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Gameday Report: August 3, Week 22

By USLChampionship.com Staff, 08/04/19, 2:33AM EDT

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Sacramento holds off San Antonio rally; Phoenix sets record with sixth consecutive road win

Sacramento Republic FC held on for a big road victory against San Antonio FC, and Phoenix Rising FC claimed its sixth consecutive road victory to set a Championship record thanks to a comeback victory against the LA Galaxy II, while Indy Eleven earned a late victory in its top-four clash with North Carolina FC, and the Tampa Bay Rowdies returned to the top of the Eastern Conference in Saturday night’s action in the USL Championship.

 

FRESNO FC (2), LAS VEGAS LIGHTS FC (1)

FRESNO, Calif. – Jaime Chavez scored both goals as Fresno earned victory against Lights FC at Chukchansi Park. The Foxes came out on the front foot and Elijah Martin flashed a shot just wide of the right post in just the third minute. Las Vegas’ first big chance came five minutes later as Preston Tabort Etaka’s solid header was parried to safety by Fresno goalkeeper CJ Cochran, and the shot-stopper also had to keep out a curling free kick by Jose Villarreal in the 36th minute. Fresno took the lead four minutes before halftime, however, as Chavez blasted home a finish from 20 yards into the top-left corner of the net. Lights FC was then reduced to 10 men as Jonathan Levin was sent off after a heavy challenge on Ramon Martin Del Campo, and the Foxes looked to take advantage early in the second half. First Qudus Lawal found his way in behind the defense only to shoot wide of the near post from the left side of the penalty area, but in the 56th minute Chavez struck again as Lawal set up a low finish to the left corner that doubled the lead. Chavez was denied a hat trick two minutes later as Lights FC goalkeeper Thomas Olsen made a great reaction save on a first-time finish, while Tabort Etaka was kept out by Cochran at the other end in the 64th minute, but with 10 minutes to go Lights FC hit back as Pablo Cruz stole in at the back post to finish after a long throw-in from the right had been flicked on at the near post. The equalizer wouldn’t come for the 10-man Lights FC, however, as the Foxes solidified their top-three position in the Western Conference.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Jaime Chavez, Fresno FC – Chavez scored both goals, and could have had a hat trick if not for a fine save, and completed 16 of 18 passes in a great performance leading the line.

 

NEW MEXICO UNITED (2), AUSTIN BOLD FC (2)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Austin rallied twice from deficits to earn a draw against New Mexico at Isotopes Park before a crowd of 14,327 fans. New Mexico took the lead in the fifth minute when Chris Wehan found space in the right side of the penalty area and centered for Daniel Bruce to finish first time. Austin almost hit back in the 26th minute as Thomas de Villardi’s powerful shot from 20 yards was saved by NMU goalkeeper Cody Mizell, and Promise Isaac also hit the crossbar for the visitors on the half-hour mark with an angled header. A minute later, however, Amobi Okugo headed home at the back post off a corner by Xavier Baez from the left to level the game. Austin’s Isaac hit the woodwork again in first-half stoppage time as his header rebounded off the left post, but three minutes into the second half New Mexico regained the lead as Kevaughn Frater tucked home a low cross from the right by Santi Moar. The Jamaican had another chance cleared away in the 63rd minute after Austin goalkeeper Juan David Ramirez had blocked an initial effort by Wehan, but four minutes later Okugo struck again off a corner kick as the hosts couldn’t clear Calum Mallace’s delivery from the right. New Mexico looked to find a winner late, but a fiercely struck free kick by Wehan in stoppage time that went just high was its last chance to claim all three points as Bold FC remained in fourth place in the Western Conference.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Amobi Okugo, Austin Bold FC – Okugo scored both goals for the visitors and completed 28 of 33 passes while recording two interceptions and five clearances defensively.

 

LA GALAXY II (2), PHOENIX RISING FC (3)

