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Gameday Report: June 15, Week 15

By USLChampionship.com Staff, 06/15/19, 7:07PM EDT

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Rising FC moves past New Mexico in West; Indy closes gap on Rowdies in East

Phoenix Rising FC moved on top of the Western Conference as Las Vegas Lights FC took victory against New Mexico United in the West, while Indy Eleven closed the gap to the Tampa Bay Rowdies with a comeback win against Loudoun United as the Rowdies were held to a draw by the Charleston Battery in Saturday night’s action in the USL Championship.

 

PHOENIX RISING FC (3), ORANGE COUNTY SC (0)

PHOENIX – Phoenix moved to the top of the Western Conference as it took its fifth consecutive victory by defeating Orange County at Casino Arizona Field. Rising FC took the lead in the sixth minute on a moment of misfortune for Orange County defender Kevin Alston, whose attempt to clear a cross by Mustapha Dumbuya from the right ended up in his own net. Vinicius almost got Orange County level seven minutes later when he beat his marker on the left but couldn’t beat Rising FC goalkeeper Zac Lubin with his finish, but in the 17th minute Phoenix doubled its advantage as Adam Jahn’s flicked pass set up Joey Calistri for a first-time finish into the bottom-left corner of the net. Five minutes into the second half Solomon Asante added a third with a remarkable finish as Orange County’s defense missed a long clearance upfield and the Ghanaian struck a high-arcing, first-time finish from 40 yards over the goalkeeper’s head and into the left corner of the net. Three minutes later it was almost four as Orange County goalkeeper Patrick McLain made a big save to keep Calistri from his second of the night, and McLain had to come up with another save late to deny Jose Aguinaga, but Phoenix’s lead was never truly threatened as it walked away with all three points.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Solomon Asante, Phoenix Rising FC – Asante had a solid all-around game that was capped by his spectacular finish that put the game away for the hosts early in the second half.

 

LAS VEGAS LIGHTS FC (5), NEW MEXICO UNITED (1)

LAS VEGAS – Las Vegas Lights FC got back in the win column as it handed New Mexico a second consecutive league defeat at Cashman Field. Las Vegas had some early chances to test New Mexico goalkeeper Cody Mizell, while NMU’s Santi Moar had a long-range shot saved by Lights FC goalkeeper Thomas Olsen in the 19th minute, but the first big chance of the game didn’t arrive until the 28th minute when a scramble in the Las Vegas penalty area fell to New Mexico's Devon Sandoval, whose inventive finish hit the crossbar and was cleared. Lights FC took the lead four minutes later, however, as Javan Torre won possession in midfield and drove forward before firing home a shot to the top-right corner of the net. Las Vegas doubled its lead in the 40th minute as it was awarded a penalty kick, and while Mizell made the initial save on Cristhian Hernandez, the former Philadelphia Union Homegrown player followed his own shot and put away the rebound. Lights FC added its third just over a minute into the second half when Preston Tabor-Etaka picked out a shot to the bottom-left corner of the net from 20 yards, but while New Mexico pulled a goal back late through David Estrada with a flicked header from a corner from the left, Las Vegas comfortably took all three points on its home turf as it wrapped up victory with a pair of late goals through Edwin Rivas in the 90th minute and Junior Sandoval in stoppage time.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Javan Torre, Las Vegas Lights FC – Torre produced a spectacular opening goal, won 6 of 9 duels and made one interception and five recoveries to help Lights FC to victory. 

 

RENO 1868 FC (4), LA GALAXY II (2)

