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Gameday Report: July 4, Week 17

By USLSoccer.com Staff, 07/04/18, 9:10PM EDT

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SAFC, OKC end deadlocked after highlight-reel finishes; Hristov break Rowdies’ scoring record in victory


Photo courtesy Darren Abate / San Antonio FC

THREE THINGS THAT MATTERED

1. San Antonio FC and OKC Energy FC remained inseparable as the sides played to their sixth draw in seven regular-season meetings all-time before a crowd of 7,234 fans at Toyota Field in a game that was highlighted by outstanding finishes by OKC’s Jose Barril and San Antonio’s Alex Bruce. SAFC thought it had finally defeated Energy FC for the first time in stoppage time, only for Ever Guzman to be ruled offside as the points were shared between the regional rivals once again.

2. Tampa Bay Rowdies forward Georgi Hristov took eight minutes to set a club record as he scored his 58th goal in Green and Gold as Tampa Bay took a 3-1 victory against Toronto FC II at Al Lang Stadium. Hristov’s goal was his first since April 21 against Real Monarchs SLC – which also stood as the Rowdies’ most recent victory at Al Lang Stadium prior to Wednesday night – and saw him break a tie with original Rowdies standout Derek Smethurst for the club’s all-time lead.

3. Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC had to wait for a major thunderstorm to pass but ended up taking a 2-0 victory against North Carolina FC that moved the side within three points of FC Cincinnati at the top of the Eastern Conference standings at Highmark Stadium. Dan Lynd’s eighth shutout of the season was supplemented by an outstanding solo finish from Christiano Francois and Kevin Kerr’s second goal of the season as the Hounds continued their strong season.

GAME REPORTS

SAN ANTONIO FC (1), OKC ENERGY FC (1)

 

Honors ended even as San Antonio FC and OKC Energy FC both scored in the second half in a 1-1 draw before a crowd of 7,234 at Toyota Field. Both goalkeepers came up big in the opening half as SAFC’s Matt Cardone made a big stop on Miguel Gonzalez in the 16th minute and Energy FC’s Matt van Oekel produced a diving save to deny Omar Gordon’s shot to the left corner just before the half-hour mark. Energy FC took the lead in the 68th minute as Jose Barril produced an excellent volleyed finish from Alex Dixon’s cross from the right. San Antonio leveled with 13 minutes to go, however, as Alex Bruce curled home a tremendous finish from 25 yards into the top-right corner. The hosts then thought they’d grabbed a late victory as Ever Guzman found the net with a close-range header, but the offside flag ruled the goal out and left the regional rivals to share the points once again.

USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Jose Barril, OKC Energy FC
– Barril began the play that led to his fine finish that opened the scoring, and also won 12 of 16 duels and made two key passes as Energy FC picked up a point on the road. 

PITTSBURGH RIVERHOUNDS SC (2), NORTH CAROLINA FC (0)

 

Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC scored once in either half to take a 2-0 victory against North Carolina FC at Highmark Stadium. After a three-hour lightning delay midway through the first half, the Hounds took the lead just before halftime as Christiano Francois produced a fierce finish from the left side of the penalty area to open the scoring. North Carolina almost replied early in the second half when Ulrich Ewolo’s finish deflected off advancing Pittsburgh goalkeeper Dan Lynd and off the left post, allowing the hosts to clear, but Riverhounds SC doubled its lead with 19 minutes to go as Kevin Kerr headed home just inside the left post from Kenardo Forbes’ cross.

USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Christiano Francois, Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
– Francois gave the hosts a big boost just before halftime with his excellent finish and looked dangerous for much of the rest of the contest besides.

TAMPA BAY ROWDIES (3), TORONTO FC II (1)

 

Georgi Hristov scored his club-record 58th goal for the Tampa Bay Rowdies as the hosts defeated Toronto FC II 3-1 before a crowd of 5,221 at Al Lang Stadium. Hristov gave the Rowdies the lead in the eighth minute as a long clearance by goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald went over the Toronto back line, and a momentary hesitation allowed the Bulgarian to steal in and a loop his first-time finish over the advancing goalkeeper. Tampa Bay doubled its lead nine minutes into the second half as Leon Taylor scored his third goal for the club, but four minutes later Rowdies goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald mishandled a free kick that ended up in his own net, giving Toronto a lifeline. A lightning delay arrived with 20 minutes to go, but once the sides returned to the field the Rowdies wrapped up victory as Joe Cole scored in the 79th minute with a low, long-range shot to earn Tampa Bay its first home victory under Head Coach Neill Collins.

USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Georgi Hristov, Tampa Bay Rowdies
– Hristov got the Rowdies off to a perfect start as he took sole possession of the Rowdies’ all-time scoring lead as the side took its first home victory since April 21.

INDY ELEVEN (0), OTTAWA FURY FC (1)

 

Ottawa Fury FC got a four-save shutout from goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau as it took a 1-0 victory against Indy Eleven before a crowd of 11,025 at Lucas Oil Stadium. Ottawa took the lead in the 28th minute when Indy defender Carlyle Mitchell turned a free kick by Kevin Oliveira into his own net, and the visitors then held the Eleven at bay as Crepeau recorded a key save on a bicycle kick by Jack McInerney late in the first half. Indy recorded a 14-6 shot advantage for the contest but was unable to find a breakthrough as its five-game undefeated streak came to an end.

USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Maxime Crepeau, Ottawa Fury FC
– Crepeau kept Ottawa in the game throughout the first half with four saves before his defense put in a stellar second-half display.

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