CARSON, Calif. – Phoenix rallied from a two-goal deficit to record a Championship record sixth consecutive road victory in a thrilling contest against the Galaxy II at Dignity Health Sports Park. Los Dos had the first good chance in the ninth minute when Ethan Zubak got in behind the Phoenix defense but chipped over the crossbar as Rising FC goalkeeper Zac Lubin came off his line to challenge. Phoenix’s Solomon Asante fired a free kick just wide of the right post in the 15th minute for the visitors, while Zubak had another chance eight minutes later that was denied by Lubin at point-blank range off a cross to the top of the six-yard area by Nate Shultz. Zubak broke the deadlock six minutes before halftime, however, as he reacted first after a cross he had challenged for landed eight yards from goal, allowing him to fire home a left-footed shot. Junior Flemmings almost equalized with a low shot that drifted wide of the right post after a strong run down the left before halftime, but the Galaxy II doubled their lead from the penalty spot through Efrain Alvarez seven minutes into the second half after a handball in the penalty area. Phoenix hit back in the 58th minute as Asante intercepted a loose pass in the Galaxy II end before rounding Los Dos goalkeeper Eric Lopez and finishing for his 15th goal of the season, and the visitors almost equalized on a header by Joey Farrell in the 64th minute that Lopez did just enough to keep out before his defense cleared. Los Dos had a chance to restore a two-goal advantage in the 72nd minute when Augustine Williams got in behind the defense only for Lubin to deny his shot, and two minutes later Rising FC drew level as Flemmings lifted home a finish into the right corner after a clever flick by Jon Bakero. The Galaxy II threatened again as Panama international Carlos Harvey broke forward but saw his shot parried wide of the left post by Lubin with 11 minutes remaining, but with six minutes to go Joey Calistri capitalized as the hosts were unable to clear a corner kick properly and shot home to the right corner to complete Phoenix’s comeback.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Joey Calistri, Phoenix Rising FC – Calistri produced a fine finish to cap Phoenix’s comeback after coming on as a substitute with 12 minutes to go.

 

OKC ENERGY FC (1), TULSA ROUGHNECKS FC (1)

OKLAHOMA CITY – Honors ended even for the second time this season in the Black Gold Derby after a pair of first-half goals between Energy FC and the Roughnecks at Taft Stadium. The Roughnecks had the first two good chances of the game as Matt Sheldon had a shot to the right corner saved in the sixth minute by OKC goalkeeper Cody Laurendi and defender Luca Lobo hit the crossbar with a header off a corner a minute later. Energy FC took the lead in the 17th minute, however, as Christian Eissele headed in a long throw-in by Kyle Hyland from the left into the right corner of the net. OKC’s lead was shortlived, however, as a miscommunication between Laurendi and defender Atiba Harris let Tulsa’s Rodrigo da Costa in to score on an empty net. Energy FC almost regained the lead on the half-hour mark only for Omar Gordon’s lifted finish to be cleared off the line by Sheldon, while early in the second half Da Costa almost struck for the visitors as his low shot from the right side of the penalty area hit the left post. Da Costa forced a low save by Laurendi just before the hour-mark from 20 yards, and in the 64th minute OKC was reduced to 10 men as Je-Vaughn Watson was shown his second yellow card to give the Roughnecks a man advantage. Tulsa tried to take advantage, and Christian Altamirano had a shot with six minutes to go that was saved by Laurendi, but the Puerto Rico international saved arguably his best save for last as he kept out a close-range shot by Brayan Reyes in stoppage time to ensure a share of the points.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Rodrigo da Costa, Tulsa Roughnecks FC – Da Costa scored the equalizer and was consistently dangerous for the visitors, logging six shots and two key passes on the night.

 

SAN ANTONIO FC (2), SACRAMENTO REPUBLIC FC (3)

SAN ANTONIO – First-half goals by Stefano Bonomo and Cameron Iwasa led Republic FC to victory as San Antonio’s second-half rally at Toyota Field just came up short. Bonomo almost opened the scoring in the 11th minute only to be denied by a good save by SAFC goalkeeper Matt Cardone, but 10 minutes later the breakthrough arrived as the former Cal standout headed home a cross by Sam Werner into the right corner of the net. Bonomo almost added a second in the 26th minute as Cardone denied him again with a fingertip save, but 12 minutes before halftime Iwasa struck as he headed in a looping cross from the right by Drew Skundrich. Bonomo added a third for the visitors in the final minute of the half as he tapped home from close range on a low cross from Juan Barahona on the left, but Sacramento would need all its halftime lead as San Antonio fired back in the second half. Jack Barmby cut into the lead in the 51st minute with a low free kick that bent around the wall and into the bottom-left corner and five minutes later Brian Gomez had a low shot to the right corner saved by Sacramento goalkeeper Rafael Diaz. San Antonio forced another save from Diaz in the 67th minute as he kept out a chance for Ever Guzman and the pressure from the hosts continued throughout a second half as they finished the game with nine shots on target. A second goal didn’t arrive until deep in stoppage time, however, as Pecka fired a shot into the top-right corner to make it a one-goal game, and from there Sacramento saw out the win and a vital three points.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Stefano Bonomo, Sacramento Republic FC – Bonomo scored twice on four shots, including what proved to be the game-winner and won 13 of 23 duels in a hard-fought victory.