RENO, Nev. – Reno notched a pair of second-half goals to earn victory against the Galaxy II at Greater Nevada Field. Los Dos took the lead inside the opening three minutes as Frank Lopez converted a penalty kick with a low shot to the right corner after Reno’s Zach Carroll was ruled to have handled in the area. 1868 FC hit back in the seventh minute as Corey Hertzog notched his seventh goal of the season with a close-range finish off a low ball by Sam Gleadle from the left, but the sides continued to exchange chances as LA’s Jorge Hernandez forced a save by Reno goalkeeper Matt Bersano with a shot to the left corner. Reno took the lead for the first time in the 13th minute when Raul Mendiola threaded a pass through for Danny Musovski to round the goalkeeper and finish, and could have added more as Hertzog missed the target at the near post off a low cross by Brent Richards and Musovski hit the left post, but on the half-hour mark Los Dos leveled when John Requejo’s cross from the left was headed home at the back post by Augustine Williams. Hertzog went close again just before halftime but couldn’t restore the lead for the hosts as he shot just wide, while Williams was denied by Bersano early in the second half as he looked for his second goal of the night, but Reno regained the lead on the hour-mark as Gleadle fired home a low shot to the left corner after Los Dos failed to clear an initial 1868 FC attack cleanly, offering up the chance. Five minutes later Reno added a fourth as Seth Casiple won possession in LA’s half and quickly set up Aidan Apodaca for a low finish to the left corner, and after the Galaxy II were reduced to 10 men with 10 minutes to go when Omar Ontiveros was sent off for his second yellow card of the contest the hosts were able to see out victory in comfortable fashion.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Sam Gleadle, Reno 1868 FC – Gleadle recorded one goal and one assist while also notching three key passes to help power 1868 FC’s attack.

 

OKC ENERGY FC (1), SAN ANTONIO FC (1)

OKLAHOMA CITY – Jack Barmby scored a stoppage-time equalizer to earn SAFC a point against OKC Energy FC at Taft Stadium. San Antonio produced the first good look at goal in the eighth minute when Billy Forbes checked up on the left side and laid a pass back to Barmby for a first-time shot to the left corner that OKC goalkeeper Cody Laurendi punched away. SAFC goalkeeper Matt Cardone was called into action in the 11th minute as he saved a low shot by Omar Gordon from the right side of the penalty area, but five minutes later San Antonio’s shot-stopper came up big to keep out a penalty kick by Deshorn Brown with a low save to his right that allowed no rebound. San Antonio threatened either side of halftime as Ethan Bryant fired a shot just wide of the right post two minutes before the halftime break, Ever Guzman had a shot in first-half stoppage time was tipped over by Laurendi, and Bryant fired another long-range effort that Laurendi got across to well as it headed toward the left corner. The hosts got the breakthrough 10 minutes into the second half, however, as OKC was awarded its second penalty kick of the night. Rafael Garcia stepped up this time and made no mistake with his low shot to the left corner that send Cardone the wrong way. As time looked to have run out on San Antonio with the game in stoppage time, however, Barmby produced an outstanding long-range free kick that found the bottom-right corner of the net and ensured the points were shared.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Jack Barmby, San Antonio FC – Barmby’s late equalizer topped off a performance that saw him record four key passes and finish with three shots.

 

AUSTIN BOLD FC (1), TACOMA DEFIANCE (1)

AUSTIN, Texas – Austin was held to a second consecutive home draw as it came from a goal down against the Defiance at Bold Stadium. The sides exchanged chances early in the contest but the first big opportunity didn’t arrive until midway through the first half when Tacoma’s Azriel Gonzalez cut in from the left past his marker and fired a shot off the crossbar as he aimed for the top-right corner. Joel Rystrand also went close for the visitors as he forced a diving save by Austin goalkeeper Diego Restrepo on a free kick aimed to the top-right corner, but in the 37th minute Rystrand’s corner kick from the right was headed home by Justin Dhillon to put the Defiance ahead. Bold FC looked to respond in the second half as Andre Lima had a shot from just outside the penalty area turned wide of the left post by Tacoma goalkeeper Trey Muse, but in the 61st minute a deflected shot by Kleber left Muse with little chance to react as the hosts leveled the score. The Defiance were reduced to 10 men with two minutes to go as Gonzalez was sent off, but neither side was able to find a late goal as honors ended even.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Aleks Berkolds, Tacoma Defiance – Berkolds won 12 of 14 duels, 9 of 11 aerials and made 15 clearances as Tacoma’s defense helped earned a point on the road.

 

RIO GRANDE VALLEY FC (3), COLORADO SPRINGS SWITCHBACKS FC (0)

