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Gameday Report: August 30, Week 26

By USLChampionship.com Staff, 08/30/19, 11:35PM EDT

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Hounds hand Fury FC heaviest home loss; Tacoma takes biggest win of season over San Antonio

Ottawa Fury FC suffered its heaviest home defeat in USL Championship play as a two-goal, one-assist performance from Neco Brett led Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC to a 4-0 victory over the Canadian side on Friday night at TD Place. Elsewhere in the Eastern Conference, Louisville City FC and Indy Eleven saw their winning streaks come to an end after playing out a 1-1 tie in the Louisville Indianapolis Proximity Association Football Contest, while the Charlotte Independence and Charleston Battery settled for a scoreless draw in the latest Southern Derby.

In the Western Conference, Real Monarchs SLC and OKC Energy FC failed to separate themselves from the pack in the chase for fourth place as they played out an entertaining 2-2 draw at Zions Bank Stadium, while Tacoma Defiance earned its biggest win of the season with a 5-1 victory over San Antonio FC at Cheney Stadium.

Real Monarchs SLC (2) v OKC Energy FC (2)

HERRIMAN, Utah. – Energy FC overcame two separate deficits to earn a point against the Monarchs at Zions Bank Stadium. The hosts started strong and worked their first quality chance in the 14th minute when Julian Vázquez’s left-wing cross reached Maikel Chang, but the winger’s leaping header was guided over the crossbar by Cody Laurendi. The OKC goalkeeper made a fantastic reflex save at his near post to deny Douglas Martinez’s shot in the 40th minute, doing well to also punch the rebound clear before an attacker could follow up. James Moberg tested Laurendi with a low right-footed drive from the right side of the box three minutes later, but the Monarchs’ pressure late in the first half finally produced the opening goal in stoppage time when Moberg won the initial header from Jack Blake’s left-wing cross and Konrad Plewa produced an acrobatic overhead kick to direct the looping ball beyond the reach of Laurendi. Energy FC found its equalizer seven minutes after the break when Rafael Garcia’s left-wing free kick delivery found its way through traffic in the box and past Real goalkeeper David Ochoa. The Monarchs nearly regained the lead with 15 minutes remaining when Martinez ran onto a long ball over the top but couldn’t direct his lob attempt over an onrushing Laurendi. The Real forward found the back of the net just three minutes later though, powering home a first-time finish from in close after latching onto Chang’s inch-perfect cross. The lead would last just two minutes as OKC responded through Deshorn Brown, who arrived at the back post to head home Alvin Jones’ right-wing cross off and earn his side a vital point.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Maikel Chang, Real Monarchs SLC – Chang recorded an assist, made five key passes and completed 88 percent of his passes overall to spearhead the Monarchs’ attack in its draw with Energy FC.

Tacoma Defiance (5) v San Antonio FC (1)

TACOMA, Wash. – The Defiance recorded their biggest victory of the season over San Antonio at Cheney Stadium. The visitors had their first sight of goal in the third minute when Kai Greene got on the end of Jack Barmby’s free kick from just outside the center circle, but Tacoma goalkeeper Bryan Meredith stood tall at his near post to keep out the defender’s first-time shot. The Defiance opened the scoring 14 minutes later when Shandon Hopeau picked the pocket of Ebenezer Ackon on the right wing and dribbled into to box before cutting the ball back for Justin Dhillon, who made no mistake with a right-footed finish past SAFC goalkeeper Matt Cardone. Tacoma doubled its lead just before the half-hour mark on a swift counterattack as Daniel Robles won an initial header inside his own half to send Hopeau charging forward and then followed the play with a lung-busting run into the box where he received the return pass and slotted home past Cardone. Both sides should have scored within 15 minutes of the second-half restart as Hopeau and SAFC’s Brian Gomez wasted similar opportunities with left-footed shots just off frame from inside the box. San Antonio saw another good opportunity go begging in the 66th minute when Meredith denied Billy Forbes from close range and Walter Restrepo’s rebound effort was cleared off the line. Tacoma added a third goal from the penalty spot with 15 minutes remaining as Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez sent Cardone the wrong way after Moisés Hernández was whistled for a hand ball. The Defiance extended their lead to four in the 80th minute as Nicholas Hinds played a splitting pass to Ethan Dobbelaere, who curled a right-footed effort around Cardone from the left side of the box. San Antonio ended the shutout in the 88th minute when Joshua Yaro headed home Barmby’s corner kick, but Dhillon curled a 20-yard strike beyond Cardone two minutes later to restore the four-goal advantage and round out the rout.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Shandon Hopeau, Tacoma Defiance – Hopeau recorded two assists, four key passes and four recoveries while also completing 3 of 5 dribbles and winning 9 of 15 duels to help Tacoma to its biggest victory of the season.

