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Gameday Report: August 17, Week 24

By USLChampionship.com Staff, 08/17/19, 11:24PM EDT

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Sacramento upends Colorado Springs; El Paso defeats Tacoma in emotional return home

Saturday night's 11-game slate kicked off with Nashville SC extending their unbeaten run to six games--five of those wins--as they defeated the Charlotte Independence at Sportsplex at Matthews. Forward Daniel Ríos edged closer to the top of the Golden Boot chart with a brace and midfielder Kharlton Belmar's goal just before the hour sealed the 3-1 win for the visitors. Elsewhere, North Carolina FC pushed Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC to the limit with a 5-0 win at WakeMed Soccer Park thanks in part to a pair of braces from midfielders Dre Fortune and Ulrich Ewolo. The win is NCFC's second straight and third in four games. 

In Charleston, Louisville City FC left it late but earned an important 2-1 win over the Battery with midfielder George Davis IV securing the winner in the 88th minute to bag all three points. Meanwhile, Ottawa Fury FC defeated Loudoun United FC, 3-1, in Leesburg with goals from Kévin Oliveira, Christiano Francois, and Carl Haworth. Rounding out the Eastern Conference action, Birmingham Legion FC extended their unbeaten streak to six games and their shutout streak to over 550 minutes with a 1-0 win over rivals Memphis 901 FC at BBVA Field.

Out west, Rio Grande Valley FC came back from a two-goal deficit to draw 2-2 with San Antonio FC despite being down a man for just shy of the final hour of the game. Goals in the 75th and 80th minute turned the game on its head and RGV FC staved off a late push from the hosts to hold onto the draw. In Austin, Bold FC beat Tulsa Roughnecks FC, 5-1, with a four-goal flurry in the first half putting the visitors to bed. Bold FC forward Kleber claimed a brace, while Ema Twumasic, Andre Lima, and Sonny Guadarrama all also chipped in to help earn the win. Elsewhere, El Paso Locomotive FC collected a 2-0 win over Tacoma Defiance in their first return to Southwest University Park since the tragic events on August 3rd. In Albuquerque, New Mexico United broke a club-record in attendance, welcoming 15,247 fans through the gates for a 2-2 draw with LA Galaxy II. Orange County SC rebounded well with a 3-0 win over Las Vegas Lights FC at Championship Soccer Stadium, with a burst of goals in the second half the difference maker. Midfielder Jerry van Ewijk put the hosts in front before goals from Aodhan Quinn and Michael Seaton sent Lights FC home packing. To round out Saturday, Sacramento Republic FC upended Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, 4-0, with recent acquisition Thomas Enevoldsen bagging a brace in the second half to help carry the weight. Jaime Villarreal opened the scoring in the first half before Enevoldsen scored twice in quick succession between the 57th and 60th minutes to firm up the scoreline. Captain Cameron Iwasa, who had already provided an assist on Enevoldsen's first, then finished things off with a goal of his own.

 

Sacramento Republic FC (4) v Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC (0)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sacramento Republic FC upended Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, 4-0, with new signing Thomas Enevoldsen bagging a second half brace to help see Republic FC extend their unbeaten run to four games. Republic FC midfielder Jaime Villarreal opened the scoring after 31 minutes when he took a pass from Keven Aleman and calmly slotted past Switchbacks FC goalkeeper Abe Rodriguez. Sacramento would carry the one-goal advantage into the second half, with the forward Enevoldsen getting hot around the hour mark. Acquired from Indy Eleven earlier in the week, Enevoldsen scored his first in the 57th minute when he was played in by teammate Cameron Iwasa before he curled a low effort past Rodriguez. Three minutes later, he doubled his tally when Rodriguez failed to properly clear his lines, leaving a nearly open opportunity for Enevoldsen to fire a shot from 25 yards out and in. Rounding out the evening, the hosts’ fourth goal came from Iwasa this time as he roofed an effort from just inside the 18-yard box after a layoff from Aleman played him through. The win is Republic FC’s biggest since the 6-0 victory over Tulsa on June 22.