EDINBURG, Texas – The Toros brought an end to the Switchbacks’ two-game winning streak with three second-half goals at H-E-B Park. The Toros threatened first in the sixth minute when a long-range free kick by Camilo Monroy was turned wide of the left post by Switchbacks goalkeeper Andre Rawls, and RGVFC goalkeeper Nico Corti answered with a big save of his own in the 20th minute when he denied a close-range header by Jordan Burt. RGVFC’s Romilio Hernandez almost broke through just past the half-hour mark with a long-range effort that rang off the crossbar, and Robert Coronado also threatened before halftime as he stung Rawls’ palms with a long-range effort, but 10 minutes into the second half the Toros took the lead when Wilmer Caberera Jr. capitalized on a poor defensive clearance to control in the middle of the penalty area and shoot low into the left corner. The Toros made it two with 16 minutes to go from the penalty spot as Carlos Small buried a finish to the top-right corner after a foul by the Switchbacks’ Jordan Schweitzer resulted in the spot kick, and had another chance to add to their lead nine minutes later when they were awarded another penalty kick that Monroy fired off the crossbar. Small’s second of the night with five minutes to go ensured all three points for the hosts, though, as he tucked home Nico Lemoine’s low cross from the right.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Carlos Small, Rio Grande Valley FC – Small scored twice on five shots and had one key pass to lead the Toros to a big second-half performance.

 

TULSA ROUGHNECKS FC (0), EL PASO LOCOMOTIVE FC (2)

TULSA, Okla. – Goals in either half led Locomotive FC to victory against the Roughnecks at ONEOK Field as Jerome Kiesewetter scored his 10th goal of the season. Roughnecks goalkeeper Sean Lewis made a pair of key stops early to keep out El Paso’s Omar Salgado and Kiesewetter, but Tulsa had a big chance to take the lead on the half-hour mark when Janu Silva got in behind the Locomotive FC defense to get onto a chipped pass by Christian Altamirano that he could only turn just wide of the left post. The visitors made the Roughnecks pay for the miss in the 37th minute as Salgado went on a surging run down the right side that saw him clip a finish through the six-yard area that was turned home by Sebastian Contreras to put El Paso ahead. Andrew Fox nearly doubled the lead four minutes into the second half with a low near-post shot from the right that Lewis turned wide, while Kiesewetter had a header brilliantly turned over the crossbar by Lewis just past the hour-mark. Locomotive FC’s pressure would eventually pay off, however, as a foul in the penalty area allowed Kiesewetter to convert from then penalty spot for his 10th goal of the season with a shot to the top-right corner with 15 minutes to go. The Roughnecks had a chance to pull back a goal immediately from a corner only for El Paso goalkeeper Logan Ketterer to make a good save to keep out Silva’s header, but that would prove to be all for the hosts as El Paso’s undefeated streak continued on.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Omar Salgado, El Paso Locomotive FC – Salgado was in sparkling form when he got on the ball, recording one assist, two key passes and completed 4 of 4 dribbles to prove a handful for Tulsa’s defense.

 

BETHLEHEM STEEL FC (3), SAINT LOUIS FC (1)

PHILADELPHIA – Bethlehem broke an eight-game winless streak as it defeated Saint Louis despite playing more than an hour down to 10 men at McCarthy Stadium. Saint Louis had a pair of chance to take the lead early on as Russell Cicerone forced a good save by Steel FC goalkeeper Carlos Miguel Coronel with a powerful shot from the left side of the penalty area and Sam Find headed just wide of the left post off a corner kick by Lewis Hilton. Bethlehem struck in the 19th minute, however, as a well-worked move came to Zach Zandi in the right side of the penalty area, and his low cross was met by a late-arriving James Chambers to finish into the right corner. Faris then doubled Steel FC’s lead on a counterattack in the 25th minute with a strong low finish, but the Bethlehem forward was then sent off two minutes later for an off-the-ball incident to reduce the hosts to 10 men. Despite being down a man, Steel FC’s Michee Ngalina tested Saint Louis goalkeeper Jake Fenlason with a low finish in the 33rd minute, but four minutes later Bethlehem had a third as Walter Cortes played a perfect give-and-go with Zandi at the top of the penalty area and stabbed home a first-time finish. STLFC tried to start their comeback effort six minutes into the second half as Caleb Calvert’s turning shot was well saved by Coronel, while Paris Gee was also denied as he tried to curl a low finish to the left corner. Bethlehem’s Anthony Fontana almost iced the game with 18 minutes to go when his first-time effort from the top of the penalty area was saved by Fenlason, but when Oscar Umar was sent off for Saint Louis with eight minutes to go for his second yellow card a late finish by Kadeem Dacres proved only a consolation to the visitors.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Zach Zandi, Bethlehem Steel FC – Zandi recorded a pair of assists, recorded six key passes overall and completed 30 of 37 passes in an impressive midfield display.

