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Gameday Report: August 16, Week 24

By USLChampionship.com Staff, 08/16/19, 9:30PM EDT

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Rising FC extends win streak to 14 games; Energy FC pick up road win over T2

To kick off Friday's action, ATL UTD 2 earned a hard fought win over Swope Park Rangers in Kennessaw, with ATL UTD 2 goalkeeper Brendan Moore earning the heroics with a penalty save that changed the game's momentum late on. A second half goal from forward Jackson Conway and an own goal from Rangers substitute Jacob Davis helped the hosts to their second win in three games.

Out west, Fresno FC and Real Monarchs SLC dueled to a 1-1 draw with the hosts jumping out to a first half lead through forward Jaime Chávez's diving header. The Monarchs responded in the 71st minute through their forward Douglas Martinez, and would hold onto the draw to earn a point. Elsewhere, Phoenix Rising FC extended their winning streak to a remarkable 14 games by knocking down fellow frontrunners Reno 1868 FC, 4-2, at Casino Arizona Field, and OKC Energy FC defeated Portland Timbers 2 by the same scoreline at Providence Park.

Portland Timbers 2 (2) v OKC Energy FC (4)

PORTLAND, Ore. – OKC Energy FC earned a big road victory over Portland Timbers 2, knocking off the hosts, 3-2, at Providence Park. T2 started off well with a goal in the fourth minute from midfielder Giovanni Calixtro, who smashed in a pass headed down from forward Foster Langsdorf to grab an early lead. After going down a second goal at the feet of Calixtro, though, the Foxes were able to respond in the 20th minute when midfielder Callum Ross curled a perfectly weighted pass into the box for forward Christian Eissele to latch onto and put home from close range. However, T2 re-established their lead in the 28th minute through Ryan Sierakowski, who put home a pass headed down by teammate Cristian Ojeda. After the break, momentum swung OKC’s way with goals in the 53rd and 56th minutes for Mekeil Williams and Eissele, and as T2 pushed to find a way back in, OKC found a fourth through the feet of Christian Ibeagha, the first time they have scored four goals this season.

USL Championship Man of the Match

Christian Eissele, OKC Energy FC – Eissele scored two goals and created an additional four chances to help Energy FC to their joint-biggest margin of victory this season.

Phoenix Rising FC (4) v Reno 1868 FC (2)

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Phoenix Rising FC extended their remarkable win streak to a new record 14 games with a 4-2 win over fellow Western Conference frontrunners Reno 1868 FC at Casino Arizona Field. The hosts stayed patient and earned their first goal in the 20th minute as forward Junior Flemmings curled a low effort past Reno goalkeeper Matt Bersano, a lead they would keep into halftime. The second half started differently for Reno as Daniel Musovski was able to pull one back in the 53rd minute, but a converted penalty from MVP candidate Solomon Asante just before the hour and a second quick strike from Mustapha Dumbuya allowed Phoenix to not only regain their lead but extend it. The visitors made things interesting for a moment when forward Corey Hertzog scored the team’s second goal in the 74th minute, but Asante’s second converted penalty in the 79th minute sealed the deal for Phoenix, who move nine points clear at the top.

USL Championship Man of the Match

Solomon Asante, Phoenix Rising FC – Asante once again showed why he’s a class above with two goals from the spot while creating an additional chance and completing over 87 percent of his passes in the win.

Fresno FC (1) v Real Monarchs SLC (1)

FRESNO, Calif. – Fresno FC and Real Monarchs SLC drew 1-1 at Chukchansi Park, with the Monarchs coming from behind to secure the tying goal 20 minutes before full-time. Early chances for Jemal Johnson and Jaime Chávez could not be converted for the hosts, but then they quite literally jumped out in front in the 38th minute as the forward Chávez produced a diving header off a cross from teammate Zach Ellis-Hayden to keep a lead they would hold through the halftime interval and more. Playing their way into the second half, the Monarchs were able to claw one back in the 71st minute when forward Douglas Martinez rushed to meet a Maikel Chang cross, beating Fresno goalkeeper C.J. Cochran to find an equalizer. The goal was the last quality chance for either side, but the result sees both sides extend their unbeaten streaks to three straight, also claiming two wins in that span.

USL Championship Man of the Match

Douglas Martinez, Real Monarchs SLC – Martinez’s biggest contribution was the tying goal to help seal the draw, but the forward also created two chances and won 9 of 16 duels. 

Atlanta United 2 (2) v Swope Park Rangers (1)

KENNESAW, Ga. – ATL UTD 2 earned their second victory in as many games with a 2-1 win over Swope Park Rangers on Friday night at Fifth Third Bank Stadium in Kennesaw. The win edges ATL UTD 2 closer to the playoff line, while Swope stays bottom after the loss. Scoreless through near the hour mark, the hosts were able to break the deadlock after 58 minutes when a move headed by midfielder Luiz Fernando led to a cross to the feet of forward Jackson Conway, who only had to touch it home past Swope goalkeeper John Pulskamp from a few yards out. Building on their lead, the hosts were able to add a second in the 74th minute off a set-piece that saw Swope substitute Jacob Davis head a chipped pass over the head of his goalkeeper and into the back of the net. The visitors would not go quietly, though, and had a golden opportunity from the penalty spot in the 82nd minute for a chance to pull one back. Stepping up, Swope’s Alexander Andrade had his penalty toward the bottom right corner of the goal saved by ATL UTD 2 goalkeeper Brendan Moore to keep them at bay. However, the visitors did well to create one more opportunity they would capitalize on when Davis played in fellow substitute Wilson Harris, who slotted home underneath Moore to pull one back. That would serve as the last quality action of the evening, though, and ATL UTD 2 were able to hold one for their third win since April 13.

USL Championship Man of the Match

Jackson Conway, Atlanta United 2 – Conway scored one goal off two shots in total, also completing 100 percent of his passes in a full 90 minutes of action.

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