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GAMEDAY ROUNDUP: Guenzatti Grabs Late Winner, Rowdies Into Playoffs

By Staff, 09/16/20, 9:02PM EDT


Monarchs eliminated from contention after loss to T2; NYCFC loanee Haak among scorers as Athletic earn victory

The Tampa Bay Rowdies became the second team to book a place in the 2020 Championship Playoffs, Real Monarchs SLC was officially eliminated from playoff contention, and Hartford Athletic moved three points closer to the postseason as part of Wednesday night’s action in the USL Championship.


KENNESAW, Ga. – A late winner in second-half stoppage time by Sebastian Guenzatti lifted the Rowdies to victory and a place in the 2020 USL Championship Playoffs as they defeated Atlanta for the fourth successive time this season.

The Rowdies almost grabbed the lead in the 10th minute as a corner by Leo Fernandes from the right was put on target by Guenzatti only to be denied by Atlanta goalkeeper Vicente Reyes. The sides each had chances as the half continued on with Atlanta’s Jackson Conway and Tampa Bay’s Sebastian Dalgaard each testing their opposing goalkeepers from distance, but it was the hosts that carved out the best chance of the half as a cross from the left found Phillip Goodrum in space in the right side of the penalty area, only for Tampa Bay’s Evan Louro to come up with a good save.

Tampa Bay then took the lead five minutes into the second half as Leo Fernandes’ corner kick from the right was flicked on goal by a header from Forrest Lasso, and the ball slipped through Reyes’ hands and just over the line before a defender could clear.

The slick conditions made life interesting at both ends, and Atlanta equalized five minutes later on an own goal as Goodrum delivered a cross from the right that caromed off Rowdies defender Jordan Scarlett and into his own net. Tampa Bay almost regained the lead just past the hour-mark as Fernandes flashed a shot just wide of the right post from the top-left edge of the penalty area, while Atlanta’s Jack Gurr forced a fine save from Louro on a long-range strike toward the left corner with 13 minutes to go.

As time wore down, it appeared the Rowdies might have to settle for a point on the road, but then Dalgaard won possession after a duel for a 50-50 ball on the right flank and quickly sent a pass into the penalty area for Guenzatti. The Rowdies’ captain controlled, shifted back onto his right foot to get two defenders off-balance and then fired a shot into the left corner of the net to grab all three points for the visitors. Man of the Match

Sebastian Guenzatti, Tampa Bay Rowdies – Guenzatti scored the decisive late winner, and had five shots overall while completing three key passes and 25 of 33 passes overall in a solid performance.


HERRIMAN, Utah – T2 rallied to its second consecutive victory and officially eliminated the Monarchs from postseason contention with victory on Wednesday night at Zions Bank Stadium. Real is the first defending USL Championship title-holder to fail to reach the postseason the following year.

Needing victory to keep their slim postseason hopes alive, the Monarchs almost struck first in the eighth minute as Taylor Peay was played into the right side of the penalty area and fired a first-time shot that T2 goalkeeper Jake Leeker palmed away for a corner. Kyle Coffee then went close 10 minutes later but he was unable to control his finish from close range after a cross by Julian Vazquez from the left.

Portland’s should have taken the lead in the 23rd minute as a corner kick from the left by Carlos Anguiano sailed over everybody and reached Max Ornstil and the back post, only for his finish from two yards away to go wide of the right upright. Instead, it was Real that took the lead five minutes later as he got on the end of a low cross by Bode Davis and lifted his finish past Leeker and into the net.

T2 almost hit back just before halftime as Marcus Epps delivered a great cross from the right to the back post for a header by Jorge Gonzalez that was brilliantly turned away by Real goalkeeper David Ochoa. The U.S. youth international was also called on again five minutes into the second half to make a low save on Gonzalez, but on the hour-mark there was little Ochoa could do as Epps produced a beautiful curling finish to the bottom-right corner from 25 yards that was just out of the goalkeeper’s diving reach, bringing the game level.

