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USL eCup: Rocket League Edition – Matchday 5

By USLChampionship.com Staff, 04/07/20, 8:32PM EDT

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Phoenix claims overtime victories, joined by Philadelphia, Tucson, Birmingham in knockout stage

Four more teams took their places in the Round of 16 in the USL eCup: Rocket League Edition after Tuesday’s action, with Phoenix Rising FC and the Philadelphia Union II both advancing from Group 3, FC Tucson clinching its place handily in Group 7 and Birmingham Legion FC securing its place in the knockout stage from Group 8 on a day that saw the first overtime contests of the event.

Group 3

Team

Game 1

Game 2

Match

Phoenix Rising FC

4

3

2

Toronto FC II

3

2

0

Phoenix Rising FC’s Joey Farrell came through twice in overtime to secure passage to the Round of 16 with a hard-fought victory (4-3, 3-2) against Toronto FC II’s Kevin Silva. The win also set up a clash for first place on Thursday night with the Union II.

Game 1 opened cagily, with both sides waiting for a clear opening. The first arrived after 42 seconds, when Phoenix blasted home a long-range finish from inside its own half to take the lead. An aerial finish soon after doubled Rising FC’s lead, but Toronto quickly cut the deficit back to one off the ensuing faceoff. The teams then exchanged goals as Phoenix maintained its lead – and Farrell almost made it a two-goal edge with just under two minutes to play. With one final push, TFC II pulled level just as the clock struck 0:00 to send the game to overtime, but then disaster befell Silva, as after obliterating Phoenix with a challenge, he inadvertently redirected the ball into his own net to surrender the game.

The second game opened similarly to the first, and again it was Phoenix that got on top inside the opening minute on a perfectly executed counterattack after 52 seconds. Toronto needed a vital interception to keep it a one-goal game just inside two minutes in, but then Silva equalized as he beat Farrell to a high cross from the right to volley in from close range. TFC II then took its first lead of the match with 1:34 to play, squeezing a finish home in the right corner, but Rising FC hit back with 25 seconds to go to send the game to overtime. Farrell then booked his place in the Round of 16 with a fine save at one end that led to a low finish to the left corner of the net that just eluded Silva’s defensive effort and ended the game.

Team

Game 1

Game 2

Match

Philadelphia Union II

11

7

2

San Diego Loyal SC

0

1

0

The Philadelphia Union II’s Evan Slabicki proved too much for San Diego Loyal SC’s Elijah Martin, taking two comfortable victories (11-0, 7-1) to book his place in the knockout stage. Slabicki got out to a fast start in Game 1, racking up four goals in the opening 1:14 before cruising away to victory.

Martin kept Game 2 closer, pulling within two goals just inside two minutes to go, but San Diego wasn’t able to get any closer as the Union II advanced in impressive style.

Group 4

Team

Game 1

Game 2

Match

El Paso Locomotive

5

7

2

Rio Grande Valley FC

3

4

0

El Paso Locomotive FC’s Logan Ketterer gave himself a big chance to advance to the Round of 16 as he pegged back Rio Grande Valley FC’s Edson Ochoa with a pair of hard-fought victories (5-3, 7-4) to leave both with one win and one defeat going into the final day.

Despite conceding the opening goal, the Toros ran out to a 3-1 lead inside the opening two minutes of Game 1 as Ochoa showed off some impressive dribbling skills. From there, though, Ketterer claimed the upper hand for Locomotive FC, tying the game with 2:15 remaining after a crucial save seconds earlier. A flying finish 34 seconds later put El Paso ahead, and Ketterer locked up the game with 30 seconds remaining.

Locomotive FC carried its momentum into Game 2 as it took a three-goal lead midway through the period on some patient finishing by Ketterer. The Toros launched a comeback in the final two minutes, however, and got within two goals with 30 seconds to go before El Paso secured an insurance goal as the final seconds ticked down to secure the victory.

Team

Game 1

Game 2

Match

San Antonio FC

11

19

2

Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC

0

1

0

San Antonio FC’s Josh Richards put up a second consecutive impressive performance to move into sole possession of first place with victory (11-0, 19-1) against Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC’s Kenardo Forbes.

