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Gameday Report: June 16, Week 15

By USLChampionship.com Staff, 06/16/19, 5:14PM EDT

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Nashville, New York both grab late victories; T2 earns stoppage-time draw with Foxes

Both Nashville SC and the New York Red Bulls II got late victories as Cameron Lancaster struck a brilliant winner for NSC against Hartford Athletic and Mathias Jørgensen scored the winner for New York against Louisville City FC, while the Portland Timbers 2 got a stoppage-time equalizer against Fresno FC in Sunday’s USL Championship action.

PORTLAND TIMBERS 2 (2), FRESNO FC (2)

PORTLAND, Ore. – A stoppage-time equalizer by Nathan Smith earned T2 a point against the Foxes as the sides shared four second-half goals at Providence Park. T2 had the first good chance in the fourth minute as a back-post cross from the left by Smith was headed just wide by Dairon Asprilla, and the Colombian fired just wide of the left post from 20 yards a few minutes later. Fresno’s first big chance arrived in the 18th minute as Elijah Martin found space on the left side of the penalty area but curled his finish just over the crossbar, while Juan Pablo Caffa sent a free kick from the top-right corner of the penalty area just high as well around the half-hour mark. Both teams threatened late in the half as the Foxes’ Jemal Johnson had a long-range effort saved by T2 goalkeeper Aljaz Ivacic while Portland’s Foster Langsdorf had a flicked header that went straight at C.J. Cochran, while Caffa had a free kick saved by Ivacic in stoppage time as the game went to the break scoreless. It didn’t take long for T2 to break the deadlock in the second half, however, as less than a minute in the hosts were awarded a penalty kick for a foul on Brayan Hurtado that Todd Wharton dispatched to the bottom-left corner of the net past a diving Cochran. But the Foxes hit back quickly as Martin ran onto a slipped pass by Johnson into the left side of the penalty area that allowed Martin to shoot low into the left corner. Both teams had a chance to go ahead before the hour-mark as T2’s Modou Jadama headed wide a free kick by Cristian Ojeda from close range and Fresno’s Qudus Lawal couldn’t control his finish off a strongly-hit cross by Zach Ellis-Hayden from the right side, but Portland quickly followed with a big chance to regain the lead through Hurtado that was denied by Cochran before his defense smuggled away the rebound. The Foxes almost took the lead in the 66th minute when Mickey Daly’s shot came back off the crossbar, but two minutes later Johnson picked up his second assist of the game as his deft touch set up Lawal for a low finish to the right corner. Portland almost leveled on a long-range blast by Smith that Cochran tipped onto the crossbar and over in the 73rd minute, and Hurtado sent a finish wide of the left post after a cross from the left pinballed around in the Foxes’ penalty area before falling to the Venezuelan. Portland again went close as Roy Miller sent a header just wide at the back post off a corner kick from the right with 12 minutes to go, while Wharton fired just wide with a minute to go after an initial shot by Ryan Seriakowski was blocked in the Fresno penalty area, but in stoppage time Smith found an equalizer with a low half-volleyed finish that snuck under Cochran from the left side of the penalty area to leave honors even.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Jemal Johnson, Fresno FC – Johnson produced two beautifully-executed assists and had five key passes overall while completing 23 of 31 passes and recording three shots in a strong road display.

HARTFORD ATHLETIC (2), NASHVILLE SC (3)

HARTFORD, Conn. – Both teams led, but an outstanding late winner by Cameron Lancaster lifted Nashville past Hartford at Rentschler Field. Nashville had more of the game early, but Hartford had the first big scoring chance in the 27th minute when Mads Jorgensen’s free kick from 35 yards hit the underside of the crossbar and just rebounded to safety. The hosts threatened again a minute later when Nicky Downs stole possession and quickly got past the defense to set up a chipped finish past goalkeeper Matt Pickens only for NSC defender Darnell King to make a remarkable clearance that sent the finish off the right post and out. Hartford’s Wojciech Wojcik tried to capitalize on the rebound, but it was deflected wide by NSC’s Matt LaGrassa. That block proved crucial as NSC took the lead moments later after a breakdown as the Athletic tried to build out of the back when Ropapa Mensah stole possession and quickly centered to Daniel Rios for a simple finish to the bottom-right corner. The Athletic responded immediately as Ray Lee’s angled cross from the top-left corner of the penalty area was deftly headed home to the right corner by Sebastian Dalgaard to make it level at halftime, and then the hosts got the chance to take the lead early in the second half when Justin Davis was whistled for a handball in the penalty area. Jose Angulo stepped up to take the spot kick, only for Pickens to save his shot to the right side, but off the ensuing corner a deep cross by Kyle Curinga from the right to the back post was headed across goal into the right corner by Sem de Wit to put Hartford ahead. As the hosts had previously, however, Nashville hit right back as Lebo Moloto did well to fire home the rebound after Athletic goalkeeper Frederick Due had parried an initial shot by Daniel Rios in the 62nd minute. The visitors looked to quickly regain the lead and Due made a sharp low save on a shot by NSC’s Taylor Washington a minute later, and then Washington provided a good cross that Rios headed wide of the right post. Due had to come up with another good save to keep out Mensah’s header to the left corner in the 66th minute, and then again eight minutes later as he denied Davis on a turning shot from eight yards. Nashville continued to press for a winner, and Lancaster, on as a second-half substitute, had a low free kick from 20 yards turned wide of the right post by Due, but with five minutes to go the 2018 Championship Golden Boot-winner produced a superlative finish from almost 30 yards that caromed in off the underside of the crossbar in the top-right corner and into the net. Hartford had one late chance to level as Jorgensen hit the left post with a powerful strike from 30 yards early in stoppage time, but Nashville held firm defensively to take all three points.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Cameron Lancaster, Nashville SC – Lancaster made the difference after coming on, posting four shots on target in 22 minutes that included the spectacular game-winner for the visitors.

NEW YORK RED BULLS II (1), LOUISVILLE CITY FC (0)

MONTCLAIR, N.J. – A late strike by Mathias Jørgensen proved the difference as the Red Bulls II moved a point back of the Tampa Bay Rowdies with victory against LouCity at MSU Soccer Park. Louisville had an early goal ruled out for offside as Luke Spencer strayed just beyond the last defender before applying a close-range finish to Magnus Rasmussen’s low cross from the left. New York then threatened twice midway through the first half as first Marcus Epps skillfully made space for a low cross from the right that didn’t get a final touch, and then in the 26th minute Vincent Bezecourt sent a low shot just past the right post. Louisville’s Chris Hubbard then made a pair of good saves, the first denying a chance for Epps on a first-time finish off a corner kick that was knocked back into the center of the penalty area by Sean Nealis, the second keeping out a long-range effort by Jared Stroud aimed for the right corner from 25 yards. Hubbard denied Epps again six minutes before halftime on a one-on-one chance from the right side of the penalty area with another fine stop, while LouCity’s Napo Matsoso had a long-range effort go just high in the 67th minute as both sides tried to break the deadlock. The Red Bulls II had another pair of chances with 14 minutes to go as both Sebastian Elney and Ben Mines were denied by Hubbard, but the breakthrough finally arrived for New York with seven minutes to go when Mines won a challenge near the halfway line that got the hosts on the move and Jørgensen broke away before finishing into the bottom-left corner. Louisville had a late chance to level only for Rasmussen’s header to go straight at Red Bulls II goalkeeper Evan Louro, but New York held on in stoppage time to record its seventh home win of the season.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Evan Louro, New York Red Bulls II – Louro recorded a six-save shutout to keep the hosts level before the attack found a late winner after racking up 10 shots on target overall.

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