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Gameday Report: July 13, Week 19

By USLChampionship.com Staff, 07/13/19, 7:06PM EDT

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Hartford thrills sellout crowd with victory against Indy; Rising FC's winning streak reaches nine games

Hartford Athletic welcomed a sellout crowd and picked up an impressive victory against Indy Eleven as it opened Dillon Stadium in style, while Phoenix Rising FC continued its march toward history with a ninth consecutive victory on the road at Rio Grande Valley FC and Birmingham Legion FC broke an 11-game winless streak with victory against North Carolina FC in Saturday night’s headlines in the USL Championship.

 

SACRAMENTO REPUBLIC FC (1), PORTLAND TIMBERS 2 (0)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Republic FC got a late first-half goal by Hayden Partain to earn victory against T2 at Papa Murphy’s Park. Sacramento had the ball in the net in the 13th minute when Tyler Blackwood finished off a through-ball by Villyan Bijev only for the offside flag to go up, but the same duo almost struck four minutes later as Bijev’s low cross from the right was stabbed just wide of the near post by Blackwood. The hosts went close again in the 25th minute when Partain flashed a shot just wide of the left post from the top of the penalty area, while Partain went close again with a fiercely hit shot from 35 yards that Portland goalkeeper Jake Leeker turned just wide of the right post. Four minutes before halftime, however, Partin put the hosts ahead as he controlled a cross by Juan Barahona from the left and rifled a low finish home from the penalty spot. T2 began the second half more brightly as Brayan Hurtado was denied by Republic FC goalkeeper Josh Cohen in the 56th minute with a low shot from the left. Ryan Sierakowski also went close for the visitors as his low finish from Hurtado’s deep cross from the left was brilliantly cleared off the line by Sacramento’s Matt Mahoney, but then Republic FC got a chance to double its lead from the penalty spot after Leeker brought down Sam Werner in the penalty area. Werner stepped up to take the penalty kick but fired off the crossbar. Portland threatened again with 16 minutes to go when Kobayashi hit a low shot just wide of the left post from 20 yards, but Republic FC held firm in the closing stages to break a two-game losing streak.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Juan Barahona, Sacramento Republic FC – Barahona provided the assist on the game-winning goal, had three key passes overall and won 8 of 12 duels and made five interceptions in a strong all-around display.

 

FRESNO FC (2), NEW MEXICO UNITED (1)

FRESNO, Calif. – The Foxes took their fourth consecutive victory to move into second place in the Western Conference after an exciting contest against New Mexico at Chukchansi Park. Fresno got out on the front foot early and created an opening for Alex Cooper in the 14th minute that was saved by New Mexico goalkeeper Cody Mizell. Four minutes later, however, the Foxes took the lead from the penalty spot as Jemal Johnson converted after Cooper was brought down in the penalty area with a low shot to the left corner that sent Mizell the wrong way. New Mexico almost equalized on a cleverly conceived free kick that allowed Saalih Muhammad to volley on target only for Fresno goalkeeper CJ Cochran to make a sharp save, while the Foxes had a big chance to double their lead but Arun Basuljevic pulled his shot wide after a good cross by Qudus Lawal on the half-hour mark. Cochran was called into service again nine minutes before halftime to deny a shot by Santi Moar from the left side of the penalty area, but in the 40th minute Justin Schmidt pulled the visitors level as a free kick by Chris Wehan skipped through the penalty area to set up a close-range finish. The Foxes regained the lead three minutes into the second half, however, as Mickey Daly connected with a deep corner kick from the left by Juan Pablo Caffa to head home. Basuljevic had a big chance to add to the Foxes’ lead in the 56th minute as he latched onto a clever pass by Cooper but shot just wide of the right post, while Zach Ellis-Hayden also forced a diving save from Mizell with 12 minutes to go after cutting inside from the right flank. Cochran then came up big with consecutive saves after Chris Wehan’s initial effort was parried and Devon Sandoval volleyed finish on the rebound was smothered to preserve Fresno’s lead. The Foxes almost added to their lead late on as Renato Bustamante had his shot parried onto the top of the right post by Mizell, but the hosts wouldn’t need an insurance goal as they saw out another good home victory.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Mickey Daly, Fresno FC – Daly scored the game-winning goal early in the second half and was solid defensively in recording three interceptions.

