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Game Report: September 7, Week 27

By USLChampionship.com, 09/07/19, 6:00PM EDT

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Rising FC extends record winning streak to 18 games; Fresno steals late win against Reno

Kicking off a 13-game Saturday in the Championship, the Hartford Athletic put on a show with a 5-1 victory over Loudoun United FC that saw them score all five goals in the first half and finish out the game up a man. Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC and Louisville City FC then dueled to a scoreless draw at Highmark Stadium with City goalkeeper Chris Hubbard stopping multiple chances for the hosts to deny them a third straight win. In Charlotte, the Tampa Bay Rowdies defeated the Independence, 3-1, behind goals from Juan Tejada and Jaime Siaj to get back to winning ways. Bethlehem Steel FC then clawed back twice from a two-goal deficit to end up drawing three-all with North Carolina FC in a six-goal thriller at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary. In Kennesaw, ATL UTD 2 staved off a late comeback from Ottawa Fury FC to defeat the visitors, 3-2, behind a brace from forward Andrew Carleton. Carleton opened the scoring after just 15 seconds for the joint-fifth fastest goal in Championship history, and would go on to score the winner for the hosts after 72 minutes when he pounced on a loose ball in front of goal and sent a point-blank effort into the side netting. Memphis 901 FC then won its first-ever set of back-to-back games with a 4-2 win over Swope Park Rangers at AutoZone Park. Forward Brandon Allen’s second-half brace lifted the hosts, who were in action for the first time in 10 days after a road victory over ATL UTD 2. Rounding out the Eastern Conference matches, Saint Louis FC earned an impressive 1-0 win over Nashville SC at home on Saturday night with midfielder Russell Cicerone’s 77th-minute strike enough to separate the two sides in a tight encounter.

In the Western Conference, Tulsa Roughnecks FC extended its unbeaten run to four games when it squeezed out a 1-0 win over RGV FC on the road off a goal from midfielder Marlon early in the second half. Working through a weather delay, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC and Austin Bold FC drew one apiece after a pause in action near the hour mark then saw the visitors pull one back for a point. Elsewhere, Fresno FC stole all three points late on with a converted by Ali Alihodzic capping off a wild ending to the match that saw three goals in the span of six minutes to close things out. In Carson, LA Galaxy II produced a comfortable 3-1 win over Real Monarchs SLC at Dignity Health Sports Park, with two first half goals and a second-half tally from Iván Gutiérrez helping see things through. ounding out Saturday’s action with the 10:30 p.m. ET kickoffs, Sacramento Republic FC bounced back with a 3-0 win over the Tacoma Defiance, and El Paso Locomotive FC did the same by defeating Las Vegas Lights in a calculated 3-0 showing at Cashman Field. Finally, Phoenix Rising FC extended the longest winning streak in American soccer history with a 1-0 win over San Antonio FC at Casino Arizona Field as MVP frontrunner Solomon Asante once again came to the rescue with a late winner for the hosts. 

 

phoenix rising fc (1) v san antonio fc (0)

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – When it has counted most this season, Phoenix Rising FC’s Solomon Asante has risen to the occasion. Saturday night’s contest against San Antonio FC was no different with the captain’s 87th-minute free kick the difference maker to help Rising FC extend their incredible winning streak to 18 games. The visitors were pesky to handle at the start as forward Frank Lopez and midfielder Jack Barmby gave Phoenix reason to worry in the opening 20 or so minutes. However, Rising FC goalkeeper Zac Lubin, who set a club record in clean sheets on Saturday, was there to see both efforts away and keep the contest scoreless. As the match wore on and both sides kept things entertaining, it was only fitting that the forward Asante was able to step up on a free kick 20 yards out from goal and bend an effort off the far post and in past helpless SAFC goalkeeper Matt Cardone to win it for the Western Conference leaders. Even past Asante’s free kick, though, the visitors kept things interesting as defender Kai Greene hit the post with a looping headed effort off a corner in stoppage time, but they were unable to produce anything tangible on the scoresheet as Phoenix’s dominant run continues. 

USL Championship Man of the Match

Solomon Asante, Phoenix Rising FC – Asante delivered when he was needed most, nailing the late free kick but also creating two additional chances and winning 6 of 9 duels as he pushed his side to victory again.