Portland then hit the front with 11 minutes to go as Giovanni Calixtro took on his defender on the right, found a yard of space near the byline and cut back a cross to Gonzalez, whose first-time finish found the left side of the net. Calixtro then almost added a third deep in second-half stoppage time as his shot from a narrow angle was saved by Ochoa, but the visitors then saw out the remaining moments to earn a big road win. Man of the Match

Jorge Gonzalez, Portland Timbers 2 – Gonzalez scored the game-winning goal and also notched the assists on T2’s opener while recording three shots on goal and two key passes overall.


HARTFORD, Conn. – The Athletic got back on track toward the postseason as goals by Matheus Silva, Alex Dixon and Justin Haak earned victory against the Red Bulls II at Dillon Stadium.

Looking to rebound from defeat to Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC last Saturday, the Athletic had an early chance as Gabriel Torres shot just wide of the left post from the left side of the penalty area in the third minute, but the hosts took the lead eight minutes later as a fine corner kick by recent arrival Idan Cohen found Silva for a headed finish at the back sport from just inside the six-yard area.

The Red Bulls II’s first good look at goal didn’t arrive until the half-hour mark, but Jake LaCava forced a good save by Athletic goalkeeper Parfait Mandanda with a curling effort to the right corner. Hartford then threatened three minutes before halftime as Danny Barrera’s shot from 20 yards was swallowed up by New York goalkeeper Wallis Lapsley, but in first-half stoppage time Dixon’s shot from 20 yards went through Lapsley and found the net to make it a two-goal game.

LaCava had another effort from 20 yards saved by Mandanda early in the second half, but the Red Bulls II hit back in the 64th minute as LaCava was on hand to turn home a finish after a low corner kick from the left had been flicked on at the near post to find him in the right side of the penalty area for a first-time finish.

Hartford restored its two-goal advantage with 15 minutes to go, however, as after a corner kick from the left was headed down initially by Sam Strong the ball deflected to Haak, who hit a first-time finish into the net for his first goal for the Athletic since arriving on loan from New York City FC. The Red Bulls II tried to mount a late comeback as Deri Corfe had a shot tipped wide by Mandanda with six minutes to go, but the Athletic saw out the remaining minutes to move another step closer to the postseason. Man of the Match

Matheus Silva, Hartford Athletic – Silva scored once joining the attack and won 10 of 12 duels, 4 of 4 aerial duels, and made five interceptions and four clearances defensively for the hosts.


CHESTER, Pa. – The Union II swept past Loudoun with three goals in the opening 35 minutes at Subaru Park in the second meeting between the two clubs in a matter of days.

After being held to a draw when the sides met on Saturday, the Union II got on top quickly in the rematch as a cross from the left by Axel Picazo was cleared to the top of the penalty area but set up perfectly for 16-year-old Brandan Craig to strike a low volley into the bottom-left corner of the net.

Loudoun almost hit back in the 12th minute as an effort by Christian Sorto from the left after a corner kick from the right had been flicked on through the penalty area was kept out by Philadelphia’s Nathan Harriel with a header to turn the ball away near the right post. The hosts struck again eight minutes later, however, as Paxten Aaronson held up play instead of pursuing a counterattack immediately and then timed a pass to the onrushing Anton Sorenson perfectly. Sorensen broke in and shot low past Loudoun goalkeeper Simon Lefebvre.

The hosts made it three just past the half-hour mark as Jack McGlynn played Anges Bohui into the right side of the penalty area for a precise cross that was nicely volleyed home by Steve Kingue. McGlynn and Jamoi Topey almost added to the Union II’s lead before halftime only to be denied by Lefebvre, then early in the second half Philadelphia goalkeeper Matt Freese made a good intervention to keep out a chance for Josh Fawole for the visitors.

The Union II continued to create the better chances as the second half went on, though, and with 15 minutes to go David Radaban unleashed a long-range shot that rattled the crossbar but came down on the wrong side of the goal line, allowing United to clear. With seven minutes to go, however, Caden Stafford fired home a low shot from the right side of the penalty area to the left corner of the net to put the game away. Man of the Match

Jack McGlynn, Philadelphia Union II – McGlynn had one assist, three shots and four key passes as he kept the Union II attack moving smoothly all night, while also completing 24 of 32 passes overall.

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