 

RIO GRANDE VALLEY FC (1), RENO 1868 FC (2)

EDINBURG, Texas – Reno took its seventh win in its last eight outings as it defeated the Toros at H-E-B Park. 1868 FC took the lead in the ninth minute as a corner kick from the left by Seth Casiple was headed home by Thomas Janjigian at the top of the six-yard area, but a minute later the Toros hit back as Andrés Arcila spun away from two defenders at the top of the penalty area to create space and then fired home a shot off the underside of the crossbar in the top-left corner and in. RGVFC threatened to take the lead in the 19th minute as a half-cleared corner fell to Kevin Rodriguez, whose finish to the left corner of the net was parried away by Reno goalkeeper Matt Bersano, but on the ensuing 1868 FC attack the visitors struck again as Aidan Apodaca finished off a cross by Corey Hertzog with a shot to the bottom-left corner. The Toros’ Michael Salazar had a header saved five minutes before halftime as the hosts looked to respond, and the Belize international also hit the right post with a header in the 65th minute. Casiple almost added a goal to his earlier assist with 13 minutes to go as he shot just wide of the right post, and then the Toros hit the woodwork again in the 83rd minute as Camilo Monroy hit the crossbar with a long-range shot. Despite their late pressure, however, the hosts were unable to find a late equalizer as 1868 FC claimed the victory on the road.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Thomas Janjigian, Reno 1868 FC – Janjigian scored the opening goal, made seven clearances and three interceptions and completed 54 of 65 passes in a good all-around showing.

 

SWOPE PARK RANGERS (0), NASHVILLE SC (2)

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Nashville completed a season-sweep of the Rangers with a victory at Children’s Mercy Park. Nashville would have taken the lead in the 23rd minute if not for a standout double-save by Swope Park goalkeeper Adrian Zendejas, who first denied Kharlton Belmar’s first-time finish off a free kick by Lebo Moloto before denying Daniel Rios on the rebound. Rios also had a golden opportunity in the 31st minute when Michael Reed won possession as Zendejas came out of his penalty area, but the Mexican forward sent his finish wide of an open net from 20 yards. Rios then rang the right upright with a turning shot seven minutes before halftime, but then in the 43rd minute Belmar ran onto a long ball forward on the left and picked out the trailing run of Moloto to the top of the penalty area, and the attacking midfielder fired a first-time shot into the bottom-right corner. Nashville doubled its lead two minutes into the second half as Moloto slid a pass to Rios inside the penalty area that allowed him to finish low to the right corner for his 14th goal of the season. Swope Park’s Will Little had a chance to answer in the 58th minute blocked by the Nashville defense, and that defensive stinginess marked most of the second half as NSC held its hosts without a shot on goal for the contest.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Lebo Moloto, Nashville SC – Moloto recorded a goal and assist to lead Nashville to victory against his former club while finishing the night with four key passes and three completed dribbles.

 

CHARLESTON BATTERY (0), TAMPA BAY ROWDIES (5)

CHARLESTON, S.C. – Lucky Mkosana struck twice early as the Rowdies cruised to victory against the Battery at MUSC Health Stadium. Mkosana struck twice in the opening four minutes, opening the scoring after just 31 seconds on a low finish from close range off a cross from the right by Zach Steinberger. The Zimbabwe international was then in the right place at the right time to clean up after Sebastian Guenzatti’s initial shot hit the right post and caromed back across the goalmouth to allow Mkosana to finish. Kwadwo Poku also went close for the visitors in the 29th minute, but five minutes later the Rowdies made it three as Malik Johnson’s in-swinging corner from the left was mishandled by Charleston goalkeeper Joe Kuzminsky and tucked just inside the right post. The Battery were then reduced to 10 men when Ataulla Guerra was sent off for a hard challenge that resulted in his second yellow card in the 42nd minute. The Rowdies added a fourth less than two minutes into the second half as Johnson’s low cross from the right found Steinberger alone for a first-time finish to the bottom-right corner, and Leo Fernandes hit the post in the 56th minute off a free kick before Steinberger fired the rebound chance high. Charleston’s Dante Marini sent a finish just over the crossbar seven minutes later, and forced a save from Rowdies goalkeeper Macklin Robinson with a low shot to the right corner with 19 minutes to go, but in the 82nd minute Jaime Siaj wrapped up the scoring for Tampa Bay as he finished from close range off Andrew Tinari’s delivery.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Lucky Mkosana, Tampa Bay Rowdies – Mkosana set the tone early with his pair of goals and completed 10 of 12 passes before departing just past the hour-mark.