USL Championship Man of the Match

Cameron Iwasa, Sacramento Republic FC – The captain Iwasa scored one, recorded an assist on another, and created three chances in 90 minutes to help the hosts see through Switchbacks FC. 

 

Orange County SC (3) v Las Vegas Lights FC (0)

IRVINE, Calif. – Orange County SC earned an emphatic 3-0 win over Las Vegas Lights FC at Championship Soccer Stadium on Saturday, with three second half goals separating the two sides. Scoreless through the opening hour-plus, OCSC eventually cracked the code when, in the 68th minute, midfielder Jerry van Ewijk curled a shot into the top right corner past goalkeeper Thomas Olsen. Eight minutes later, midfielder Aodhan Quinn’s effort from just outside the 18-yard box bounced past Olsen for the hosts’ second of the night. To cap off the performance, OCSC forward Michael Seaton ended off the night with a goal in the 86th minute to help lift his side back into the playoff race with a 3-0 win. 

USL Championship Man of the Match

Michael Seaton, Orange County SC – Seaton scored one and assisted on another while creating two chances and winning 3 of 6 duels in 90 minutes.

 

New Mexico United (2) v LA Galaxy II (2)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – New Mexico United and LA Galaxy II dueled to a thrilling 2-2 draw in front of a record-breaking 15,247 crowd at “The Lab” in Albuquerque. Galaxy II leapt to an early lead with a goal in the 9th minute through forward Mohammed Kesselly Kamara, who did well to flick the ball over his head and recover before blasting a shot past United goalkeeper Cody Mizell. LA’s lead would not last long though, with New Mexico capitalizing on a counter-attack led by forward Kevaughn Frater that would result in midfielder Santi Moar laying off a tap-in for teammate Chris Wehan on the break. LA’s difficulties continued in the 41st minute when midfielder Adam Saldana was shown a second yellow card and sent off after two bookings in the 16th minute, but the visitors held through halftime. New Mexico had an opportunity to go ahead in the 65th minute from the penalty spot, but Wehan could not convert from 12-yards out to keep the game open. Nine minutes later, it was Galaxy II’s turn to have a chance from the penalty spot, but forward Augustine Williams would convert his and put the visitors in front again. With one more twist in the match, New Mexico would immediately earn a second penalty in the aftermath of LA’s goal, this time converting through forward Kevaughn Frater to keep a point.

USL Championship Man of the Match

Kevaughn Frater, New Mexico United – Frater ignited New Mexico’s attack and scored one goal while creating three chances in 90 minutes of action.

 

El Paso Locomotive FC (2) v Tacoma Defiance (0)

EL PASO, Tx. – El Paso Locomotive FC defeated Tacoma Defiance, 2-0, on a night where the community was celebrated as much as the play on the field. Remembering the lives lost in the tragic events on August 3rd, Locomotive FC’s emotional return home was felt around Southwest University Park and Head Coach Mark Lowry’s team gave them plenty to cheer about. The hosts took the lead in the 32nd minute when midfielder Yuma Monsalvez picked out teammate Edson Partida at the back post, and Partida produced a spectacular acrobatic effort to beat Defiance goalkeeper Jamie Lowell. Holding the lead through halftime, Locomotive FC had to adjust as defender Chiró N’Koto was sent off for violent conduct leaving the hosts with 10 men for the remaining half hour. However, eight minutes later, El Paso was able to double their lead when forward Omar Salgado finished off a pass from Drew Beckie inside the 18-yard box following a set-piece to put the game to bed. 

USL Championship Man of the Match

Drew Beckie, El Paso Locomotive FC – Beckie was a force for El Paso, winning 7 of 7 duels, making five clearances, and completing just over 93 percent of his passes while also registering an assist.