 

LOUDOUN UNITED FC (1), INDY ELEVEN (2)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Indy rallied and grabbed a late winner to move into second place in the Eastern Conference with victory against United at Audi Field. The Eleven had a pair of early chances as Dane Kelly fired into the left side-netting in the eighth minute and Thomas Enevoldsen had a turning shot from eight yards well saved by United goalkeeper Colin Miller a minute later. Loudoun took the lead in the 12th minute, however, when Andrew Lubahn created space 25 yards from goal on a counterattack and hit a blistering finish into the top-right corner of the net. Griffin Yow was denied a second for the hosts by a good low save by Indy goalkeeper Jordan Farr midway through the half, and Kelly had a chance to level on the half-hour mark as Enevolden played a clever looped through-ball to set up the chance but Miller again came up with a big save to deny the Jamaican. Miller made up for a poor clearance by denying Kelly on the resulting chance five minutes into the second half, and Enevoldsen had a cross hit the outside of the left post before a follow-up chance fell to Kenney Walker and was saved as the visitors continued to press, but in the 66th minute good fortune shone on the Kelly as his shot took a wild carom off United defender Nelson Martinez and found the net for an own goal. The Eleven continued to push for a winner, and with a minute to go it arrived as Tyler Pasher gobbled up a rebound from a shot by Kelly and calmly rounded the goalkeeper and finished into the open net to grab all three points for the visitors.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Tyler Pasher, Indy Eleven – Pasher scored the late game-winner for the visitors and was active throughout in the attacking end with three key passes and seven completed dribbles.

 

ATL UTD 2 (0), PITTSBURGH RIVERHOUNDS SC (5)

KENNESAW, Ga. – Pittsburgh took its first victory since April 13 as it routed Atlanta at Fifth Third Bank Field. The Hounds took the lead in the fourth minute as a corner kick from the right by Kenardo Forbes was redirected to the top of the penalty area where Robbie Mertz hit a first-time shot that took a deflection and found the back of the net. Three minutes later it was two for Pittsburgh as Steevan Dos Santos seized on a rebound off an initial shot by Neco Brett to score from close range. Brett added a third in the 13th minute as Dos Santos blocked an attempted pass in the Atlanta defensive third, which saw the ball spin to Brett alone in the penalty area for a simple finish. Brett had another chance to add to the Hounds’ before the halftime break as he fired a shot to the left corner that was well saved by Atlanta goalkeeper Dylan Castanheira, but with 20 minutes to go Thomas Vancaeyezeele added the fourth with a clever looped finish after the ball had pinballed around in the penalty area after a corner kick from the right. Atlanta’s miserable night was made complete in the 76th minute when defender Laurence Wyke turned home a low cross by Pittsburgh’s Christian Volesky for a fifth for the Hounds, who claimed their third win of the season with their highest-scoring performance of the year.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Steevan Dos Santos, Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC – Dos Santos was influential throughout, recording one goal, one assist, three key passes and four shots to lead the Hounds’ attack.

 

CHARLOTTE INDEPENDENCE (4), BIRMINGHAM LEGION FC (1)

MATTHEWS, N.C. – The independence pulled away with three second-half goals to earn victory against Legion FC in Mike Jeffries’ return to the sideline at the Sportsplex at Matthews. The Independence struck after just seven minutes as a corner from the left was flicked on at the near post and came to Andrew Gutman, who fired home into the left corner to put the hosts ahead. Legion FC leveled in the 26th minute, however, as Daniel Johnson stole possession in the Charlotte half and moved the ball quickly through Mikey Lopez to Prosper Kasim, whose low shot picked out the bottom-right corner. Charlotte almost regained the lead eight minutes before halftime as Alex Martinez got in behind the Birmingham defense but shot just high of the top right corner from the left side of the penalty area, but three minutes into the second half Enzo Martinez capitalized on a poor defensive header to corral possession in the penalty area and fire home to the left corner. The Independence added to its lead on the hour-mark from the penalty spot when Jorge Herrera converted after being fouled by Legion FC’s Mathieu, and then in the 65th minute Abdoulie Mansally wrapped up the points with a fourth as he slid home a finish after Alex Martinez had broken in behind the Legion FC defense to set up the chance.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Alex Martinez, Charlotte Independence – Martinez was active throughout the contest, recorded one assist and completed 5 of 6 dribbles to help lead the Independence to victory.

