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Gameday Report: August 11, Week 22

By NICHOLAS MURRAY - nicholas.murray@uslsoccer.com, 08/11/18, 9:34PM EDT

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Orange County holds off Phoenix comeback; Saint Louis romps to victory, boosts playoff hopes


Photo courtesy Michael Rincon / Phoenix Rising FC

THREE THINGS THAT MATTERED

1. Orange County SC had been looking for a statement victory all season, and while they had to hold on by the skin of their teeth against Phoenix Rising SC on Saturday night to take a 4-3 victory at the Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex they finally accomplished it to take sole possession of second place in the Western Conference standings. As they have at other times this season, Thomas Enevoldsen and Aodhan Quinn produced big performances for Orange County, but adding to that was Michael Seaton, whose two goal, one assist display pushed the visitors to enough of a cushion that Phoenix’s incredible comeback effort fell just short this time around.

2. Saint Louis FC took a major step toward the USL Cup Playoffs as the side picked up its third consecutive victory on Saturday night, and handed Las Vegas Lights FC a tough defeat toward its own postseason aspirations. STLFC’s comprehensive 4-1 win moved the side within a point of the top eight in the Western Conference on the night as Saint Louis was also boosted by the Portland Timbers 2’s victory against the Swope Park Rangers. With Kyle Greig picking up goals in back-to-back games, and three outings in a row on home turf, Saint Louis is picking up the pace offensively with 10 goals in its last four contests.

3. As the Charleston Battery celebrated legendary Head Coach Mike Anhaeuser’s 25 seasons at the club on Saturday night, it felt like there was little chance the side wouldn’t find a way to win for the dean of USL Head Coaches. That proved correct as Ian Svantesson’s first-half penalty kick earned a 1-0 victory against ATL UTD 2 at MUSC Health Stadium that gave the Battery their fourth consecutive home victory. Anhaeuser himself is now on the verge of a historic landmark of his own, with Saturday’s victory the 199th of his career as a Head Coach, and you’d imagine it won’t take long for No. 200 to arrive.

GAME REPORTS

SACRAMENTO REPUBLIC FC (2), RIO GRANDE VALLEY FC (1)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sacramento Republic FC rallied from going down inside the opening minute to take a 2-1 victory against Rio Grande Valley FC at Papa Murphy’s Park. The Toros took the lead after 28 seconds as Carlos Small scored the fastest goal in club history with a sharp finish from the right side of the penalty area following a swift passing move to release him into the box. Nicolas Perea also went close for the visitors in the fifth minute that forced a good save to keep out a long-range effort that was headed for the top-right corner, while Jesus Enriquez again tested Cohen with a low shot to the left corner in midway through the first half. Sacramento almost leveled 10 minutes before halftime as Villyan Bijev’s finish was kept out by RGVFC goalkeeper Tyler Deric, but the hosts found an equalizer in the 61st minute as Cameron Iwasa scored his 27th goal of the club, setting a Republic FC record as he broke a tie with Rodrigo Lopez. Republic FC then took the lead seven minutes later as Jeremy Hall headed home Keven Aleman’s free kick from the left into the right corner of the net. The Toros almost grabbed a late equalizer through Pablo Aguilar as his volleyed finish went just wide of the right post, but Sacramento held defensively late on to pick up its fourth victory in the past five games.

USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Cameron Iwasa, Sacramento Republic FC
– Iwasa got Republic FC’s comeback on track with his club-record 27th goal and battled hard in leading the attacking line throughout the night.

PHOENIX RISING FC (3), ORANGE COUNTY SC (4)

PHOENIX – Orange County SC scored four consecutive goals to open the game but had to hold off a furious comeback attempt from Phoenix Rising FC in a 4-3 victory at the Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex. Phoenix’s Jason Johnson had the first good chance in the 23rd minute as he wove into the penalty area but was denied a goal by a good save from Orange County’s Andre Rawls. Orange County began to press as the first half went on as Thomas Enevoldsen forced a good save by Rising FC goalkeeper Carl Woszczynski 10 minutes later, but the visitors took the lead six minutes before halftime with a curling low finish by Michael Seaton that tucked just inside the right post from 25 yards. Enevoldsen doubled Orange County’s lead three minutes into the second half with his 13th goal of the season with another precise long-range strike that caromed in off the left post, and the visitors added to their lead from the penalty spot through Aodhan Quinn in the 65th minute after Walker Hume was pulled down on a corner kick by Phoenix’s Mike Da Fonte. Two minutes later Seaton scored his second of the night with a controlled volley from a chipped cross by Enevoldsen, but then Phoenix began to fight back as Solomon Asante converted from the penalty spot a minute later to make it a three-goal deficit. Phoenix struck again in the 73rd minute as Devante Dubose’s low cross from the right appeared to redirect home into the net off Asante, which spurred the hosts on again. Rising FC’s Kevaughn Frater then hit the post with three minutes to go, but while Asante struck in the fourth minute of stoppage time to make it a one-goal game, time ran out on the hosts as their comeback bid fell short.

USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Michael Seaton, Orange County SC
– Seaton produced a pair of excellent finishes, provided an assist on the night and won 11 of 15 duels overall as Orange County took a big road victory.

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC 2 (3), SAN ANTONIO FC (2)

TACOMA, Wash. – Seattle Sounders FC 2 rallied from a first-half deficit to take a 3-2 victory against San Antonio FC that snapped SAFC’s four-game winning streak. S2 took the lead in the fifth minute as Henry Wingo fired home a low finish into the right corner after driving into the penalty area past a pair of SAFC defenders, but quickly gave it back as an errant back-pass by Jesse Daley resulted in an own goal that pulled San Antonio level. The visitors then took the lead as Ever Guzman scored his fourth goal in as many games in the 24th minute, who tucked home the rebound after Stephen McCarthy’s header had come back off the right post following a free kick by Charlie Ward. Wingo pulled Seattle back onto level terms again in first-half stoppage time as he poked home a close-range finish to the left corner after a low ball into the penalty area by Christian Roldan, and Wingo almost had hat trick eight minutes into the second half on a breakaway, only to first be denied by SAFC goalkeeper Diego Restrepo and then by defender Cyprian Hedrick as he swept away the rebound chance. Seattle took the lead in the 68th minute, however, as Shandon Hopeau powered home an outstanding drive from 25 yards into the left corner, and while S2 was reduced to 10 men with 13 minutes to go as David Olsen was sent off for his second bookable offense the hosts held firm for an impressive home victory.

USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Henry Wingo, Seattle Sounders FC 2
– Wingo scored the opening two goals of the game for S2, finished with eight shots overall and created three chances in a strong attacking display.

OKC ENERGY FC (3), REAL MONARCHS SLC (2)

OKLAHOMA CITY – OKC Energy FC got a late winner by Monty Patterson to claim a dramatic 3-2 victory against Western Conference-leader Real Monarchs SLC at Taft Stadium. Energy FC took the lead after just 25 seconds as Christian Volesky broke in behind the defense and put home a low finish to the right corner, and the hosts doubled their lead in the 27th minute as Alex Dixon broke in on a counterattack to finish low to the left corner of the net. The Monarchs hit back with two goals in three minutes, however, as Charlie Adams’ free kick from 30 yards deflected off the top of the defensive wall and into the left corner of the net in the 58th minute, and Jack Blake then produced a tremendous long-range strike to the top-left corner on the hour-mark to pull the visitors level. Real had a chance to take the lead with 20 minutes to go as Chandler Hoffman navigated past a pair of defenders to create space, only to be denied by Energy FC goalkeeper Cody Laurendi, but Patterson earned all three points for Energy FC with seven minutes to go on his debut for the club as he controlled a chipped pass by Jose Barrill and fired into the right corner of the net to lift the hosts to victory.

USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Jose Barrill, OKC Energy FC
– Barrill recorded assists on all three Energy FC goals – the third player to accomplish the feat in a single game this season – to lead the hosts to a memorable victory on home turf.

SAINT LOUIS FC (4), LAS VEGAS LIGHTS FC (1)

FENTON, Mo. – Saint Louis FC took a big step toward the playoff positions in the Western Conference with a 4-1 victory against Las Vegas Lights FC at Toyota Stadium – Saint Louis as four different players found the net on the night. The hosts got things going in the fourth minute when Phanuel Kavita pounced on a loose ball following a corner kick to fire home from eight yards and STLFC doubled its lead seven minutes later with a beautiful curling finish by Kadeem Dacres that picked out the top-right corner from just outside the top-left corner of the penalty area. Las Vegas pulled a goal back from the penalty spot through Omar Salgado in the 19th minute, but Saint Louis almost restored its two-goal lead soon after as Lewis Hilton’s long-range free kick came off the left post and bounced away to safety. STLFC found a third just before halftime, however, as Kyle Greig seized on an errant header to score his third goal in as many home games. Las Vegas’ chances of a comeback lessened with 20 minutes to go when Miguel Garduno was sent off, reducing the visitors to 10 men, and the hosts put the game away for good with two minutes to go when Michael Cox finished off a close-range chance to mark his debut with a goal.

USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Kyle Greig, Saint Louis FC
– Greig was a thorn in Las Vegas’ defense's side until his substitution with 13 minutes to go, winning 21 of 25 duels and putting home what felt like the decisive goal just before halftime in STLFC’s third consecutive win.

