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Gameday Report: August 31, Week 26

By Staff, 09/01/19, 12:19AM EDT


Nashville leapfrogs Rowdies into second place; Rising FC runs past Switchbacks for 17th straight win

A late goal from Kharlton Belmar helped Nashville SC leapfrog the Tampa Bay Rowdies into second place in the Eastern Conference standings with a 2-1 victory on Saturday night at Al Lang Stadium. Elsewhere in the East, Loudoun United FC earned its first ever victory at Segra Field, defeating North Carolina FC 4-0. 

In the West, Phoenix Rising FC extended its record winning streak to 17 games with a 3-0 victory over Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC at Weidner Field, while a stunning bicycle kick from Rodrigo da Costa helped Tulsa Roughnecks FC earn a 2-1 victory over Fresno FC for its first win since April 24. Elsewhere, the LA Galaxy II and Portland Timbers 2 earned important victories to move back into the playoff places.

Reno 1868 FC (1) v Portland Timbers 2 (3)

RENO, Nev. – The Timbers 2 earned their first ever win over 1868 FC with a strong road performance at Greater Nevada Field. The visitors had the better of the chances throughout the first half, with Zachary Kobayashi forcing a good low save out of Reno goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski with a left-footed effort from just outside the box in the 25th minute. Portland would go on to take the lead moments later as Marcinkowski couldn’t control the rebound from Carlos Anguiano’s initial effort and Ryan Sierakowski swooped in to slot home from close range. Anguiano got his name on the scoresheet three minutes before the break, taking Giovanni Calixtro’s pass at the top of the box, working the ball onto his left foot and curling a lovely strike beyond the reach of Marcinkowski to double the lead. Reno nearly responded within minutes as Daniel Musovski connected sweetly with a turning shot from the top of the box, but T2 goalkeeper Aljaz Ivacic produced an acrobatic stop to parry the ball behind to safety. Reno came close again in the 50th minute when Lindo Mfeka struck the crossbar with a powerful shot, but Portland went the other way and scored moments later as Cristian Ojeda picked out the top-left corner with a sensational curling strike from nearly 25 yards out that left Marcinkowski with no chance. Anguiano made a sensational goal line clearance on the hour-mark to prevent himself from scoring an unfortunate own goal as he tracked back to break up a Reno attack, but Reno finally found a goal in the 82nd minute as Corey Hertzog produced an acrobatic sliding finish to Duke Lacroix’s lofted square pass. However, Hertzog’s strike proved to be nothing more than consolation as Portland comfortably saw the game out over the final 10 minutes. Man of the Match

Carlos Anguiano, Portland Timbers 2 – Anguiano recorded a goal and an assist, made four key passes and completed 87 percent of his passes overall to help T2 to a vital road victory over Reno.

LA Galaxy II (1) v Sacramento Republic FC (0)

CARSON, Calif. – The Galaxy II extended their unbeaten run to three games with a win over California rival Republic FC at Dignity Health Sports Park. The home side nearly took the lead in the 13th minute when Geoffrey Acheampong fired Mohammed Kamara’s cutback towards the top-left corner, but it was headed off the line by Sacramento defender Jordan McCrary. The Galaxy II needed just eight more minutes to open the scoring however, as Omar Ontiveros played a neat give-and-go with Emil Cuello before firing the return pass beyond the reach of Republic FC goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth. Sacramento started to press forward shortly after halftime as Thomas Enevoldsen tested Eric Lopez with a rising shot from outside the box and the Los Dos goalkeeper did well to corral Cameron Iwasa’s follow-up effort. Shuttleworth did well to keep the deficit at one in the 54th minute, reaching back to keep out a looping header from Augustine Williams after the forward reached Cuello’s cross. The Galaxy II nearly doubled their lead with nine minutes remaining as Armel-Don Tchilao struck the crossbar with a powerful right-footed shot, but LA wouldn’t need any insurance as it saw out the final few minutes for all three points. Man of the Match

Emil Cuello, LA Galaxy II – Cuello assisted on the game’s only goal, made four key passes and six recoveries while winning 7 of 12 duels to help LA move up to seventh place in the Western Conference.

Tulsa Roughnecks FC (2) v Fresno FC (1)

TULSA, Okla. – The Roughnecks defeated the Foxes at ONEOK Field for their first win since April 24. The hosts got off to a dazzling start as Marlon headed Matt Sheldon’s long throw-in onto Rodrigo da Costa, who chested the ball to himself before producing a sensational left-footed bicycle kick that beat CJ Cochran into the bottom-left corner just five minutes into the contest. Fresno looked to respond quickly as Qudus Lawal got behind the Tulsa defense nine minutes later, but Roughnecks goalkeeper Sean Lewis came out quickly and forced Lawal to push his shot wide of the target. The Foxes found their equalizer just before the half-hour mark as a free kick was taken short to Zachary Ellis-Hayden, who delivered a teasing cross to the back post for Jaime Chavez to head home from close range. The Roughnecks regained the lead less than 30 seconds in the second half as Marlon met da Costa’s through ball just before an onrushing Cochran, allowing the midfielder to finish into an empty net. Fresno had a golden opportunity to equalize from the penalty spot with five minutes remaining, but Jackson blazed his attempt over from 12 yards after being taken down in the box by Tulsa midfielder Brayan Reyes and the Roughnecks held on late for all three points. Man of the Match

Marlon, Tulsa Roughnecks FC – Marlon scored the game-winning goal, added an assist, won 14 of 21 duels and completed all five of his dribbles to help Tulsa earn its first win in over four months.

Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC (0) v Phoenix Rising FC (3)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Rising FC extended its winning streak to 17 games with a road victory over the Switchbacks. The visitors signaled their attacking intent early as Jon Bakero got through on goal four minutes into play, but his low shot was saved by Colorado Springs goalkeeper Andre Rawls. Phoenix took the lead just moments later though, as Jose Aguinaga capitalized off a little bit of luck as his attempted pass was put right back into his path by Jordan Burt and he was able to slot a right-footed shot past Rawls into the bottom-right corner. Rising FC doubled its advantage in the eighth minute through Solomon Asante, who ran beyond the Switchbacks defense and converted his right-footed shot for his league-leading 20th goal of the season. Phoenix grabbed its third goal just before the half-hour mark as Asante’s flick found Adam Jahn at the edge of the area and the forward fired a rising right-footed shot past Rawls at his near post to add to the advantage. The Switchbacks came close twice to getting a goal back before the break with Austin Dewing heading just over Zac Lubin’s crossbar before Ish Jome flashed a left-footed drive wide of the target. Colorado Springs continued to push after the break and looked like they were going to get on the board in the 54th minute, but Rony Argueta’s shot past a stranded Lubin was rescued off the line by Phoenix defender Amadou Dia. Lubin made another strong save to deny Argueta on the hour-mark and was happy to watch Jome’s late free kick fly past the post as Rising FC held on for a shutout win. Man of the Match

Solomon Asante, Phoenix Rising FC – Asante scored his league-leading 20th goal of the season, added an assist and completed 91 percent of his passes to help Phoenix extend its record winning streak.

Tampa Bay Rowdies (1) v Nashville SC (2)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Nashville leapfrogged the Rowdies into second place in the Eastern Conference standings with a win at Al Lang Stadium. The hosts worked their best chance of the opening half in the 16th minute as Kwadwo Poku charged forward with the ball and his blocked pass fell at the feet of Andrew Tinari, who fired just wide of the target with a right-footed shot from the edge of the area. Nashville opened the scoring from a free kick two minutes before the break as Cameron Lancaster’s strike under the Tampa Bay wall was magnificently kept out by Rowdies goalkeeper John McCarthy, but Lebo Moloto reacted quickest to the rebound and slotted it home from close range. The Rowdies needed just four minutes of the second half to find their equalizer as Poku cut inside his defender and forced a save out of NSC goalkeeper Matt Pickens, who parried the rebound right into Sebastian Guenzatti for the forward to bundle over the line. The Rowdies continued to push for a second before the hour-mark but Pickens made a pair of strong stops to keep the game level, first deny Leo Fernandes’ left-footed effort from the left side of the box and then getting down low to keep out Juan Tejada’s first-time shot three minutes later. Nashville regained the lead with 11 minutes remaining through substitute Kharlton Belmar, who volleyed Bradley Bourgeois’ chipped through ball past McCarthy into the bottom-left corner. The Rowdies threw everything they could into a late rally but couldn’t find an equalizer as Pickens made a pair of strong sliding saves to deny Malik Johnson and Lucky Mkosana to preserve three points for the visitors. Man of the Match

Bradley Bourgeois, Nashville SC – Bourgeois recorded an assist, won 5 of 8 duels and made five clearances as well as five recoveries in Nashville’s massive road win over the Rowdies.

Loudoun United FC (4) v North Carolina FC (0)

LEESBURG, Va. – Loudoun earned its first victory at Segra Field with a thumping of North Carolina. The hosts opened the scoring just after the half-hour mark when Carlos Alvarez chased down a long ball on the right wing and tried to square it across the six-yard box, but NCFC defender Sam Brotherton deflected it into his own net. Loudoun doubled its advantage from a right-wing free kick in the 39th minute as Gordon Wild played a low cutback to the top of the box for Antonio Bustamante, who curled a spectacular right-footed shot into the top-right corner that gave goalkeeper Darrin MacLeod no chance. The home side continued to push forward after halftime as Elvis Amoh headed Connor Presley’s right-wing cross off the post in the 49th minute and Kyle Murphy added his side’s third goal nine minutes later, beating an onrushing MacLeod to Moses Nyeman’s dinked through ball and tucking it into the bottom-left corner. Loudoun found its fourth goal of the night in the 63rd minute as Amoh latched on Presley’s pass and raced behind the North Carolina defense before rounding MacLeod and finishing into an empty net. The visitors came close to getting a goal back with eight minutes remaining when Nazmi Albadawi played Yamakani Chester in on goal, but the substitute fired just wide from a narrow angle accurately summing up a frustrating night for the visitors. Man of the Match

Elvis Amoh, Loudoun United FC – Amoh scored a goal on six shots, won 11 of 16 duels and completed all three of his dribbles in a strong all-around performance to help Loudoun to victory.

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