 

RIO GRANDE VALLEY FC (0), PHOENIX RISING FC (1)

EDINBURG, Texas – A second-half goal by Adam Jahn gave Rising FC its ninth consecutive victory as it edged out the Toros at H-E-B Park. Phoenix had some early chances sent off target by Jose Aguinaga and James Musa, while Joey Calistri and Solomon Asante forced two standard saves by the Toros’ Tyler Deric, but the first good look on goal for the visitors fell to Adam Jahn as he broke forward but shot wide of the near post from the left side of the penalty area in the 26th minute. The Toros came out more brightly to start the second half and almost got a slice of good fortune early in the second half when Andrew Samuels’ cross from the right was almost diverted into his own net by Phoenix’s Joe Farrell, the ball instead looping just over the crossbar. Carlos Small then had a big chance for the hosts as he got in behind the Rising FC defense with a good first touch but his low finish caromed off the inside of the right post and away to safety. Memo Rodriguez also forced a good save by Phoenix goalkeeper Zac Lubin in the 56th minute with a shot from 25 yards, but six minutes later Rising FC took the lead as a looping cross from the right by Asante found Jahn for a header that Deric almost parried onto the crossbar, only for the ball to come down off the underside of the bar and just cross the line. Asante went after a second with 14 minutes to go with a blast from long-range that flew wide of the right post, while Lubin was called on to make a diving save on a shot by Small from 20 yards that was curling toward the left corner of the net for the hosts. The visitors would be the more threatening on the counterattack late on, however, but while they were unable to take advantage of their chances to add a second, Jahn’s goal stood as the winner and continued the club’s remarkable streak.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Adam Jahn, Phoenix Rising FC – Jahn notched the goal that continued Rising FC’s run toward history as he also notched one key pass and completed 15 of 21 passes overall.

 

AUSTIN BOLD FC (3), ORANGE COUNTY SC (2)

AUSTIN, Texas – Bold FC let a two-goal lead slip to Orange County before Kris Tyrpak’s stoppage-time winner lifted the hosts to victory at Bold Stadium. Austin took the lead in the 10th minute as a corner kick from the left wasn’t properly cleared, which allowed Andre Lima to pounce and finish from close range into the left corner. Orange County almost equalized seven minutes later only for Michael Seaton to send a close-range finish over the crossbar, and in the 21st minute Bold FC doubled its lead as Sean McFarlane fired home a low finish to the left corner off a corner kick that pinballed around the penalty area before falling to the Jamaican defender. Edson Alvarado pulled a goal back six minutes later as Joe Amico delivered a fine chipped cross from the right the back post for a close-range header, and Orange County almost leveled only for Darwin Jones to miss wide of the near post on a one-on-one chance from the right side of the penalty area. Austin almost added to its halftime lead in the 66th minute only for Tyrpak’s shot to be denied by Orange County goalkeeper Aaron Cervantes, and that one-on-one save proved crucial as just a minute later the visitors leveled when Seaton tucked home a close-range finish from a low cross from the left by Kevin Coleman. Bold FC went close to regaining the lead with 13 minutes to go when Edson Braafheid’s header went just wide of the left post, and Cervantes came up big to deny Tyrpak a second time with seven minutes to go on a shot from the left side of the penalty area. Austin had another chance with three minutes to go as Xavier Baez’s angled cross was flicked on by Sonny Guadarrama, only for his header to hit the crossbar and the rebound chance after the ball hung above the goal to go over. Orange County’s late resistance was broken in stoppage time, however, as Tyrpak volleyed home into the right corner to lift Austin to a vital victory in its pursuit of the postseason.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Kris Tyrpak, Austin Bold FC – Tyrpak’s fifth goal of the season lifted Bold FC as he again made an impact as a second-half substitute, twice previously going close to finding the net.

 

BIRMINGHAM LEGION FC (1), NORTH CAROLINA FC (0)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Brian Wright’s goal late in the second half allowed Legion FC to break an 11-game winless streak with victory against North Carolina at BBVA Field. Legion FC almost struck in the seventh minute as J.J. Williams rang a header off the crossbar after a cross from the left by Kyle Culbertson. North Carolina’s first good chance arrived in the 26th minute when a low cross from the left deflected out to Steven Miller, but his low shot from the left side of the penalty area was parried wide of the right post by Legion FC goalkeeper Matt Van Oekel. Birmingham had a chance inside the opening minute of the second half as Wright found space in the left side of the penalty area but had his shot smothered by NCFC goalkeeper Alex Tambakis. The Greek shot-stopper also comfortably saved a long-range free kick by Daigo Kobayashi in the 53rd minute but was then forced to make a big stop on Prosper Kasim five minutes later to keep the game scoreless. Wright went close to breaking the deadlock in the 71st minute with a low, dipping shop that was corralled by Tambakis, while North Carolina’s Robbie Kristo was denied by a second big save from Van Oekel on a close-range header with 13 minutes to go. Two minutes later, however, Wright struck as he controlled an angled cross by Kobayashi in the left side of the penalty area and tucked home a low shot to the right corner. That proved the difference as Legion FC claimed its first victory since April 27.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Brian Wright, Birmingham Legion FC – Wright was a consistent threat after coming on for the hosts as a first-half substitute, putting all three of his shots on goal and scoring the game-winner.