SWOPE PARK RANGERS (0), PORTLAND TIMBERS 2 (2)

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – The Portland Timbers 2 scored early in either half to take a 2-0 victory against the Swope Park Rangers at Children’s Mercy Park. T2 took the lead in just the seventh minute as Marvin Loria slipped in Jeremy Ebobisse for a low finish from the top of the six-yard area. Portland looked to add to its lead midway through the half as both Ebobisse and Jack Barmby had chances, but the visitors made it a two-goal lead from the penalty spot when Barmby shot low into the right corner just past the diving effort of SPR goalkeeper Christian Herrera 10 minutes into the second half. The Rangers almost cut the lead in half with 19 minutes to go when they kept a corner kick alive for a diving header by Graham Smith that was just too close to T2 goalkeeper Alex Mangels, allowing him to save. Wan Kuzain also forced a good low save by Mangels in the 77th minute, while Smith had a headed finish ruled out for offside two minutes later, but Portland was able to see out the victory and earn a big boost to its playoff chances.

USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Marvin Loria, Portland Timbers 2
– Loria produced a great pass to set up the opening goal, one of three chances he created on the night, and also won 8 of 13 duels and completed 22 of 24 passes overall.

TULSA ROUGHNECKS FC (2), COLORADO SPRINGS SWITCHBACKS FC (1)

TULSA, Okla. – Tulsa Roughnecks FC rallied from a halftime deficit to take a 2-1 victory against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC at ONEOK Field. The Roughnecks almost took the lead in the seventh minute when Michael Gamble broke in after a clever passing move but hit the right post with his finish. Jesus Ferreira followed that for the hosts with another chance on a glancing header three minutes later that went just wide of the right post, but a minute before the halftime break the Switchbacks took the lead as Taylor Hunter put home a good headed finish at the back post off Shane Malcolm’s cross from the left. Tulsa turned the game around in the second half, however, as in the 55th minute Gamble span past his marker and powered home a near-post finish from the left side of the penalty area and 15 minutes later Joaquin Rivas got in behind the Switchbacks defense and lifted a fine finish past advancing goalkeeper Moise Pouaty. Colorado Springs tried to find a late equalizer through Tobenna Uzo, only for a long-range shot to be comfortably saved by Roughnecks goalkeeper Chase Gentry and a stoppage-time header to go wide of the right post, and that was enough for Tulsa to claim all three points at home.  

USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Michael Gamble, Tulsa Roughnecks FC
– Gamble put in a stellar display that saw him score the equalizer, finish with four shots overall and complete 44 of 54 passes to lead Tulsa to victory.

CHARLESTON BATTERY (1), ATL UTD 2 (0)

CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Charleston Battery ensured Head Coach Mike Anhaeuser got to celebrate a victory as the club celebrated his 25 seasons with the Battery in a 1-0 win against ATL UTD 2 at MUSC Health Stadium. Atlanta produced the first good chance in the 24th minute as former Battery standout Romario Williams forced a good save by Charleston goalkeeper Odisnel Cooper with a shot from 25 yards. The Battery threatened four minutes later as Patrick Okonkwo’s diving header was saved by Atlanta goalkeeper Alec Kann, while Nico Rittmeyer fired just wide after a slaloming run by Angelo Kelly into the penalty area. Charleston took the lead from the penalty spot four minutes before halftime through Ian Svantesson, however, after Kotaro Higashi was brought down in the penalty area. Atlanta’s Andrew Carleton had a go from distance 12 minutes into the second half that was comfortably gathered by Cooper, but while Atlanta had a pair of late chances to find an equalizer, the Battery saw out the victory comfortably.

USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Odisnel Cooper, Charleston Battery
– Cooper recorded his 40th regular-season shutout for the Battery with a pair of saves – including a fine first-half stop on Romario Williams – to become the first goalkeeper in the USL’s modern era to reach that mark. 

TAMPA BAY ROWDIES (0), NORTH CAROLINA FC (2)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – North Carolina FC scored a pair of second-half goals to take a 2-0 victory against the Tampa Bay Rowdies at Al Lang Stadium. The Rowdies threatened to take the lead in the 26th minute as Junior Flemmings broke into the right side of the penalty area and shot low to the left corner, only for NCFC goalkeeper Alex Tambakis to make a low save. Flemmings was again denied by Tambakis in first-half stoppage time on a good shot from just outside the penalty area, while Zac Portillos had his shot from the left side of the penalty area tipped over by Tambakis eight minutes into the second half. Those missed chances came back to haunt the Rowdies as North Carolina took the lead in the 65th minute as Marcel Kandziora scored the 1,000th goal of the 2018 season with a flicked header from Steven Miller’s cross from the right. Tampa Bay almost leveled immediately as Martin Vingaard put a header off the crossbar from close range, but North Carolina put the game away with 12 minutes to go as Daniel Rios tucked home his 12th goal of the season with a first-time finish off Kyle Bekker’s 10th assist of the season to run NCFC’s undefeated streak to six games.

USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Alex Tambakis, North Carolina FC
– Tambakis made three crucial saves to keep the game scoreless either side of halftime to help his side earn a big road victory to put toward their playoff aspirations.

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