 

NORTH CAROLINA FC (1), INDY ELEVEN (2)

CARY, N.C. – Indy grabbed a late victory as Ilija Ilic struck in the 87th minute to down North Carolina at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park. The Eleven had an early chance on a low shot from the left side by Tyler Pasher that NCFC goalkeeper Alex Tambakis denied with a low save, but the visitors took the lead in the 15th minute on a low, long-range shot by Matt Watson that picked out the bottom-left corner. Pasher almost doubled the lead for Indy in the 38th minute with a shot that flashed just over the crossbar from 25 yards, but North Carolina almost leveled a minute later only for Eleven goalkeeper Evan Newton to get down well at his right post to deny a shot from the edge of the penalty area by NCFC’s Yamikani Chester. The hosts came out more brightly to start the second half and Graham Smith had a close-range finish denied six minutes in by Newton. Donovan Ewolo went close in the 57th minute only for his header off a corner from the right to be tipped over the crossbar, while Indy threatened on a good counterattack that resulted in Ayoze’s shot being charged down by Aaron Guillen seven minutes later. North Carolina leveled in the 69th minute as Ewolo found Dre Fortune at the top of the penalty area, and he curled home a finish to the top-right corner of the net. Indy regained the lead with three minutes to go, however, as Ilic headed home from close range after a good build-up down the left released Tyler Gibson for a clipped cross to the top of the six-yard area. North Carolina almost found an equalizer in stoppage time as Ewolo steered a header high off a corner kick from the left, but Indy held on to take a big road victory.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Tyler Pasher, Indy Eleven – Pasher was dangerous throughout in the attacking half for the visitors, recording one assist, four shots and six key passes.

 

PITTSBURGH RIVERHOUNDS SC (4), MEMPHIS 901 FC (0)

PITTSBURGH – The Hounds swept to victory against 901 FC at Highmark Stadium, scoring twice in either half to earn a third consecutive victory. Pittsburgh almost struck in just the second minute when Anthony Velarde was unable to control a diving header off a cross from the left by Ryan James, and James himself went close in the 17th minute only to slide a finish wide of the left post after a slipped pass by Kenardo Forbes. Velarde went close again with a header in the 26th minute that was just turned wide by Memphis goalkeeper Jeff Caldwell, but from the ensuing corner Tobi Adewole headed home into the right corner off Forbes’ near-post delivery from the left. Pittburgh’s Thomas Vancaeyezeele had another chance smothered by Caldwell 10 minutes before halftime, while 901 FC’s Leston Paul pulled a shot wide of the right post from 25 yards. The Hounds’ Steevan Dos Santos then rang the crossbar in first-half stoppage time, but off the long rebound Pittsburgh made it a two-goal lead as Robbie Mertz’s shot from distance took a wicked deflection and looped high into the right corner of the net, giving Caldwell no chance. The Hounds added a third in the 64th minute as Forbes slid Jordan Dover into the right side of the penalty area for a lifted finish past the advancing goalkeeper, and Pittsburgh wrapped up all three points five minutes later as James’ low cross from the left found Dos Santos at the top of the six-yard area for a first-time finish.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Kenardo Forbes, Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC – Forbes pulled the strings in midfield throughout, recording two assists and seven key passes while completing 74 of 79 passes overall.

 

CHARLOTTE INDEPENDENCE (0), LOUISVILLE CITY FC (1)

MATHEWS, N.C. – Luke Spencer scored the only goal as LouCity took victory against the Independence in a game that saw both sides end the game with 10 men at the SportsPlex at Mathews. Neither side created many chances early, with Louisville’s Magnus Rasmussen digging out a shot in the 29th minute that was comfortably saved by Charlotte’s Curtis Anderson. The Independence almost took the lead in spectacular fashion three minutes later, however, as a volley from 12 yards by Abdoulie Mansally was met by an equally good save by LouCity goalkeeper Chris Hubbard. Louisville was reduced to 10 men on the hour-mark as Paco Craig was sent off, but the game evened up with 18 minutes to go as Charlotte’s Alex Martinez was also dismissed for a pair of swift yellow cards. Louisville almost went ahead with 13 minutes to go when Spencer was unable to control his header off a cross by Oscar Jimenez, but in the 80th minute Spencer made no mistake as he fired home low to the right corner from the center of the penalty area off a pass by Rasmussen to put the visitors on top. The Independence had a late chance to equalize as Enzo Martinez fired a low shot to the left corner that was saved by Hubbard, but that would be all as LouCity earned all three points.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Luke Spencer, Louisville City FC – Spencer came off the bench to score a crucial goal for the visitors to bolster their place in the Eastern Conference playoff positions.

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