 

COLORADO SPRINGS SWITCHBACKS FC (1), TULSA ROUGHNECKS FC (0)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The Switchbacks snapped a four-game losing streak with victory against the Roughnecks at Weidner Field. The Roughnecks had the first good chance in the 10th minute as Janu Silva’s header off a corner by Rodrigo da Costa was tipped over the crossbar by Switchbacks goalkeeper Andre Rawls. The Switchbacks began to threaten as the half went on, and Matt Hundley had a powerful effort from distance deflected just wide of the right post by Roughnecks defender Cyprian Hedrick. Former Colorado Springs forward A.J. Ajeakwa had a curled finish that carried wide of the right post for the Roughnecks five minutes into the second half, but the Switchbacks took the lead in the 61st minute as Shane Malcolm flicked a header into the right corner of the net off a free kick from the left by Ish Jome. Colorado Springs threatened again through Jome seven minutes later only for his volley to slide wide of the right post off a corner kick by Hundley, while Tulsa’s Christian Altamirano fired wide of the left post in the 77th minute as the visitors looked for an equalizer. Altamirano then had a shot blocked by Jordan Burt four minutes later, but the Switchbacks held on for their first win under interim Head Coach Wolde Harris.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Shane Malcolm, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC – Malcolm scored the game-winning goal, had two key passes and completed 17 of 21 passes overall to lift the Switchbacks to victory.

 

PITTSBURGH RIVERHOUNDS SC (1), TAMPA BAY ROWDIES (1)

PITTSBURGH – A late goal by Lucky Mkosana earned the Rowdies a point as they held Riverhounds SC in a hard-fought contest at Highmark Stadium. Chances were limited for both sides in the opening half-hour, with a shot by Pittsburgh’s Kevin Kerr forcing an early save from Rowdies goalkeeper John McCarthy, and Tampa Bay midfielder Dominic Oduro flashing a well-hit shot just over the crossbar in the 29th minute. The Hounds had the best chance of the half just before halftime when Kenardo Forbes’ corner kick from the right found Steevan Dos Santos, but his header was tipped just over the crossbar impressively by McCarthy. Pittsburgh took the lead seven minutes after the break, however, as Kerr converted from the penalty spot after Neco Brett was brought down on a breakaway into the penalty area. The defenses continued to hold sway after the Hounds’ opener, but with six minutes to go the Rowdies found an equalizer when a flighted pass from near the halfway line on the right by Kwadwo Poku was brought down perfectly on his chest by Mkosana to set up a lifted finish past the advancing goalkeeper. Pittsburgh had a chance with three minutes to go as Dos Santos sent a turning shot high under pressure from McCarthy, but honors ended even thanks to Tampa Bay’s late goal.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Kwadwo Poku, Tampa Bay Rowdies – Poku had a positive impact coming off the bench, supplying a beautiful assist among two key passes and winning four of five duels.

 

CHARLOTTE INDEPENDENCE (2), SAINT LOUIS FC (1)

