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GAMEDAY ROUNDUP: Independence Held in Scoreless Draw by Miami

By Staff, 09/23/20, 9:54PM EDT


Union II rally to earn draw against Hartford; Atlanta notches five in victory against Red Bulls II

The Charlotte Independence narrowly missed out on victory, which would have sealed a place in the 2020 USL Championship Playoffs, as they were held to a draw by Miami FC, while Hartford Athletic was also held to a point by the Philadelphia Union II, and Atlanta United 2 put up a five-star attacking performance against the New York Red Bulls II in Wednesday night’s USL Championship action.


MATTHEWS, N.C. – The Independence moved level on points with Birmingham Legion FC as they missed out on potentially claiming all three points by the width of a post against Miami FC at the Sportsplex at Matthews as Valentin Sabella’s shot off the woodwork just past the hour-mark proved the closest either side came to scoring.

The teams exchanged chances early as Charlotte’s Luke Haakenson forced a save from Miami goalkeeper Mark Pais in the sixth minute and Prince Saydee pulled a finish well wide of the far post from the left side of the penalty for the visitors a couple of minutes later. The hosts then almost struck in spectacular fashion a few minutes later as Brunallergene Etou fired a volley from 25 yards off a high clearance from a corner that zipped through a crowd in the area and forced Pais into a good low diving save.

The Independence thought they had found the lead in the 14th minute as a well-worked set piece saw Jake Areman’s initial ball found Hugh Roberts, who knocked the ball across the face of goal toward the left post for Aaron Maund to finish, but the offside flag was raised to deny the hosts the opener. Derek Gebhard and Etou then both went close inside the opening 25 minutes, but Miami held on to keep the game scoreless.

Sabella’s moment arrived in the 62nd minute as a corner kick from the right was half-cleared by Miami but sat up perfectly for Sabella to unleash a first-time strike from the right side of the penalty area that clattered into the left post and away to safety. Both Enzo Martinez and Christian Chaney then had chances inside the final 20 minutes, but the hosts were unable to find a breakthrough as they missed out on overtaking Legion FC for first in the group. Man of the Match

Duke Lacroix, Charlotte Independence – Lacroix was solid all night as Charlotte held Miami without a shot on goal, winning 7 of 8 duels and 4 of 4 tackles while completing 57 of 64 passes.


HARTFORD, Conn. – The Union II’s Jack McGlynn scored with 14 minutes to go to deny Hartford Athletic victory in a 1-1 draw at Dillon Stadium and leave the gap between the Athletic and Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC at five points before the teams meet on Saturday night.

The Union II almost took the lead four minutes before halftime as midfielder David Radaban launched an effort from 30 yards that rang off the crossbar and away to safety. Hartford took the lead just before the break, however, as off a corner kick from the right Sam Strong headed home off an inswinging delivery from Danny Barrera to put the Athletic ahead.

The Union II went close to finding an equalizer just before the hour-mark as Anton Sorenson surged forward from the back through a combination with Steve Kingue near midfield but had his shot to the near post from the left edge of the penalty area saved by Hartford goalkeeper Parfait Mandanda. In the 76th minute, though, as Paxten Aaronson navigated past a pair of defenders before laying a pass off to Sorenson, whose first time ball through the penalty area from the left was met by McGlynn’s sharp finish to the right corner.

Both sides went looking for a winner late, and the Union II almost grabbed one with four minutes to go as Anges Bohui fired a low shot from the left side of the penalty area that Mandanda got down well to save. Hartford’s Alfonso Vazquez then had a chance blocked a minute later, as did Aidan Mesias as the hosts looked for a last-ditch winner. The deciding goal wouldn’t arrive, though, as honors ended even. Man of the Match

Anthony Sorenson, Philadelphia Union II – Sorenson was positive as he joined the attack, recording the assist on Jack McGlynn’s equalizer, and also won 3 of 5 duels and completed 29 of 37 passes overall.


KENNESAW, Ga. – Jackson Conway scored twice, and Amir Bashti had a goal and assist as Atlanta took victory in a high-scoring affair against the Red Bulls II at Fifth Third Bank Stadium.

In a back-and-forth first half, Atlanta took a two-goal lead with a pair of goals three minutes apart. Conway notched the first in the 17th minute as Bashti found Phillip Goodrum in space on the right and his cross was headed home by Conway into the right corner of the net. Bashti then added the second in the 20th minute as Jack Gurr stretched deliver the ball to the attacking midfielder in the penalty area, and Bashti turned onto his left foot as he controlled and fired home from close to the penalty spot.

New York struck back quickly as Kenan Hot picked up possession in the Atlanta half and played a beautiful lifted ball into the penalty area that Dantouma Toure fired home on the volley into the right corner of the net. The visitors then leveled in the 28th minute as Caden Clark fired a low shot from the top of the penalty area that was parried by Atlanta goalkeeper Vicente Reyes, only for Jake LaCava to tuck home the rebound.

A minute later, though, Atlanta regained the lead as Goodrum found Gurr on the right flank, and after the cross into the penalty area took a deflection off a pair of Red Bulls II defenders it set up perfectly for Goodrum to volley home impressively into the net. The hosts then added a fourth in first-half stoppage time as Conway notched his second as a pair of headers, the second by Bashti, played him in behind the New York defense for a low shot to the left corner.

Atlanta added a fifth with 20 minutes to go as Bashti was sent into space on the left side and delivered a cross that took a deflection at the near post that took it away from goalkeeper Alex Bobocea, who off-balance could only palm the ball into the middle of the penalty area. David Mejia was there to clean up with a diving header that found its way past the covering defenders. New York then pulled a goal back with seven minutes to go as Samad Bounthong rifled home a finish from the top of the penalty area off the underside of the crossbar and in, but there was to be no serious comeback from the visitors as Atlanta picked up the three points. Man of the Match

Amir Bashti, Atlanta United 2 – Bashti had a goal and an assist, had three chances created and completed 14 of 21 passes to lead an outstanding attacking effort.

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