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Gameday Report: October 3, Week 30

By JOHN ARLIA - john.arlia@uslsoccer.com, 10/03/18, 8:45PM EDT

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Reno defeats Portland to clinch postseason berth; ATL UTD 2 finds stoppage-time equalizer to stun Rowdies


Photo courtesy Sam Ortega / Portland Timbers 2

THREE THINGS THAT MATTERED

1. Reno 1868 FC secured a spot in the 2018 USL Cup Playoffs as it picked up its third consecutive win with a 2-0 victory over the Portland Timbers 2 on Wednesday at Providence Park. Reno leapfrogged Portland for fifth place in the Western Conference standings with two games remaining and maintained control of its destiny to host a home playoff game as the side trails fourth-place Real Monarchs SLC by just two points and has a game in hand. 

2. A dramatic, last-gasp equalizer from ATL UTD 2 defender Miles Robinson delivered a gut punch to the Tampa Bay Rowdies' playoff aspirations as the sides settled for a 1-1 draw on Wednesday night at Coolray Field. Tampa Bay looked like it was headed towards claiming a pivotal three points after Sebastian Guenzatti opened the scoring in the 68th minute but the side couldn't clear its lines after an Atlanta free kick late in second-half stoppage time. The result leaves the Rowdies three points out of the playoff places in the East with two games remaining in the regular season. Tampa Bay will need a pair of victories and some results to fall its way down the stretch to sneak into the postseason.

3. Real Monarchs SLC snapped a three-game losing streak and a seven-match winless run as it picked up a much-needed 2-1 victory over OKC Energy FC at Zions Bank Stadium. Sebastian Saucedo produced a standout performance, scoring on either side of halftime to give the Monarchs three points for the first time since August 25. With the result, Real maintained its fourth-place position in the West but will need Reno 1868 FC to drop points over its final two matches in order to host the opening round of the 2018 USL Cup Playoffs on its home turf.

GAME REPORTS

SACRAMENTO REPUBLIC FC (3), SWOPE PARK RANGERS (1)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sacramento Republic FC extended its unbeaten run to six games and piled the pressure on the Swope Park Rangers with a 3-1 victory on Wednesday night at Papa Murphy’s Park. Cameron Iwasa signaled the home side’s attacking intent in the 14th minute when he was allowed to carry the ball into the final third and tried a long range effort that had to be stopped by Rangers goalkeeper Adrian Zendejas. Republic FC opened the scoring three minutes later when Iwasa played a through ball to Villyan Bijev, who slotted home a left-footed shot between Zendejas and his near post. The visitors levelled the contest on the half hour mark as Tyler Blackwood pounced on a rebound to find the back of the net against his former club. Blackwood turned provider just before halftime as he played a pass to Felipe Hernandez, who saw his tight-angle shot saved by Republic FC goalkeeper Josh Cohen. Sacramento took the lead 12 minutes after the break as Cameron Iwasa headed home Luis Espino Vazquez’s cross into the bottom right corner. The hosts doubled their advantage in the 76th minute as Elliot Hord played an inch-perfect cross to Jure Matjasic, who fired a first-time finish into the roof of the net. Cohen helped to seal the three points seven minutes from time as he denied Hadji Barry from close range to end the forward’s USL-record streak of consecutive games with a goal at eight.

USLSoccer.com Man of the Match:

Cameron Iwasa, Sacramento Republic FC – Iwasa completed 87 percent of his passes and recorded a goal and an assist as Sacramento continued its impressive run of form.

