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Gameday Report: September 22, Week 29

By USLChampionship.com Staff, 09/22/19, 4:15PM EDT

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Rittmeyer's stoppage-time goal gives Battery Southern Derby crown; Kléber's hat trick boosts Bold FC in home finale

A 93rd-minute goal from Nico Rittmeyer saw the Charleston Battery clinch the Southern Derby in dramatic fashion with a 2-1 victory over rival North Carolina FC on Sunday afternoon at MUSC Health Stadium. Elsewhere, Hadji Barry netted a hat trick for Ottawa Fury FC to help the side move three points closer to a postseason berth with a 4-1 victory over Hartford Athletic at TD Place.

In the Western Conference, Kléber scored a hat trick to give Austin Bold FC's playoff chances a massive boost with a 4-1 home win over Las Vegas Lights FC, while Sacramento Republic FC and OKC Energy FC battled to a scoreless draw at Taft Stadium.

austin bold fc (4) v las vegas lights fc (1)

AUSTIN, Texas – Kléber scored a hat trick to help Bold FC defeat Lights FC in its final home game of the season. The hosts opened the scoring in the 21st minute with an impressive solo goal Kléber, who picked the ball up just inside the Las Vegas half and rode the challenge from a defender before firing a right-footed shot that took a deflection on its way into the top-right corner. Austin’s lead would last less than two minutes as Junior Sandoval played Ferrety Sousa clean through on goal and the winger made no mistake with his right-footed shot, picking out the bottom-left corner beyond the reach of Bold FC goalkeeper Diego Restrepo. Austin regained the lead just after the half-hour mark when Xavier Báez helped a quick throw-in into the box and Kléber expertly faked a right-footed shot and instead took a touch to settle the ball before slotting a left-footed effort beyond Lights FC goalkeeper Thomas Olsen for his second goal of the game. Sousa probably should’ve answered with his second tally of the night in the 42nd minute when Restrepo came off his line to claim a cross and didn’t get there, but the winger was unable to hit the target with the goalkeeper down and a pair of defenders in the Austin net. Bold FC opened up a two-goal lead six minutes after the break when Sean McFarlane tackled Las Vegas defender Bryan de la Fuente inside his own box and André Lima rifled the loose ball into the top-right corner from eight yards out. McFarlane and Kris Tyrpak came inches away from adding a fourth goal for Austin during a goalmouth scramble in the 87th minute but Kléber eventually put the icing on the cake four minutes later as he capped off his hat trick by heading McFarlane’s cross from the right side of the box beyond Olsen and into the top-left corner.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Kléber, Austin Bold FC – Kléber scored three goals on three shots, completed 80 percent of his passes and 3 of 4 dribbles while also winning 10 of 15 duels to help Bold FC take three points in its final regular-season home game.

okc energy fc (0) v sacramento republic fc (0)

OKLAHOMA CITY – Energy FC and Republic FC settled for a scoreless draw at Taft Stadium. The visitors were on the front foot early and often in the first half as Juan Barahona forced a diving save out of OKC goalkeeper Cody Laurendi with a dipping left-footed volley from distance to signal Sacramento’s intent in the sixth minute. Laurendi came up big again in the 20th minute, reacting quickly to parry a close-range header from Republic FC forward Thomas Enevoldsen over the crossbar. Enevoldsen tried his luck from well outside the box eight minutes later as he curled a right-footed shot towards the top-right corner but Laurendi was able to punch the effort to safety as the teams went to halftime scoreless. Republic FC came out of the break on the attack once again as Enevoldsen blazed another effort just over the crossbar from distance in the 57th minute and Laurendi made himself big at his near post to keep out Villyan Bijev’s left-footed effort from the left side the box six minutes later. Energy FC nearly connected on what would’ve been a sure goal with five minutes remaining as Deshorn Brown’s right-wing cross just evaded a sliding Christian Eissele and the two sides were forced to settle for a point apiece.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Cody Laurendi, OKC Energy FC – Laurendi stopped all seven of the shots that he faced to help Energy FC earn a clean sheet and a point against Republic FC on Sunday night.

charleston battery (2) v north carolina fc (1)

CHARLESTON, S.C. – A 93rd-minute goal from Nico Rittmeyer gave the Battery a much-needed win and clinched the Southern Derby in dramatic fashion over rival North Carolina. It took 44 minutes for either side to record a shot on target but it was worth the wait for the Battery as Tah Anunga scored a stunning solo goal just before the break, cutting inside one defender and overpowering another as he ran nearly 40 yards before curling a right-footed shot beyond the reach of NCFC goalkeeper Alex Tambakis. The visitors started the second half with an improved attacking impetus as Steven Miller raced through on goal in the 48th minute but Charleston goalkeeper Joe Kuzminsky came out quickly to narrow the angle and shut down the chance. North Carolina levelled the contest just a minute later, however, as DJ Taylor’s cutback from the right side of the box set up Nazmi Albadawi to side-foot home from the penalty spot. The Battery struck the woodwork on a pair of corner kicks after the hour-mark as Tambakis watched Taylor Mueller’s effort skim the outside of the right post in the 62nd minute before Rittmeyer hit the left post from a tight angle after latching onto Kyle Nelson’s headed pass. Rittmeyer helped Charleston finally break the deadlock in the 93rd minute as he headed Nelson’s right-wing cross past Tambakis at his near post to give Charleston a vital three points and Southern Derby bragging rights.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Tah Anunga, Charleston Battery – Anunga scored a sensational solo goal, completed 87 percent of his passes and won 4 of 6 duels while also making four recoveries to help Charleston to a 2-1 victory over North Carolina.

ottawa fury fc (4) v hartford athletic (1)

OTTAWA – A hat trick from Hadji Barry led Fury FC earn a comfortable victory over the Athletic at TD Place. The hosts took advantage of an early Hartford mistake as Kévin Oliveira pounced on a heavy touch from Athletic goalkeeper Cody Cropper, who then fouled the forward as he looked to finish into an empty net. Barry stepped up to take the resulting penalty kick, sending Cropper the wrong way to give Ottawa an early lead. Fury FC was awarded another penalty kick on 15 minutes as Oliveira was brought down again – this time by Hartford defender Logan Gdula – and Barry converted from 12 yards again for his second goal of the game. Ottawa extended its lead to three in the 18th minute when Christiano François scored a superb solo goal, turning inside Ray Lee on the right wing and creating enough room on the right side of the box to fire a shot beyond Cropper and into the bottom-left corner. The Hartford goalkeeper stood strong at his near post to keep Oliveira from getting in on the act just before halftime and added a stellar reaction stop to deny Dakota Barnathan’s header from a free kick five minutes after the break. The visitors got a goal back from a corner kick in the 65th minute as Ottawa goalkeeper Callum Irving came out to punch but failed to make contact with the ball, allowing José Angulo to side-foot Ryan Williams’ delivery into an empty net. Fury FC responded less than 90 seconds later as Oliveira played Barry clean through on the left side of the box and the forward finessed a right-footed shot around Cropper to cap off his hat trick and an emphatic win for the hosts.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Hadji Barry, Ottawa Fury FC – Barry scored his first hat trick for Fury FC on five shots while also recording three key passes and winning 3 of 6 duels in Ottawa’s 4-1 win over Hartford.

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