Louisville City FC (1) v Indy Eleven (1)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Louisville battled back from a goal down to earn a point against the Eleven at Slugger Field. Indy’s Ilija Ilic nearly found the net against his former club in the 12th minute, taking a feed from Drew Conner just outside the penalty area and curling a low right-footed shot that forced Louisville goalkeeper Chris Hubbard into a smart early save. Five minutes later, Hubbard’s opposite number Evan Newton was called into action when Niall McCabe played Antoine Hoppenot in on goal with a lovely through ball, but the Eleven goalkeeper came off his line quickly to shut down the chance. The visitors would go on to take the lead two minutes before halftime as Ilic sprayed a pass to the left wing that LouCity defender Pat McMahon misjudged, allowing Tyler Pasher to race in on goal and coolly find the bottom-right corner with the outside of his left boot. The hosts found their equalizer with 20 minutes remaining but had to work hard to get it as a right-wing free kick led to a chaotic sequence in the box with Newton failing to claim an initial lofted ball and then saving a close-range header off a second attempt before Abdou Thiam headed the rebound home from five yards out.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Tyler Pasher, Indy Eleven – Pasher scored his 10th goal of the season, completed 81 percent of his passes won 6 of 12 duels and completed 4 of 7 dribbles to help Indy earn a point in Louisville.

Charlotte Independence (0) v Charleston Battery (0)

MATTHEWS, N.C. – The Independence and Battery shared a point in a scoreless Southern Derby matchup at the Sportsplex at Matthews. The visitors had the first quality chance of the evening after a quarter of an hour as Zeiko Lewis found a pocket of space on the left side of the penalty area to receive Jarad van Schaik’s pass and fire a left-footed effort on frame, but Charlotte goalkeeper Brandon Miller was strong at his near post. The Independence grew into the first half from there with Valentin Sabella causing some problems down the left flank and forcing a pair of saves from Battery goalkeeper Joe Kuzminsky. After a slow start to the second half, the Battery started to push on for a winner with Angelo Kelly-Rosales firing a right-footed shot from the left side of the area that needed a touch from Miller to go wide in the 77th minute. Charleston had the ball in the back of the net through Arthur Bosua just three minutes later, but the forward was ruled to be in an offside position when he received Kotaro Higashi’s through ball. Miller made another strong save on Dante Marini with four minutes remaining as the Independence held on for a point.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Jarad van Schaik, Charleston Battery – The Charleston defender recorded three key passes, won 6 of 9 duels and made eight recoveries and five interceptions to help the Battery keep a clean sheet in Charlotte.

Ottawa Fury FC (0) v Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC (4)

OTTAWA – A pair of goals from Neco Brett led the Hounds to a huge win over Fury FC at TD Place. The visitors got off to the perfect start inside of two minutes when Ottawa center back Dakota Barnathan turned the ball over deep inside his own half and Pittsburgh took advantage with a quick counter attack that saw Brett slide a pass to Steevan Dos Santos, who beat Callum Irving with a well-placed shot to open the scoring against his former club. The two combined to find the back of the  net again just nine minutes later as Dos Santos won the initial header off a long ball from Pittsburgh goalkeeper Kyle Morton and Brett settled it perfectly before beating his defender and firing a right-footed shot past Callum Irving into the bottom left-corner. The Hounds made it three on 34 minutes when Ryan James intercepted a pass on the left wing and played a chipped through ball to Dos Santos, who played another perfectly lofted pass across the six-yard box for Brett to crash home from close range. Irving made a strong save on Joe Greenspan from in close to keep the deficit at three with 13 minutes remaining, but Pittsburgh found its fourth in sensational fashion as Fury FC substitute Aidan Daniels left the ball behind just inside his own half and Sammy Kahsai picked it up and lobbed the Ottawa goalkeeper from the edge of the center circle to round out a resounding win.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Neco Brett, Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC – Brett scored a pair of first-half goals, added an assist on another and made six recoveries to help the Hounds to a 4-0 road victory over Ottawa.

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