PORTLAND TIMBERS 2 (0), RENO 1868 FC (2)

PORTLAND, Ore. – Reno 1868 FC picked up its third straight win and clinched a spot in the 2018 USL Cup Playoffs with a 2-0 victory over the Portland Timbers 2 on Wednesday at Providence Park. The hosts came inches away from taking the lead in the seventh minute when Marvin Loria’s corner kick was headed off the crossbar by Adrian Diz Pe. Reno responded with a quality chance of its own 11 minutes later when Christopher Wehan tried a right-footed shot from the right side of the penalty area that was parried to safety by Portland goalkeeper Alex Mangels. The visitors managed to get a shot past Mangels in the 36th minute when Duke Lacroix’s effort from a narrow angle hit the inside of the goalkeeper’s left foot and found the back of the net to give Reno the lead. T2 came close to an equalizer following a set piece situation 14 minutes after halftime when Andre Lewis volleyed a headed clearance from a corner kick towards goal only for it to be cleared off the line by Reno defender Brenton Griffiths. 1868 FC goalkeeper Matt Bersano helped his own cause in the 70th minute by leaping across his goal to catch Jack Barmby’s direct free kick from 22 yards out. The visitors sealed the three points five minutes from time when Antoine Hoppenot unselfishly set up Jochen Graf for an easy tap in for Reno’s second goal of the evening as the pair executed a counterattack to perfection

USLSoccer.com Man of the Match:

Duke Lacroix, Reno 1868 FC – Lacroix completed 81 percent of his passes, won four duels and scored the game-winning goal as Reno clinched its spot in the 2018 USL Cup Playoffs.

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC 2 (2), LA GALAXY II (2)

TACOMA, Wash. – The LA Galaxy II battled back from two goals down to earn a 2-2 draw against Seattle Sounders FC 2 on Wednesday at Cheney Stadium. Handwalla Bwana nearly gave the home side the lead in the 27th minute when his direct free kick sailed just wide of Eric Lopez’s goal, but Seattle opened the scoring three minutes later when Alex Roldan’s right-footed volley from outside the box found the corner. S2 doubled the advantage four minutes later as Lamar Neagle turned and fired a left-footed drive from 22 yards out past a diving Roldan into the opposite corner. The Galaxy II cut the deficit in half six minutes before halftime as Emmanuel Appiah managed to get his free kick up and over the Seattle wall and past goalkeeper Bryan Meredith. Los Dos struck the post two minutes after the break as Frank Lopez found a loose ball in the box after a free kick and tried an acrobatic volley that came back into play off the frame of the goal. Lopez made no mistake in the 80th minute as he chested down Didie Traore’s cross and slotted the ball into the bottom right corner to tie the game at two. The Galaxy II came closest to a winner in the game’s final ten minutes as it was Lopez again who made himself available near the penalty spot, but skied Julian Araujo’s low cross over the crossbar as the sides settled for a draw.

USLSoccer.com Man of the Match:

Frank Lopez, LA Galaxy II – Lopez was an attacking threat for the visitors all night long, attempting four shots and scoring the game-tying goal in the 80th minute to help his side pick up a point.

REAL MONARCHS SLC (2), OKC ENERGY FC (1)

HERRIMAN, Utah. – Real Monarchs SLC snapped a seven-game winless run and inched closer to securing a top-four finish in the West with a much-needed 2-1 victory over OKC Energy FC on Wednesday night at Zions Bank Stadium. The home side got off to a perfect start in the 17th minute when Chandler Hoffman cushioned Sebastian Velasquez’s cross into the path of Sebastian Saucedo, who fired home a right-footed shot from the top of the penalty area into the bottom left corner. The Monarchs’ lead didn’t last long as Energy FC got back on level terms five minutes later when Alex Dixon converted a penalty kick after Deshorn Brown was fouled in the box by Monarchs goalkeeper Connor Sparrow. Real regained control of the contest after the goal and came close to taking the lead again in the 39th minute when Charlie Adams forced OKC goalkeeper Cody Laurendi into a leaping save with a left-footed drive from just outside the penalty area. The hosts broke the deadlock three minutes after halftime with a fluid attacking move that led to Saucedo’s second goal of the night as Maikel Chang played a low cross from the right wing for the midfielder to fire home with a first-time finish. Brown nearly brought Energy FC level again in the 77th minute when he used his speed to get behind the Monarchs’ defense, but his low shot from the right side of the box slid just wide of Sparrow’s far post. Hoffman skewed a left-footed shot wide of the goal that in the first minute of stoppage time that would’ve put the game out of reach but the side held on for its first victory since August 25.

