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Gameday Report: September 13, Week 28

By USLChampionship.com, 09/13/19, 9:02PM EDT

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Blackwood lifts Saint Louis past Birmingham; Jorgensen, Stroud lead Red Bulls II to victory

Saint Louis FC took its fourth consecutive victory by defeating Birmingham Legion FC, while the New York Red Bulls II took another step closer to a fifth consecutive playoff berth by defeating the Charlotte Independence and Memphis 901 FC rallied past Loudoun United FC in Friday night’s action in the USL Championship.

BIRMINGHAM LEGION FC (0), SAINT LOUIS FC (2)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Tyler Blackwood notched a pair of goals as Saint Louis broke Legion FC’s nine-game undefeated streak with a victory at BBVA Field. Saint Louis carved out the first good chance in the 26th minute when a quick passing move opened up space for a first-time shot by Blackwood to the top-left corner that was palmed away by Legion FC goalkeeper Matt Van Oekel. Six minutes later Legion FC’s Daniel Johnson flashed a shot just wide of the left post from distance, while Blackwood had a header parried wide by Van Oekel in the 41st minute. From the ensuing corner, however, Blackwood struck with a volleyed finish off Lewis Hilton’s delivery from the right side to the back post as the visitors took a halftime lead. Blackwood had a big chance to double the lead eight minutes into the second half on a counterattack but skied his finish after a good lead pass by Kyle Greig, but in the 72nd minute he added his second of the night as Hilton turned over possession in the Birmingham half and allowed Russell Cicerone to find Greig in the left side of the penalty area. Greig’s pass to his right found the onrushing Blackwood for a first-time finish. Legion FC had a late chance to pull a goal back on a deep free kick from the left by Kyle Culbertson that was headed on target by Mathieu Laurent but turned away by STLFC goalkeeper Tomas Gomez, but the visitors held onto their shutout to move into ninth place in the Eastern Conference.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Tyler Blackwood, Saint Louis FC – Blackwood scored both goals and recorded six shots overall to lead Saint Louis to a big victory in its push to reach the postseason.

LOUDOUN UNITED FC (1), MEMPHIS 901 FC (2)

LEESBURG, Va. – Memphis rallied from an early deficit to take victory against Loudoun, which ended the game down to 10 men at Segra Field. United took the lead after just five minutes as a long ball forward by Nelson Martinez was misjudged by Memphis goalkeeper Jeff Caldwell, who came well off his line to try and clear but was beaten the to ball by Kyle Murphy, whose lifted finish 30 yards from goal bounced into the open net. The hosts went close again in the 19th minute when Gordon Wild’s shot from the left side of the penalty area to the far corner was corralled by Caldwell, while Memphis threatened an equalizer in the 28th minute when Dan Metzger’s blast from 20 yards after a half-cleared corner was parried by United goalkeeper Earl Edwards. 901 FC had another chance four minutes later as a free kick by Cam Lindley was saved low to his right by Edwards, while 10 minutes into the second half Brandon Allen sent a free header just wide of the right post. Loudoun was then reduced to 10 men in the 58th minute when Nelson Martinez received his second caution of the night and five minutes later Memphis drew level as a low cross by Elliot Collier from the right deflected off United defender Harri Hawkins and into the net. Memphis threatened again in the 78th minute as Pierre Da Silva drove a low finish that Edwards got down well to save, but with nine minutes to go the visitors took the lead as Lagos Kunga got to the byline on the right and cut back a cross that Allen finished at the near post. United’s Antonio Bustamante tried to pull the hosts back level with a long-range what that Caldwell saved comfortably with five minutes to go, but Memphis saw out the remaining minutes to hold on for all three points.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Brandon Allen, Memphis 901 FC – Allen scored the late winner for the visitors and had two shots and one chance created on the night to earn his side victory.

NEW YORK RED BULLS II (2), CHARLOTTE INDEPENDENCE (0)

MONTCLAIR, N.J. – Jared Stroud notched a goal and assist as the Red Bulls II took a three-point lead at the top of the Eastern Conference with victory against the Independence at MSU Soccer Park. The Red Bulls II had the first big chance of the game in the 13th minute when Stroud had a shot denied by Independence goalkeeper Brandon Milller, but two minutes later a Charlotte turnover in midfield allowed Chris Lema to set up Mathias Jorgensen for a breakaway finish and the Dane’s ninth goal of the season. Charlotte’s first chance came in the 27th minute when Jorge Herrera’s shot from 20 yards was easily saved by New York goalkeeper Evan Louro, but the Independence had a late chance in the first half on a header by Vincent Sabella that Louro got across to handle as it approached the left corner. Charlotte almost leveled just after halftime as Herrera was played into space after a turnover, but Louro came off his line quickly to turn wide the Colombian’s low effort, while Jorgensen tried to add his second of the night just before the hour-mark only for Miller to get down and save on a shot to the left corner. The Independence almost found an equalizer with 21 minutes to go as a deep cross from then right fell to Brendan McDonough, but the defender wasn’t quite able to turn his finish on target from the left side of the six-yard area. Stroud then went close to doubling the Red Bulls II’s lead with a low shot from 20 yards that Miller parried, while Jorgensen forced Miller to turn a volley over the crossbar after a clever through-ball by Lema, but with seven minutes to go Stroud produced the insurance goal for the hosts with a beautiful shot from 25 yards that picked out the top-right corner of the net and sealed the victory.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Jared Stroud, New York Red Bulls II – Stroud had a goal and assist and became the first player in Red Bulls II history to reach 20 goals and 20 assists for the club.

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