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USL eCup Matchday Report – Toros Take Tense Division A Final to End Week 3

By NICHOLAS MURRAY - nicholas.murray@uslsoccer.com, 05/22/20, 9:32PM EDT

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Phoenix wins five-goal thriller to claim Division B; LouCity caps off big week with Division C victory

Rio Grande Valley FC moved back to the top of the overall standings in the USL eCup: FIFA20 Edition with a nail-biting victory against Saint Louis FC, while Phoenix Rising FC and Louisville City FC each took victory to gain maximum points in Division B and Division C, respectively as Week 3 of the six-week event came to a close on Friday night.

Three Things that Mattered

1. At this point, you’re hoping that the final game of the week gives you a compelling contest. In a narrow 2-1 victory by Rio Grande Valley FC’s Kembo Kibato and Brazil against Saint Louis FC’s Richard Bryan and France, we got just that. The Toros were probably good value for their victory in the end, coming back from a first-half deficit to hit the front midway through the second half, but the tenacity with which Saint Louis fended off Brazil’s attack throughout was extremely impressive. The Toros sit on top of the overall standings at the midway point of the tournament, but STLFC is right in the hunt still despite this setback.

2. Phoenix Rising FC and Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC gave us the scoring spectacle we were hoping for, but in the end it was Phoenix’s Corey Whelan and the Netherlands that came away with a 3-2 victory on a winner with 12 minutes to go against Pittsburgh’s Mark Lindstrom and the Division B title for Week 3. With their mics on, the celebrations were on with Junior Flemmings and Kevon Lambert joining in to support their roommate, but the 500 points mean Rising FC also makes its first appearance in the Top 10 ahead of its foray into Division A next week.

3. It took a couple of weeks and some experimentation with players, but Louisville City FC’s Akil Watts seems to have figured out how to get the most out of No. 32-seed team Wales in time to give LouCity a chance at making a move. Watts took a 3-1 victory against FC Tulsa’s Panin Boakye and the United States in the Division C Final on Friday night, and should be given a chance again next week to see what he can do in Division B.

Highlights Central

Around the Brackets

- Sometimes things just don’t go to plan. That was the case for Austin Bold FC’s Julien Llerena, the club’s communications lead, who found himself as the only option to play the club’s third-place game in Division A against the New York Red Bulls II’s Ben Mines. To his eternal credit, Llerena was up-front about his lack of FIFA abilities before taking a 5-0 defeat, and then capped the night off with a perfect closing statement to wrap things up.

- The Tampa Bay Rowdies’ Malik Johnson came frustratingly close to booking a place in the Division B final on Thursday, but at least ended the week on a high note with a 6-0 win playing as Colombia against FC Tucson’s AJ Valenzuela and the Czech Republic. It’ll be interesting to see if the Rowdies opt to insert one of their eSports specialists in Week 4 after a solid week by Johnson overall.

Results

Division A
Final

Rio Grande Valley FC (Brazil) 2, Saint Louis FC (France) 1

Third-Place Game
New York Red Bulls II (Chile) 5, Austin Bold FC (Italy) 0

Division B
Final

Phoenix Rising FC (Netherlands) 3, Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC (Belgium) 2

Third-Place Game
Tampa Bay Rowdies (Colombia) 6, FC Tucson (Czech Republic) 0

Division C
Final

Louisville City FC (Wales) 3, FC Tulsa (United States) 1

Points Standings

1. Rio Grande Valley FC – 2,000pts
2. New York Red Bulls II – 1,800pts
3. Saint Louis FC – 1,700pts
4. Hartford Athletic – 1,050pts
T-5. Austin Bold FC – 900pts
T-5. OKC Energy FC – 900pts
7. Phoenix Rising FC – 500pts
8. New England Revolution II – 350pts
T-9. Tampa Bay Rowdies – 300pts
T-9. FC Tucson – 300pts

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