USLSoccer.com Man of the Match:

Sebastian Saucedo, Real Monarchs SLC – Saucedo completed 90 percent of his passes, won four of seven duels and scored both goals to help the Monarchs get back into the win column.

ATL UTD 2 (1), TAMPA BAY ROWDIES (1)

GWINNETT, Ga. – ATL UTD 2 scored deep into second-half stoppage time to snatch a point and play spoiler in a 1-1 draw against the playoff hopeful Tampa Bay Rowdies on Wednesday night at Coolray Field. The hosts had the first shot on target in the match as Rodolfo connected well with a left-footed volley in the center of the penalty area but his strike was right at Rowdies goalkeeper Daniel Vega. Tampa Bay came close to taking the lead in the 15th minute when Martin Vingaard found some space at the top of the box and curled a right-footed shot towards the far corner that just crept beyond the post. ATL UTD 2 were handed a golden opportunity in the 35th minute when Vega gave the ball away to Jackson Conway inside his penalty area but the goalkeeper atoned for his mistake by diving at the forward’s feet to reclaim possession. The Rowdies had two chances to take the lead before the break as Sebastian Guenzatti saw a right-footed shot saved by Atlanta goalkeeper Paul Christensen in the 41st minute, before Vingaard blazed a shot just over the crossbar in first-half stoppage time. Christensen made two more saves shortly after the break, denying Dominic Oduro’s effort from outside the box before getting down quickly to keep out a clear-cut breakaway. The Rowdies finally broke the deadlock in the 68th minute as Sebastian Guenzatti ran onto a headed through pass and beat Christensen with a right-footed shot that found the bottom left corner. It looked as though the visitors were going to hold on for a crucial three points, especially after ATL UTD 2 was reduced to ten men in second-half stoppage time when Andrew Kendall-Moullin was sent off for a professional foul, but Miles Robinson’s left-footed shot from a narrow angle found its way into the back of the net in the game’s final moments to earn his side a late point.

USLSoccer.com Man of the Match:

Miles Robinson, ATL UTD 2 – Robinson completed 82.5 percent of his passes, won six of ten duels and scored in the 93rd minute to earn his side a dramatic point.

PENN FC (2), CHARLOTTE INDEPENDENCE (2)

HARRISBURG, Pa. – The Charlotte Independence and Penn FC played to a 2-2 draw on Wednesday at FNB Field that severely damaged both sides’ playoff hopes. The hosts created the first quality chance of the match in the seventh minute as Paulo Junior tried his luck from close range but saw his effort parried by Charlotte goalkeeper Brandon Miller and cleared behind for a corner. Penn nearly converted the resulting set piece, but Tiago Calvano saw his header strike the far post and come back into play. The visitors opened the scoring ten minutes later as Derek Gebhard got behind the Penn defense and forced goalkeeper Romauld Peiser to rush out of his goal and produce a sliding challenge at the top of the penalty area, but the loose ball went straight to Eamon Zayed and the forward hit the empty net from 30 yards out. Zayed was on hand to double the lead in the 28th minute as Gebhard again lured Peiser out of position before squaring the ball to Zayed for another easy finish into an open goal. Penn cut the deficit in half in the 36th minute as Kyle Venter rose highest in the penalty area to head home Richard Menjivar’s free kick. Menjivar played provider again eight minutes later as his in-swinging cross from the right found Lucky Mkosana, who nodded the ball past Miller for his 11th goal of the season. Charlotte nearly regained the lead three minutes after halftime as Conor O’Brien slid a nifty pass to James Kiffe inside the penalty area, but Peiser got down low quickly to make a sliding kick save to keep the sides level. The hosts looked the more likely side to take the lead in the final 20 minutes as Junior saw a right-footed shot from the left side of the penalty area saved by Miller in the 73rd minute and a similar effort parried away four minutes from time as the sides settled for a point apiece.

USLSoccer.com Man of the Match:

Derek Gebhard, Charlotte Independence – Gebhard was instrumental in both of Charlotte’s goals as he provided a threat behind the Penn defense and assisted on Zayed’s second goal of the night.

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