveries as the Battery kept a clean sheet at 901 FC.

 

Birmingham Legion FC (1) vs Loudoun United FC (0)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Prosper Kasim’s 94th-minute goal propelled Legion FC to a dramatic first home victory over Loudoun. The home side looked threatening early but couldn’t quite find the target as Chandler Hoffman blazed over a good opportunity in the fourth minute and Daigo Kobayashi just missed the frame with a free kick just short of the half-hour mark. Birmingham kept up the pressure in the second half as Daniel Johnson tested Earl Edwards Jr. with a shot from distance in the 52nd minute and Femi Hollinger-Janzen saw his first-time volley parried Loudoun goalkeeper to safety in the 91st minute. The hosts continued to prod until the very end and got their reward in the fourth minute of stoppage time, when Kasim’s left-footed shot beat Edwards Jr. at his near post to give Legion FC its goal on its home turf as well as a first home victory.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Prosper Kasim, Birmingham Legion FC – Kasim made five key passes, completed 92 percent of his passes overall and scored the first Legion FC goal at BBVA Compass Field to give his side all three points in dramatic fashion.

 

Tampa Bay Rowdies (1) vs Charlotte Independence (1)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The Rowdies kept their unbeaten start alive with a home draw against the Independence. Charlotte looked the more threatening side in the early stages as Dominic Oduro played a perfect ball across the box for Abdoulie Mansally to fire on goal, but Rowdies goalkeeper John McCarthy produced a left-footed kick save to keep the game scoreless in the seventh minute. The Independence beat McCarthy just four minutes later though, as Oduro blasted home from close range after Tampa Bay had failed to clear a Charlotte corner kick. The home side responded six minutes later through Sebastian Guenzatti as the forward took Andrew Tinari’s pass and slotted a right-footed effort past Curtis Anderson into the bottom-left corner. Tinari tried his luck with a snap shot from the edge of the area in the 54th minute and forced Anderson into a reflex save, but that was as close as either side would come to breaking the deadlock over the final 45 minutes.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Curtis Anderson, Charlotte Independence – Anderson made eight saves as the Independence held on for a road point against the Eastern Conference-leading Rowdies.

 

Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC (2) vs Nashville SC (2)

PITTSBURGH – The Hounds scored twice late on to salvage a home point against Nashville. The first half looked like it was bound to go goalless as both sides held the other at bay through the early stages, but the visitors broke the deadlock in the 41st minute as the Hounds failed to clear Michael Reed’s corner kick and defender Ken Tribbett rifled a right-footed volley past Pittsburgh goalkeeper Kyle Morton into the roof of the net. The visitors doubled their advantage in the 66th minute from another corner kick as Tribbett headed a Pittsburgh clearance back into a dangerous area and Bradley Bourgeois rose highest to head home past Morton. The Hounds battled back in the late stages though, as forward Christian Volesky applied a superb diving header to Jordan Dover’s cross to beat NSC goalkeeper Connor Sparrow at his near post in the 88th minute. Then, Pittsburgh found its equalizer two minutes into stoppage time as Ryan James’ tight-angle shot struck Kosuke Kimura and went into the defender’s own net as the Eastern Conference powerhouses settled for a share of the spoils.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Ken Tribbett, Nashville SC – Tribbett made eight clearances, scored a goal and added an assist as Nashville picked up a road point in Pittsburgh.

 

North Carolina FC (4) vs Hartford Athletic (1)

CARY, N.C. – North Carolina collected its second straight victory with a convincing win over the Athletic. The home side struck quickly on the counterattack as Steven Miller played Marios Lomis through on goal and the forward made no mistake with a right-footed finish across Hartford goalkeeper Frederik Due to give North Carolina the lead in the fifth minute. Ben Speas nearly doubled the advantage nine minutes later as his left-footed curling effort looked destined for the bottom-left corner but Due got his fingertips to it to push it around the post. Lomis saw a bid for a second goal cleared off the line by Kyle Curinga in the 26th minute and Due made an impressive double-save on Miller in second minute of first-half stoppage time to keep his side in it, but Hartford failed to deal with the resulting corner kick and Sam Brotherton capitalized on the doorstep to give NCFC a two-goal edge at the break. That lead grew to three just two minutes after halftime as Miller collected a wayward clearance at the top of the penalty area and fired a left-footed drive into the roof of the net. Alex Dixon gave the Athletic a bit of life just before the hour mark as he volleyed past NCFC goalkeeper Alex Tambakis, but the hosts responded in the 81st minute as Manny Perez played an inch-perfect pass for Robert Kristo to chip over Due as North Carolina sealed the three points.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Steven Miller, North Carolina FC – Miller recorded a goal and an assist to lead North Carolina to its first home win since the opening weekend of the season.

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