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Gameday Report: September 11, Week 28

By USLChampionship.com, 09/11/19, 9:03PM EDT

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Phoenix’s winning streak continues in Las Vegas; Ayoze strikes twice as Indy defeats Ottawa

Phoenix Rising FC earned its 19th consecutive victory to move one step closer to the Championship’s regular season title, while Indy Eleven set a new club record with its 22nd consecutive game without defeat at home as it defeated Ottawa Fury FC and Sacramento Republic FC leapfrogged Austin Bold FC after taking victory in Texas during Wednesday night’s action in the USL Championship.

LAS VEGAS LIGHTS FC (0), PHOENIX RISING FC (1)

LAS VEGAS – Adam Jahn’s 15th goal of the season just past the hour-mark earned Rising FC its 19th consecutive victory as it defeated Lights FC at Cashman Field. Las Vegas had the first real look on goal in the eighth minute when Irvin Parra curled a shot from 20 yards just wide of the left post, and four minutes later Phoenix’s Kevon Lambert sent a bicycle kick just high off a cross by Austin Ledbetter from the right. James Musa also went close for the visitors with a first-time shot from 25 yards that flew just high and wide of the top-right corner in the 20th minute, but the first effort to test either goalkeeper didn’t arrive until the 33rd minute when Ferrety Sousa’s curling finish for the hosts was comfortably saved by Phoenix goalkeeper Carl Woszczynski. Rising FC almost took the lead ninth minutes into the second half when Junior Flemmings – introduced at the break – sent a low finish to the right corner from the left side of the penalty area that Lights FC goalkeeper Thomas Olsen just turned wide of the post, and on the hour-mark Las Vegas had a close-range chance that Preston Tabor Etaka sent straight at Woszczynski. In the 62nd minute, however, the breakthrough arrived for Rising FC as Jahn seized on a mishit clearance of a cross from the right by Flemmings and sent a first-time finish into the left corner of the net. Phoenix limited Las Vegas’ chances to find an equalizer over the final half-hour, but one final chance presented itself for the hosts in stoppage time off a free kick from 30 yards, only for Tabor Etaka’s free kick to the top-left corner to be kept out by Woszczynski. Less than a minute later, the final whistle blew, and Phoenix’s winning streak continued.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Austin Ledbetter, Phoenix Rising FC – Ledbetter put in a strong shift down the left side, completing 48 of 53 passes, two key passes and winning 6 of 8 duels to help his side earn a shutout victory on the road.

AUSTIN BOLD FC (1), SACRAMENTO REPUBLIC FC (2)

AUSTIN, Texas – Republic FC got first-half goals by Thomas Enevoldsen and Dariusz Formella to defeat Bold FC on its home turf for a key victory in the race for a top-four finish in the Western Conference. Austin threatened inside the opening minute as Ema Twumasi found space on the right side and uncorked a low shot that Republic FC goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth got down well to save. Sacramento’s first serious look arrived in the 12th minute when Mitchel Taintor was denied by Bold FC goalkeeper Diego Restrepo after the visitors recycled a half-cleared corner kick, but 11 minutes later the visitors took the lead as Cameron Iwasa slid in Enevoldsen for a low, first-time finish to the right corner after Drew Skundrich had begun the move with a good angled ball forward. Republic FC doubled its lead in the 31st minute as Formella scored his first goal for the club from point-blank range after Jordan McCrary’s low cross from the right found him all alone in front, but Austin hit back two minutes later when Kleber headed home from eight yards after a good cross from the right by Sean McFarlane. The hosts then almost leveled in first-half stoppage time as Twumasi’s low shot was parried away by Shuttleworth, while Kleber curled a shot just wide of the right post as he looked for his second goal of the night just before the hour-mark. The hosts again went close seven minutes later when Andre Luiz’s shot from the left side of the penalty area was blocked behind for a corner on a big effort by Republic FC defender Matt Mahoney. Sacramento held firm defensively, and almost got an insurance goal early in second-half stoppage time when Enevoldsen forced a diving save by Restrepo at his near post from the right side of the penalty area. The final efforts for an equalizer by Bold FC came up short, though, allowing Republic FC to complete a season sweep of the series.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Jordan McCrary, Sacramento Republic FC – McCrary recorded one assist, created two chances and completed 23 of 26 passes overall while winning two tackles and making four clearances defensively.