 

OTTAWA FURY FC (0), MEMPHIS 901 FC (0)

OTTAWA – Fury FC continued its undefeated streak but was unable to take advantage of its chances as it played to a scoreless draw with 901 FC at TD Place. Memphis went close to opening the scoring in the third minute after a set piece fell to Dan Metzger near the top of the penalty area, and his volleyed finish was deflected just off target by Fury FC defender Dakota Barnathan. The visitors had another chance blocked when Elliot Collier got into the left side of the defense 10 minutes before halftime only for Nana Attakora to deflect his effort high, while Ottawa’s Carl Haworth curled a shot just wide from 16 yards on the first real chance for the hosts four minutes before the break. Mour Samb forced a big save from Memphis’ Jeff Caldwell two minutes later, while Collier went close midway through the second half with a dipping effort that clipped the top of the crossbar and went behind for a goal kick. Collier proved the main threat for Memphis throughout the night and was denied by a smothering save by Fury FC goalkeeper Callum Irving with 12 minutes to go. Samb then had a big chance off a corner kick by Haworth in the 81st minute only to sky his header over the crossbar, and that proved to be the last big chance of the game as the teams ended scoreless.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Jeff Caldwell, Memphis 901 FC – Caldwell recorded a five-save shutout to earn the visitors a point on the road despite conceding 19 shots to their hosts.

 

TAMPA BAY ROWDIES (1), CHARLESTON BATTERY (1)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The Charleston Battery struck in the 88th minute to grab a point against the Rowdies at Al Lang Stadium. The Battery almost took the lead inside a minute when Nicque Daley turned his marker well to break in on goal but shot just wide of the right post, while the Rowdies went close soon after as David Najem curled a finish just high of the top-right corner. Both goalkeepers were then called into action as Charleston’s Joe Kuzminsky kept out a header by Pape Diakite off a corner kick and Tampa Bay’s John McCarthy denied both Kotaro Higashi and Vincenzo Candela on back-to-back chances. The Rowdies took the lead six minutes before halftime, however, as Sebastian Guenzatti took a pass from Malik Johnson and cleverly shifted past a defender to make space and fire home. The Battery went close to an equalizer early in the second half but McCarthy got down well to deny a shot by Daley, while Kuzminsky was alert to a turning shot by Guenzatti from the top of the penalty area as the Rowdies’ captain took aim at his second on the night. The Rowdies had a chance to double their lead with 19 minutes to go as Juan Tejada kept a play alive in the Battery end and set up Najem only for his shot went just over the crossbar. It appeared the lone goal might be enough to secure the Rowdies’ the win, but with two minutes remaining the Battery leveled as a free kick from the right was knocked down by Arthur Bosua and volleyed into the left corner of the net by Ian Svantesson. Tampa Bay pushed to regain the lead in stoppage time, but the Battery held on for a valuable road point.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Arthur Bosua, Charleston Battery – Bosua battled all night to lead the Battery line, winning 10 of 14 aerial duels and recording four key passes overall including the assist on Ian Svantesson’s late equalizer.

 

NORTH CAROLINA FC (2), SWOPE PARK RANGERS (0)

CARY, N.C. – North Carolina ran its undefeated streak to five games in league action thanks to a pair of early goals against the Rangers at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park. North Carolina grabbed the lead in the sixth minute as a misplaced pass by the Rangers came to Robbie Kristo, who fed a streaking Yamikani Chester as he broke forward and put away a first-time finish. Seven minutes later Dre Fortune made it two off another turnover as he drove forward from midfield and sent home a low shot that found the right corner from 20 yards. Swope Park’s first good chance came on the half-hour mark but Gianluca Busio put his header wide of the left post,  but goalkeeper Eric Dick made a big save early in the second half to deny Kristo with a left-arm save that deflected the ball onto the crossbar before the defense cleared the rebound. Dick made another big save in the 59th minute as he palmed a shot by Chester from the right side of the penalty area over the crossbar, and the hosts twice went close with 10 minutes to go as Graham Smith first made a brilliant goal-line clearance to keep out Donovan Ewolo’s initial chance before Dick turned Fortune’s curling shot from 20 yards away. The Rangers had late opportunities to get on the board including a header by Smith that hit the crossbar, but the breakthrough didn’t arrive as NCFC claimed all three points.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Dre Fortune, North Carolina FC – Fortune scored an opportunistic goal and completed 33 of 38 passes in a positive display to lead the hosts to victory.

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