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Gameday Report: August 29, Week 25

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 08/29/18, 9:29PM EDT


Late tally lifts Switchbacks past Monarchs; Laing leads San Antonio in comeback against Toros

Photo courtesy Isaiah J. Downing / Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC


1. The gap to the playoff positions in the Western Conference for Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC may still be five points with six games remaining in the club’s regular season, but the hosts kept their slim playoff hopes alive on Wednesday night as Saeed Robinson’s late strike earned a 1-0 victory against Real Monarchs SLC at Weidner Field. In addition to keeping their own playoff aspirations alive, the Switchbacks’ victory also handed a boost to both Phoenix Rising FC and Orange County SC, both of whom remained within three points of the Monarchs for the conference-lead going into the Labor Day weekend’s action.

2. With recent addition Lance Laing the catalyst, San Antonio FC broke its four-game losing streak to get its challenge for a second consecutive place in the USL Cup Playoffs back on track in a 3-1 victory against Rio Grande Valley FC at H-E-B Park that saw the visitors come back from a halftime deficit to take victory. After a strong substitute performance this past Saturday for SAFC, Laing produced a moment of brilliance with a chipped finish from inside the penalty area that proved to be the game-winner, having previously assisted on Conor Presley’s first professional goal that leveled the game early in the second half.

3. Indy Eleven looked as if it might have run out of chances to break down a diligent Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC defense, but in the fourth minute of stoppage time Jack McInerney came through with his ninth goal of the season to earn the hosts a 2-2 draw at Lucas Oil Stadium in tense contest between the two playoff contenders. McInerney had taken advantage of a defensive error early in the contest to put Indy ahead in just the fourth minute but needed to produce a good late finish to extend the club’s undefeated streak to seven games.



TACOMA, Wash. – Seattle Sounders FC 2 and Saint Louis FC exchanged first-half goals as the sides played to a 1-1 draw at Cheney Stadium. Saint Louis almost took the lead in the fifth minute as Kyle Greig rang a shot off the outside of the left post, while S2 threatened 13 minutes later as Henry Wingo’s low shot the left corner was turned wide by STLFC goalkeeper Jake Fenlason. Corey Hertzog also went close for the visitors in the 26th minute, only to be denied by Seattle goalkeeper Bryan Meredith after Kadeem Dacres stole possession and set up the chance, but Greig struck off the ensuing corner as he tapped home at the back post from Hertzog’s near-post flick for his 11th goal of the season. S2 got back on level terms eight minutes before halftime as Antonee Burke-Gilroy controlled a shot by Nick Hinds in the middle of the penalty area and turned home a quick shot to the right corner to leave the teams level at halftime. The sides produced fewer clear-cut chances in the second half, with Saint Louis putting three chances it had on target in the opening 10 minutes after the break only for all three to be comfortably handled by Meredith. Seattle’s Lamar Neagle had a chance with 12 minutes to go that was blocked away to safety by STLFC’s Tony Walls, while Austin Martz forced a good save by Meredith for the visitors with a low shot to the left corner a minute later. Saint Louis’ Michael Cox almost found a late goal with five minutes to go as his header bounced just wide of the right post, while Wal Fall headed just wide off a corner two minutes later, and S2’s Christian Roldan forced a good save by Fenlason in the 90th minute with a well-struck free kick, but honors ended even as Saint Louis opened its trip to Cascadia with a draw. Man of the Match
Leo Burney, Seattle Sounders FC 2
– Burney recorded seven clearances and one interception and completed all 36 of his passes in a solid debut for the 16-year-old at the professional level.


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Saeed Robinson scored in the 87th minute to lift Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC to a 1-0 victory against Real Monarchs SLC at Weidner Field as Real’s road struggles continued. The Monarchs had the first good look on goal in the 10th minute as a long-range effort by Justin Portillo was scooped up by Switchbacks goalkeeper Moise Pouaty. The hosts thought they’d gone ahead just before the half-hour mark only for the offside flag to be raised as Marty Maybin fired home a low finish to the right corner, while former Real player Karsten Hanlin almost struck in the 32nd minute as his finish went off the left post and away to safety. The Switchbacks were again denied by the offside flag as Jamal Jack scored from close range midway through the second half, while the Monarchs hit the woodwork with eight minutes to go after a surging run by Andrew Brody from the left opened space for a shot from 20 yards that rang the crossbar. Real’s Chandler Hoffman sent a glancing header just wide of the right post with three minutes to go but on the ensuing attack for the Switchbacks, Robinson found space to curl a finish just inside the right post to give the hosts all three points and keep their narrow playoff hopes alive. Man of the Match
Saeed Robinson, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
– Robinson’s late goal earned his side a crucial three points as the Switchbacks kept their slim hopes of return to the postseason alive with victory.