Richards took a commanding five-goal lead inside the opening minute of Game 1 of the series, but Forbes grabbed the early lead in Game 2 after just four seconds as he judged the faceoff perfectly to redirect the initial touch by SAFC into an open net. Things quickly swung back San Antonio’s way, however, as Richards scored seven goals inside the opening minute to secure a decisive win.

Group 7

Team

Game 1

Game 2

Match

FC Tucson

12

14

2

Indy Eleven

1

3

0

FC Tucson’s Trent Wieland secured his place in the knockout stages of the tournament with another impressive victory (12-1, 14-3) against Indy Eleven’s Chad Irvine, leaving the Eleven with a win-to-advance showdown with Greenville Triumph SC on Friday afternoon.

Wieland’s aerial assault was again on full display, although Indy’s Irvine showed off some moves that team captain Jordan Farr would be proud of in goal as he recorded five saves across the two contests. In both contests, however, Wieland’s pressure eventually told as he ran out to a four-goal lead in Game 1 and pulled away with the final eight goals to secure the victory after Indy made it competitive at 6-3 in Game 2.

Team

Game 1

Game 2

Match

Greenville Triumph SC

6

5

2

Las Vegas Lights FC

4

2

0

Greenville Triumph SC’s Chris Ashley kept himself in with a chance at a place in the knockout stages as he took a pair of tightly fought contests (6-4, 5-2) against Las Vegas Lights FC’s DJ Ocho.

Las Vegas almost took an early lead in Game 1 as it saw a close-range shot hit both post before rebounding to safety, and Greenville hit paydirt seconds late to go ahead. Triumph SC then extended its lead to three with just over two minutes remaining before Lights FC launched a comeback bid, making it a one-goal game with 31 seconds to go. That’s set off a scoring explosion that saw Greenville score twice in nine seconds around a Las Vegas tally to make it a two-goal game once more, and from there Ashley saw out the win.

Greenville continued its hot shooting in Game 2 as it opened the scoring after just six seconds, and once again Triumph SC pulled away to a three-goal lead 1:16 into the contest. This time, however, Ashley was able to add a fourth before Las Vegas could try to mount its comeback attempt, allowing Greenville to keep Lights FC at arm’s length to remain alive in the tournament.

Group 8

Team

Game 1

Game 2

Match

Birmingham Legion FC

8

9

2

FC Tulsa

4

2

0

Birmingham Legion FC’s Kaylor Hodges moved into sole possession of first place in the group and booked his place in the Round of 16 with a pair of well-earned victories (8-4, 9-2) against FC Tulsa’s Reilly Maguire.

Legion FC jumped out to a quick three-goal lead in Game 1, including a spectacular finish by Hodges from his own half for the second, before Tulsa responded with three consecutive goals of its own to leave things finely poised just 1:24 into the contest. An exquisite chipped finish from the right by Birmingham restored a two-goal lead at the two-minute mark, however, and that proved the game-winner as Hodges scored five of the game’s last six goals to secure the victory.

Tulsa grabbed the lead 39 seconds into Game 2, but it proved short-lived as Birmingham responded 12 seconds later with a marauding charge upfield. Hodges added two goals in eight seconds with 3:18 to play to subsequently take control of the game, and while Maguire kept things interesting with a goal to make it a two-goal game midway through the period, Birmingham rolled away to victory with the final five goals of the contest.

Team

Game 1

Game 2

Match

Forward Madison FC

7

7

2

Memphis 901 FC

1

1

0

Forward Madison FC’s Mitchell Meerman gave his side the bounce-back performance it needed to remain in with a chance at advancing with a pair of identical victories (7-1, 7-1) against Memphis 901 FC’s Brandon Allen.

Madison opened the scoring one minute into Game 1 with a neat finish to the right corner, starting a seven-goal scoring run that included an outstanding first-time finish for the third tally of the contest. Memphis broke the shutout inside the final minute, but the same pattern appeared in Game 2 as Madison pulled out to a five-goal lead before 901 FC answered, allowing the Flamingos to cruise to victory.

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