 

Austin Bold FC (5) v Tulsa Roughnecks FC (1)

AUSTIN, Tx. – Austin Bold FC dismantled Tulsa Roughnecks FC, 5-1, at Bold Stadium after a four-goal flurry in the first half put the game out of reach for the visitors. Two goals in the opening ten minutes through midfielder Ema Twumasi and forward André Lima put the hosts in a great position, and forward Kleber would follow that act by converting two penalties in the 25th and 41st minutes to put his team up 4-0 before the break. Two minutes after Kleber’s second, though, Tulsa would get a lifeline of their own from the penalty spot with midfielder Cristhian Altamirano beating Bold FC goalkeeper Diego Restrepo for his team’s goal. Tulsa would not come up with enough in attack in the second half to trouble Austin, and the hosts would eventually get a fifth and final goal—again from the penalty spot—this time through substitute Sonny Guadarrama. 

USL Championship Man of the Match

Kleber, Austin Bold FC – Kleber converted both penalties he took for Austin while also tallying an assist and creating an additional chance in the win.

 

San Antonio FC (2) v Rio Grande Valley FC (2)

SAN ANTONIO, Tx. – Rio Grande Valley FC clawed back from a two-goal deficit to earn a 2-2 draw with San Antonio FC despite being down to 10-men for almost an hour of action. The hosts took the lead after 14 minutes when midfielder Jack Barmby hit a one-time effort on a Moises Hernández pass at the top of the box in impressive fashion. In the 31st minute, RGV FC’s Alejandro Fuenmayor was shown a straight red card to send the visitors down to 10 men, and things got worse for the visitors in the 44th minute when San Antonio FC’s Christian Parano produced a top-class goal to put the hosts two-up. However, the second half saw RGV FC fight back well and their momentum paid off when substitute Carlos Small pulled one back in the 75th minute, just six minutes after being inserted off the bench. Five minutes later, an own goal off San Antonio FC defender Ebenezer Ackon put the visitors level and they clung onto the result to earn a difficult point at Toyota Field. 

USL Championship Man of the Match

Robert Coronado, Rio Grande Valley FC – Coronado was at the heart of the RGV FC defense, producing five tackles, two clearances, and collecting five interceptions while completing just over 83 percent of his passes in 90 minutes. 

 

Birmingham Legion FC (1) v Memphis 901 FC (0)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Birmingham Legion FC kept the magic going in the “Magic City” with a late 1-0 win over rivals Memphis 901 FC after substitute Daniel Johnson netting the winner in the 90th minute. Memphis was the first side to ask a question of the other when loanee Marcus Epps’ header off a Marc Burch free kick in the 14th minute. Nine minutes later, Memphis midfielder Adam Najem tested Legion FC goalkeeper Matt Van Oekel again, forcing a good save following a dipping effort from distance. With neither team breaking the deadlock and things looking closer to a scoreless draw approaching stoppage time, Legion FC changed the tune as forward Brian Wright slipped in Johnson in the box, and he poked a close effort past Memphis goalkeeper Jeff Caldwell to put his team ahead. Not done yet, Epps would put Van Oekel under pressure once more with a low, curling effort to the far post just after the goal, but MVO was equal to the shot and held on to keep Birmingham’s incredible shutout streak alive. 

USL Championship Man of the Match

Matt Van Oekel, Birmingham Legion FC – Van Oekel made three vital saves and recorded one punch to help Legion FC continue their six-game unbeaten streak while extending the team’s shutout streak to over 550 minutes running.

 

Charleston Battery (1) v Louisville City FC (2)

CHARLESTON, S.C. – Louisville City FC stole three points at the death against the Charleston Battery in a 2-1 win, with midfielder George Davis IV delivering the winner in the 88th minute. The hosts first jumped out to a lead in the 7th minute when forward Ataulla Guerra chased down a long ball over the top from Jay Bolt, eventually beating City goalkeeper Chris Hubbard before poking home from close in. Just before the half-hour mark, Louisville scored their equalizer with midfielder Magnus Rasmussen stepping up to the penalty spot to beat Battery goalkeeper Joe Kuzminsky. A back-and-forth second half saw little created in the way of quality opportunities in part due to the conditions, but persistence paid off for Louisville when they took the lead through George Davis IV’s tally off a Luke Spencer pass in the 88th minute. The win is Louisville’s third straight as they look to push up the Eastern Conference standings.

