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Gameday Report: July 4, Week 18

By USLChampionship.com Staff, 07/04/19, 9:45PM EDT

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Lights FC salvage point with late goal against Galaxy II to round out 4-game Independence Day slate

Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC ran its winning streak to three games with victory against Keystone State rival Bethlehem Steel FC, while North Carolina FC and the Charlotte Independence finished all square in a Southern Derby clash, Orange County SC took victory on the road against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, and Las Vegas Lights FC rallied with a late equalizer against the LA Galaxy II in Thursday night's action in the USL Championship.

las vegas lights fc (2) v la galaxy ii (2)

LAS VEGAS – Las Vegas Lights FC and LA Galaxy II put on a show for a packed Cashman Field in a 2-2 draw that saw Lights FC pull level late on from the spot. It took 18 minutes for either side to break through but a clever attacking move from the hosts resulted in José Villarreal’s pass finding Jesus Gonzalez after a well-timed dummy and Gonzalez hammered home an effort from near the edge of the 18-yard box. Lights FC’s lead did not last for too long with Galaxy II pulling level in the 30th minute after midfielder Ernesto Walker settled a pass for Carlos Harvey to hit at the first time asking, and he did well to drive a low, powerful shot past Las Vegas goalkeeper Thomas Olsen. Galaxy II then jumped in front just two minutes into the second half when forwards Augustine Williams and Frank López combined in a move that saw the latter head home from a yard out. Las Vegas’ fight to pull level proved fruitful in the 84th minute when the goalscorer Harvey brought down Lights FC forward Irvin Parra in the box to concede a penalty. Parra then converted from the spot for his ninth goal of the year to ensure at least a point for the hosts. Late on, Lights FC nearly took all three points when Parra swung a cross deep to the back post for forward Preston Tabort Etaka, but he could not direct an effort on frame as Las Vegas and LA shared the spoils.

USL Championship Man of the Match

Irvin Parra, Las Vegas Lights FC – Coming on at halftime, Parra’s contributions in the second half included a chance created, a penalty earned, and a penalty converted as he proved one of Las Vegas’ most influential players in the match as a whole.

Colorado springs switchbacks fc (1) v orange county sc (2)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Col. – Orange County SC came back to defeat Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC at Weidner Field on Saturday, earning their first road win of the 2019 season. An ultimately scoreless first half still saw both sides create a couple of quality chances with Switchbacks FC forward Saeed Robinson firing narrowly wide after breaking through on goal in the 38th minute and Switchbacks FC goalkeeper Andre Rawls coming up big on the other end to deny OCSC’s Darwin Jones from close range in the 45th minute. The pace of the match changed immediately into the second half when Switchbacks FC took an instant lead through midfielder Rony Argueta’s strike from just outside the box for the game’s first goal. The hosts’ lead was short-lived, though, with Orange County levelling just three minutes later as forward Michael Seaton scored his team’s first after a long throw-in helped him through. Nearly 30 minutes later, OCSC went in front in impressive fashion when a long ball from midfielder Aodhan Quinn played in substitute Kevin Coleman, who then set up an easy finish for fellow super sub Giovanni Ramos Godoy from a few yards out. Switchbacks FC continued to press for an equalizer and had a couple of shots saved well by OCSC goalkeeper Patrick McLain, who had more work to do with defender Walker Hume’s dismissal in the 86th minute, but would not break through. Hanging on to earn all three points, the win sees Orange County SC snap a three-game winless streak.

USL Championship Man of the Match

Owusu-Ansah Kontor, Orange County SC – Kontor created three chances and was created with the assist on Michael Seaton’s goal and also chipped in three interceptions and made four clearances on the defensive side in the win.

pittsburgh riverhounds sc (1) v bethlehem steel fc (0)

PITTSBURGH, Penn. – Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC pushed their unbeaten stretch to five games with a tight 1-0 win over Bethlehem Steel FC after a goal from Kenardo Forbes in the second half proved enough to lift the hosts over their in-state rivals. The Hounds nearly took the lead after 23 minutes when midfielder Kevin Kerr flicked a cross in for defender Tobi Adewole, but the centerback could not reach the ball as the chance went begging. Instead, Riverhounds SC captain Kenardo Forbes took it upon himself to put his team ahead when he smashed a free kick into the top right corner past Steel FC goalkeeper Tomás Romero. The result also sees Pittsburgh collect their fourth consecutive victory, now the longest winning run in the Eastern Conference after Indy Eleven’s draw with Louisville City FC.

USL Championship Man of the Match

Kenardo Forbes, Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC – Once again, Forbes delivered with a spectacular free kick effort to give his side the goal they needed but the midfielder also created four chances and collected seven interceptions in the win.

North carolina fc (1) v charlotte independence (1)

CARY, N.C. – North Carolina FC extended its 8-game unbeaten streak after a one-all draw against the Charlotte Independence that saw the hosts establish a lead after just three minutes. Applying pressure on the Independence goal from the outset, NCFC capitalized on a mistake by the Independence defense which left midfielder Yamikani Chester with a tap-in on the doorstep and an early lead for the hosts. However, just over 10 minutes later the Independence pulled level when an outrageous first-time through pass from forward Enzo Martinez played in teammate Niki Jackson, who did well to take the pass wide and slot past NCFC goalkeeper Alex Tambakis. However, Tambakis would get revenge when he smothered a chance for Jackson in the 41st minute after the forward had been played in clean on goal to keep his team level. Charlotte shotstopper Brandon Miller would come to his side’s rescue twice in the second half as a goalkeeper battle ensued, and first just two minutes after the second half began when he produced an impressive save on NCFC midfielder Dre Fortune’s curling effort toward the bottom corner. Miller’s second half heroics helped the Independence earn a point, and extend their own unbeaten run to five games.

USL Championship Man of the Match

Yamikani Chester, North Carolina FC – Chester scored NCFC’s lone goal of the evening but continued to be influential in his 86 minutes of action, creating two chances on the night while also completing over 88 percent of his passes.

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