SWOPE PARK RANGERS (0), CHARLESTON BATTERY (0)

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Both sides hit the woodwork, but couldn’t find the net, as the Battery missed out on a chance to move above the playoff line in a scoreless draw at Children’s Mercy Park. The Rangers almost went ahead in the second minute as Wilson Harris flashed a header just wide of the right post after a good delivery by Alexsander Andrade. Charleston’s first good look arrived in the 16th minute as Kotaro Higashi created space on the left side of the penalty area but saw his low shot to the far corner snuffed out by SPR goalkeeper Eric Dick, while Swope Park’s Felipe Hernandez rattled the outside of the left post with a volley after a cross from the left fell to him for a first-time chance on the half-hour mark. Swope Park went close again four minutes into the second half when Wan Kuzain played Harris into the penalty area only for Kuzminsky to stand up well to the finish and keep the game scoreless, while the Battery’s Romario Piggott forced a one-handed save by Dick at the other end with a low shot to the left corner in the 55th minute. Eight minutes later Dick was called into action again as he turned aside a near-post finish by Charleston’s Ian Svantesson from the left side of the penalty area,  and Angelo Kelly also forced a low save with a shot from the top of the area that was headed to the bottom-left corner before Dick’s denial. Swope Park had a chance with just over 10 minutes to go as Kuzain fired a free kick from 25 yards that was punched away by Kuzminsky, and Battery defender Leland Archer made a last-ditch block to keep out Kuzain at the top of the six-yard area to keep the game scoreless in the 84th minute. The Battery then hit the woodwork as Vincent Candela hit the right post after forcing a turnover in Swope Park’s end, but when Arthur Bosua was kept out by a low save from Dick with the final chance of the night in stoppage time, the game ended scoreless.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Leland Archer, Charleston Battery – Archer made a crucial late block, won 5 of 5 duels and 3 of 3 aerials while recording two tackles as the Battery earned a point on the road.

INDY ELEVEN (2), OTTAWA FURY FC (0)

INDIANAPOLIS – Goals in either half by Ayoze earned Indy victory against Fury FC as the hosts remained undefeated at home this season at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Eleven took the lead in the sixth minute on a long-range finish by Ayoze, whose shot took a slight deflection on its way to finding the left corner of the net from 30 yards. The hosts threatened again a few minutes later off a set piece that saw Tyler Pasher’s finish deflect off the defensive wall and off target, while Ottawa’s Hadji Barry forced a save from Indy goalkeeper Evan Newton in the first real chance for the visitors in the 13th minute. The teams reached the break with the Eleven still in front, but 10 minutes into the second half Ayoze doubled Indy’s lead as he angled home a finish to the top-right corner from 15 yards out after Drew Conner laid a pass back from the left side of the penalty area. The Eleven almost made it three with 19 minutes to go as a corner kick by Ayoze was headed onto the left post by Ilija Ilic, while Fury FC goalkeeper Callum Irving reacted quickly to keep out a potential own goal after a low cross from the right by Indy’s Matt Watson was redirected on goal by Charlie Ward. The visitors threatened again through Barry in the 78th minute as the Guinean forward created an opening but shot just wide of the right post, and Indy almost scored six minutes later when Karl Ouimette’s header was cleared off the line by Fury FC defender Thomas Meilleur-Giguère, but the Eleven’s two-goal advantage remained intact until the final whistle as they moved into a tie for first in the Eastern Conference.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Ayoze, Indy Eleven – The Spaniard scored twice, but also created six chances and completed 57 of 62 passes in a fine all-around display for the hosts.

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