USL Championship Man of the Match

Antoine Hoppenot, Louisville City FC – Hoppenot was influential in Louisville’s build up, creating three chances, registering one shot on target, and winning 5 of 7 duels in 84 minutes.

 

Loudoun United fC (1) v Ottawa Fury FC (3)

LEESBURG, Va. – Ottawa Fury FC defeated Loudoun United FC, 3-1, at Segra Field to pick up an important three points with visitors cushioning their place at 8th in the Eastern Conference standings. It was a tough start for Fury FC, though, with Loudoun United’s Gordon Wild scoring the fifth-fastest goal in Championship history after beating Ottawa goalkeeper Callum Irving. Clawing back, Ottawa found an equalizer through forward Kévin Oliveira in the 23rd minute and took the lead just seven minutes later when Oliveira turned scorer to provider by playing in teammate Christiano Francois who then powered an effort past Loudoun goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jr. from a few yards out. Keeping the lead into the second half, Fury FC put the final nail in the game’s coffin with captain Carl Haworth placing a perfect free kick off the underside of the bar and in from 20 yards out to score the team’s third. The win is Fury FC’s first since July 20 and pushes them six points clear in 8th place.

USL Championship Man of the Match

Christiano Francois, Ottawa Fury FC – Francois scored a goal and assisted on another while creating an additional two chances and winning 5 of 8 duels in 90 minutes.

 

North Carolina FC (5) v Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC (0)

CARY, N.C. – North Carolina FC dominated Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC at WakeMed Soccer Park, snapping the visitors’ six-game unbeaten streak and five-game win streak with a 5-0 win. The first half did not lack action as the two sides looked to break the deadlock, but the pivotal portion of the opening 45 minutes came when Riverhounds SC defender Thomas Vancaeyezeele was sent off just before the half for a foul in the penalty area, leaving NCFC midfielder Dre Fortune to step up and beat goalkeeper Kyle Morton from the spot. With a man advantage in the second half, the hosts poured on the attack and pushed Pittsburgh to its depths. Midfielder Ulrich Ewolo scored twice between the 50th and 57th minutes, both times from open play with the latter coming after his penalty was saved by Morton. Two minutes later, Fortune beat Morton again to secure his brace and put his team up four. Then, in the 74th minute, NCFC substitute Robert Kristo added NCFC’s fifth and final goal with Nazmi Albadawi chipping in the assist to cap off a powerful attacking display.

USL Championship Man of the Match

Dre Fortune, North Carolina FC – Fortune bagged a brace that included a converted penalty while also registering an assist on Ewolo’s first, creating two chances, and completed over 95 percent of his passes in a full 90 minutes.

 

Charlotte Independence (1) v Nashville SC (3)

MATTHEWS, N.C. – Nashville SC continued to roll their way through the month of August, defeating Charlotte Independence, 3-1, on the road to push the club’s unbeaten streak to six games in total with five of those being wins. The visitors jumped out to an early lead after seven minutes with forward Daniel Ríos upping his chances at the Golden Boot by beating Independence goalkeeper Andre Miller with a bulleted effort into the roof of the net from close range. Charlotte would find a way back in after 23 minutes when midfielder Enzo Martinez hit an effort on the first time asking from near the top of the 18-yard box that beat Nashville SC goalkeeper Matt Pickens to his right. Into the second half, Nashville’s quality shone through as Ríos scored a second in the 56th minute, this time from the penalty spot, and midfielder Kharlton Belmar added the team’s third just four minutes later with a low drive to the far post that snuck through the defense and in. The win helps Nashville keep the pressure on Eastern Conference leaders New York Red Bulls II, who have a two-point advantage with as many games played.

USL Championship Man of the Match

Daniel Ríos, Nashville SC – Ríos once again showed why he’s one of the most lethal forwards in the Championship, bagging a brace of six total shots and completing 84 percent of his passes in 85 minutes of action.

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