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Gameday Report: September 8, Week 27

By USLChampionship.com, 09/08/19, 7:00PM EDT

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OC, New Mexico collect wins over T2, OKC; 10-man Battery defeat Indy through Piggott

As part of three games on Sunday in the Championship, Orange County SC collected its fourth-straight league win win with a 2-1 victory over Portland Timbers 2 at Providence Park. Forwards Michael Seaton and Darwin Jones combined twice to cause trouble for Portland, with both players scoring one and assisting the other. T2 were able to pull one back near the hour mark as midfielder Giovanni Calixtro swept in a loose ball in front of goal, but a late save from Frederik Due on Cristian Ojeda's free kick kept all three points with Orange County. Then, 10-man Charleston Battery edged out the Indy Eleven in a 1-0 win thanks to a goal late in the first half from midfielder Romario Piggott. The visitors had a chance to break through twice in the first half through forward Dane Kelly, but Charleston instead took the lead through Piggott's goal after a well-executed counterattack. Indy continued to press on the other end but Battery goalkeeper Joe Kuzminsky made five vital saves to preserve the clean sheet and the win. Finally, New Mexico United wrapped up Sunday's action by winning their first league game since July 31 with a 3-1 victory over OKC Energy FC at Taft Stadium. Forward Devon Sandoval's brace in the opening 16 minutes lifted New Mexico initially, a goal in the 71st minute from midfielder Chris Wehan wrapped up the result, which leaves New Mexico just inside the playoff picture with the additional advantage of owning the tiebreak against Energy FC. 

okc energy fc (1) v new mexico united (3)

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Another heated battle in the Western Conference playoff race saw New Mexico United defeat OKC Energy FC, 3-1, at Taft Stadium behind a first-half brace from Devon Sandoval and a security goal from Chris Wehan just 20 minutes from full time. The visitors were on the case from the outset as forward Devon Sandoval scored the game’s first goal after just 11 minutes by producing an acrobatic effort off David Estrada’s pass headed down in the penalty area that beat Energy FC goalkeeper Cody Laurendi from close in. Five minutes later, things got worse for the visitors after OKC’s Mekeil Williams was whistled for a penalty that the forward Sandoval converted from 12 yards out to double the lead. New Mexico carried that two-goal advantage through halftime until OKC, in the 57th minute, was able to pull one back as Christian Eissele played an inch-perfect pass for Deshorn Brown to latch onto, leaving the forward plenty of work still to do as he slotted to the far post past United goalkeeper Cody Mizell. However, the visitors were able to restore their two-goal advantage for good in the 71st minute when substitute Daniel Bruce was able to show some pace on the right side before picking out Chris Wehan in the box, who curled a first-time effort to far post and in to seal the result. The win is New Mexico’s first since July 31.

USL Championship Man of the Match

Devon Sandoval, New Mexico United – A consistent feature in United’s success, Sandoval scored a brace and created an additional chance while winning 9 of 16 duels in total but 7 out of 10 in the air in 84 minutes of play.

CHARLESTON BATTERY (1) VS. INDY ELEVEN (0)

CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Charleston Battery lifted their playoff hopes again on Sunday night with a gritty 1-0 win over Indy Eleven at MUSC Health Stadium despite spending the majority of the second half down a man. Despite a pair of chances for Indy forward Dane Kelly in the first half, it was Battery midfielder Romario Piggott who opened the scoring in the 42nd minute when he helped finish off a counter attack, racing down the left side of the pitch before firing a shot that may have taken a deflection off an Indy defender but beat goalkeeper Evan Newton regardless. Keeping the lead through halftime, the complexion of the match changed for the hosts when defender Kyle Nelson was sent off on a second yellow card in the 57th minute to leave Charleston down a man for the final half hour. However, the Battery did well to recognize moments where they could move forward and nearly scored a second off a set-piece in the 70th minute that eventually saw Piggott roll an effort just wide of Newton’s far post. Charleston goalkeeper Joe Kuzminsky kept Indy away multiple times on Saturday, but perhaps most impressive was his save on a Eugene Starikov header in the 76th minute to keep a clean sheet.

USL Championship Man of the Match

Romario Piggott, Charleston Battery – Piggott’s goal was the difference maker for Charleston on Sunday night but the midfielder also created two chances and completed just over 84 percent of his passes as the Battery remained in playoff contention.

Portland timbers 2 (1) v orange county sc (2)

PORTLAND, Ore. – Orange County SC is taking home all three points from Providence Park after a 2-1 win against Portland Timbers 2 saw them extend their winning run to four straight games as the race to the playoffs continues in a packed Western Conference. The visitors jumped out the gate and created a dangerous opportunity after just 14 minutes when forward Michael Seaton directed an effort following a free kick into goal, but the offside flag went up on the far side to spare Timbers 2 a deficit. Instead, Seaton would have to wait until the 35th minute for his goal, opening the scoring after teammate Darwin Jones rolled a ball across goal for Seaton, who perfectly placed his effort off the far post and in. OC would carry that lead through halftime and nearly doubled it in the 52nd minute when Harry Forrester forced a solid save from T2 goalkeeper Jake Leeker at his near post. Portland would not be able to keep the visitors away for long, though, as Seaton and Jones combined yet again, this time Jones finishing off a pass from Seaton for the team’s second. However, five minutes later, T2 pulled one back through midfielder Giovanni Calixtro after a great save from OC’s Frederik Due on Cristian Ojeda saw the ball fall into Calixtro’s path for a close-range finish. Pushing for a late equalizer, T2 had another great opportunity in the 84th minute through a Cristian Ojeda free kick, but Due made a strong save to preserve his team’s lead and eventually see out the game.

USL Championship Man of the Match

Michael Seaton, Orange County SC – Seaton, who has scored five and tallied four assists since the end of July, was responsible for another goal and assist against Portland and also created an additional chance while completing over 85 percent of his passes in a near total 90 minutes.  

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