KANSAS CITY, Kan. – The Swope Park Rangers rallied from an early deficit to take a 2-1 victory against Tulsa Roughnecks FC at Children’s Mercy Park. The Roughnecks capitalized on a defensive error to take the lead in the 15th minute as Michael Gamble fired home into the right side of the net after a last-ditch challenge failed to break up the attack. Swope Park came close to leveling in the 25th minute as Hadji Barry was denied by Tulsa goalkeeper Fabian Cerda after a good through-ball by Gianluca Busio, but two minutes later Wan Kuzain fired home his second goal of the season from a set piece 25 yards out into the bottom-left corner of the net. The Rangers went close to taking the lead in the 39th minute but Barry sent his rebound effort just over after Felipe Hernandez’s initial shot had been saved by Cerda to leave the game level at the break. Tulsa went close just past the hour mark as Jesus Ferreira’s free kick from a tight angle on the left was punched away by SPR goalkeeper Eric Dick, and Alejandro Covarrubias hit the left post with a follow-up chance after the danger was half-cleared with a dipping first-time shot from 30 yards. Joaquin Rivas also glanced the woodwork in the 68th minute on a first-time finish from the edge of the penalty area that clipped the right post, and five minutes later Dick had to make a big save after Rivas had been slid into a prime scoring chance by Ferreria eight yards from goal. The Rangers took the lead with 11 minutes to go, however, as Barry stole possession in the attacking third and then capitalized with a finish to the top-right corner after being fed by Busio in the center of the penalty area, and the hosts almost added a third a minute later when Tyler Blackwood hit the inside of the left post after being played in alone by Barry on a counterattack. The Roughnecks pushed later for an equalizer, but a header deep in stoppage time was comfortably saved by Dick to close proceedings out for the Rangers. Man of the Match
Gianluca Busio, Swope Park Rangers
– Busio had a strong all-around game, providing the assist on the game-winning goal by Hadji Barry as one of three key passes while also winning six of nine duels.


EDINBURG, Texas – Lance Laing scored the game-winner in his first start for San Antonio FC as the visitors claimed a 3-1 victory against Rio Grande Valley FC at H-E-B Park in the USL Game of the Week. The Toros struck in just the third minute as Jesus Enriquez capitalized on a clever piece of build-up to cut into the top of the penalty area and finish low into the right corner. The hosts almost doubled their lead in the 22nd minute as a counterattack led by Carlos Small down the left found Pablo Aguilar with a chance to shoot, but SAFC defender Cyprian Hedrick did enough to deflect the shot over the crossbar. San Antonio almost leveled just before halftime when Conor Presley’s alert volley was turned just wide of the left post by RGVFC goalkeeper Nico Corti, and the Toros’ shot-stopper made another good save in stoppage time off a flicked header by Darnell King from a corner kick. SAFC struck four minutes into the second half, however, as Presley tucked home a finish from a good cutback by Laing into the left corner of the net. The Toros almost regained the lead in the 57th minute when Wilmer Cabrera flashed a shot just wide of the left post from the edge of the penalty area, but SAFC went ahead five minutes later as Laing added his first goal for the club to his assist with a delicate chipped finish from the right side of the penalty area that looped just under the crossbar. San Antonio then sealed all three points with nine minutes to go when Ever Guzman scored on a clever lifted finish on the counterattack that caught Corti in no-man’s land after a long ball over the top by Sonny Guadarrama that played Guzman in behind the Toros defense. Man of the Match
Lance Laing, San Antonio FC
– Laing set up SAFC’s equalizer and then scored what proved to be the winner in his first start for the club as the side broke its four-game losing streak. 


INDIANAPOLIS – Jack McInerney scored a late equalizer as Indy Eleven claimed a 2-2 draw against Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC at Lucas Oil Stadium. Indy took the lead in the fourth minute as McInerney beat Riverhounds SC goalkeeper Mike Kirk to a through-ball just outside the penalty area and curled his finish past the trailing defender into the vacated net. Indy’s Karl Ouimette almost added to the lead in the 34th minute with a volleyed finish that went just wide of the left post, but Riverhounds SC hit back in first-half stoppage time as Joe Greenspan powered home a header from Christiano Francois’ free kick to level the game at the break. Pittsburgh almost took the lead six minutes into the second half as Neco Brett’s shot from 15 yards was turned just wide of the right post by Indy goalkeeper Owain Fôn Williams, and five minutes later Kirk got across his goal well to keep out a well-directed free kick by McInerney to the left corner of the net for Indy. The Hounds hit the front just before the hour-mark, however, as Francois intercepted a back-pass and rounded Fôn Williams before finishing into the open net. The Hounds were reduced to 10 men with four minutes to go, however, when Ray Lee was sent off for a dangerous challenge on Indy defender Carlyle Mitchell, and in the fourth minute of stoppage time McInerney scored the equalizer from the left side of the penalty area. Kirk made one final save key late save to keep out a finish by Soony Saad, and honors ended even after a rollercoaster contest. Man of the Match
Jack McInerney, Indy Eleven
– McInerney’s second goal of the night earned the visitors a point at the death to keep the side moving toward a place in the postseason.

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