MATTHEWS, N.C. – The Independence ran their undefeated streak to seven games as they held off Saint Louis at the Sportsplex at Matthews. The Independence took the lead in just the fifth minute when a cross from the left by Dominic Oduro found Niki Jackson at the back post for a header back across goal that landed in the left side of the net. Saint Louis almost replied immediately as Kyle Greig’s shot was parried away by Independence goalkeeper Brandon Miller, while Jackson almost added a spectacular second in the 25th minute with a bicycle kick that flashed just over the crossbar off a cross from the right by Alex Martinez. The Independence doubled their lead four minutes into the second half as Joel Johnson broke forward down the right side and centered for Enzo Martinez to shoot first-time from the top of the penalty area into the left side of the net that just eluded STLFC goalkeeper Jake Fenlason. The visitors went close to halving the deficit just before the hour-mark, but Miller made a point-blank save on a header by Russell Cicerone to deny them. Charlotte almost added a third on a diving header by Hugh Roberts that went just wide of the right post, and Enzo Martinez was denied from a tight angle by Fenlason a few minutes later, while Greig forced another excellent save from Miller with 15 minutes to go on a fizzing shot from the top of the penalty area. Off the ensuing corner from Miller’s save, however, Caleb Calvert got Saint Louis on the board with a headed finish from Lewis Hilton’s delivery from the right that found the let corner with 15 minutes to go. Charlotte was then reduced to 10 men in the 80th minute as Joel Johnson was sent off for a challenge on Kadeem Dacres, and Saint Louis applied pressure late in search of an equalizer that included an appeal for a penalty kick on a heavy challenge by Roberts on Calvert in stoppage time. The Independence held on for victory, however, to move into the playoff positions in the Eastern Conference.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Enzo Martinez, Charlotte Independence – Martinez scored what proved the game-winning goal and had a solid two-way game completing 27 of 37 passes and winning three tackles.

 

HARTFORD ATHLETIC (2), INDY ELEVEN (1)

HARTFORD, Conn. – The Athletic got second-half goals by Jose Angulo and Wojciech Wojcik to thrill a sellout crowd of 5,500 fans and end Indy’s 10-game undefeated streak at the first game in the new era at Dillon Stadium. Indy took the initiative early and created a chance for Dane Kelly in the fourth minute that the Jamaican forward fired low and almost snuck through the legs of Hartford goalkeeper Fredrick Due, instead taking a slight deflection that sent it wide of the right post. The hosts came into the game after withstanding the early pressure, however, and a teasing cross by Jose Angulo from the left skipped through the top of the six-yard box only for a final touch to go missing as the game went to the break scoreless. Hartford almost took the lead 11 minutes into the second half when Alex Dixon found space on the right but rang his finish off the crossbar, but two minutes later Angulo made no mistake with a low shot from the left side of the penalty area after being played in by Danny Barrera. Indy almost leveled midway through the second half when Paddy Barrett’s header off a free kick by Ayoze went just wide of the right post, but in the 72nd minute Wojciech Wojcik added a second for the Athletic as he took a pass from Barrera in the penalty area, cut past a defender and fired into the top-right corner. Indy pulled a goal back with two minutes to go when Ayoze converted from the penalty spot after a handball in the penalty area, but the visitors held firm in stoppage time to secure all three points and send the sellout crowd home happy.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Danny Barrera, Hartford Athletic – Barrera notched assists on both goals and recorded seven key passes overall to guide Hartford to victory. 

 

NEW YORK RED BULLS II (8), ATL UTD 2 (1)

MONTCLAIR, N.J. – Chris Lema had a four-goal game while Jared Stroud notched a brace as the Red Bulls II swept past ATL UTD 2 at MSU Soccer Park. New York almost took the lead in the 10th minute when Marcus Epps hit a curling shot from 20 yards that came back off the crossbar, but the hosts struck nine minutes later when a deep cross from the right found Stroud in the left side of the penalty area, and his cut-back to the penalty spot found Lema for a first-time finish slotted into the left corner. Two minutes later Stroud added a second, putting home at the second attempt to the right corner after his initial effort was blocked, and Sean Nealis notched a third inside a span of four minutes with a header off a curled back-post cross from the left by John Tolkin. Stroud’s second of the first half – and fourth in the past two games – made it four in the 39th minute as he tucked home a low cross from the right by Rece Buckmaster. Lema scored his second of the game five minutes after the halftime break as he put home the rebound after Mathias Jorgenson’s initial shot had been saved, and Epps put home a sixth in the 55th minute from the penalty spot after Tolkin was brought down in the area. Lema then completed his hat trick as he capitalized on a turnover by Atlanta’s defense before the visitors broke through on a goal by Jackson Conway with 25 minutes to go, but Atlanta was then reduced to 10 men as Luiz Fernando received his second caution of the game. Lema then became the first player to record a four-goal game in the Championship this season with five minutes to go as he again finished after a defensive turnover in the Atlanta half, wrapping up a record-setting outing for the hosts.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Chris Lema, New York Red Bulls II – Lema’s four-goal performance was the pick of the bunch in a club-record outing for the Red Bulls II.

 

CHARLESTON BATTERY (P), MEMPHIS 901 FC (P)

CHARLESTON, S.C. – The matchup between the Battery and 901 FC was postponed without a ball being kicked as lightning in the region saw the sides sit through a 90-minute weather delay before the game was called.

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