 

sacramento republic fc (3) v tacoma defiance (0)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – After defeats to Phoenix and LA in the last two weeks, Sacramento Republic FC returned one to the win column with a comprehensive 3-0 win over the Tacoma Defiance at Papa Murphy’s Park. The hosts took just 13 minutes to get off the mark when forward Thomas Enevoldsen finished off a low cross by defender Jordan McCrary at the back post as Enevoldsen also returned to the scoresheet. Just before the half, Enevoldsen then turned from scorer to provider as he set up captain Cameron Iwasa at the edge of the 18-yard box where he curled a left-footed effort past Defiance goalkeeper Trey Muse for his team’s second. Finally, in the 75th minute, Iwasa returned the favor to Enevoldsen when he went streaking down the right flank before playing a pass to the center of the area for Enevoldsen to smash in and see the game off.  

USL Championship Man of the Match

Thomas Enevoldsen, Sacramento Republic FC – The enigmatic Enevoldsen was Sacramento’s spark on Saturday, scoring twice and assisting on Sacramento’s other goal while creating an additional chance in 79 minutes of action.

 

las vegas lights fc (0) v el paso locomotive fc (3)

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – El Paso Locomotive FC defeated 10-man Las Vegas Lights FC, 3-0, at Cashman Field behind a second half penalty from Sebastian Velasquez and another late set of tallies from Josué Gómez to earn their first win in three games. Through a scoreless first half which saw El Paso fail to convert a penalty, Locomotive FC’s best chance at breaking the deadlock came through a spot kick in the 52nd minute, which Velasquez stepped up and sent Vegas goalkeeper Thomas Olsen the wrong way for to give his side the lead. Then, in the 81st minute, Locomotive FC midfielder Omar Salgado danced around a pair of Vegas defenders but saw his subsequent shot blocked only for Gómez to follow closely and finish at the far post past Olsen for his team’s second. The hosts then went down to 10 men in the 85th minute when Junior Sandoval was shown a second yellow card, and then went down a third goal Gómez followed up another save from Olsen by finishing on the first time asking from close out.

USL Championship Man of the Match

Josué Gómez, El Paso Locomotive FC – Coming on in the 79th minute, Gómez scored both of El Paso’s late goals to relieve any pressure and also created an additional chance in the win.

 

LA Galaxy ii (3) v real monarchs slc (1)

CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy II produced a comfortable 3-1 win over Real Monarchs SLC at Dignity Health Sports Park on Saturday night, with two first half goals and a second-half tally from Iván Gutiérrez helping see things through. A common theme around the Championship, the hosts opened the scoring early on as José Hernández got a hold of a spilled cross by Monarchs goalkeeper Andrew Putna. Five minutes later, LA added a second through Geoffrey Acheampong’s corner delivery to captain Tomas Hilliard-Arce, who directed a perfect header to the back post and in. Holding their lead into the second half, LA then found their third goal in the 68th minute when Gutiérrez finished off a pass from Augustine Williams at the near post to all but put the game to bed. The Monarchs would end up finding a goal late on in the 88th minute when Justin Portillo produced a beautiful curling effort that beat LA goalkeeper Eric López at his back post, but the result was unchanged as LA collected their third win in their last four games. 

USL Championship Man of the Match

José Hernández, LA Galaxy II – Hernández scored one and created an additional two chances while winning 10 of 15 duels and completing over 78 percent of his passes in 90 minutes of play. 

 

reno 1868 fc (2) v fresno fc (3)

RENO, Nev. – A crazy ending between Fresno FC and Reno 1868 FC eventually saw the Foxes eek out a late 3-2 win over the hosts, with substitute Amir Alihodzic converting a penalty in stoppage time to earn the three points. The Foxes took the lead in the 23rd minute when Caffa stepped up on a free kick from 30-plus yards out and put an effort on frame that forced Reno goalkeeper Matt Bersano to push it aside only for Chávez to follow up closely and slam it home. Twelve minutes later, the captain Caffa converted a penalty for the visitors to add to their lead and put them in the driving seat. Though both sides would create a number of additional chances throughout the match, it would take until the 89th minute for Reno to find their first of the game when defender Duke Lacroix and the substitute Musovski linked up with Musovski placing a headed effort off the cross on goal and in. Then, lightning struck twice as Musovski scored a near identical goal three minutes later, again assist by Lacroix. However, Reno were whistled for a late penalty and gave the visitors an opportunity to take the points away, which Fresno took advantage of as Alihodzic scored the winner in dramatic fashion.

USL Championship Man of the Match

Duke Lacroix, Reno 1868 FC – Despite the heartbreaking end to the match, Lacroix’s impact on the match saw him register both assists on Musovski’s late tallies with the defender also creating an additional two chances and winning 6 of 10 duels on the night. 

 

colorado Springs switchbacks fc (1) v austin bold fc (1)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Col. – Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC and Austin Bold FC drew one-all at Weidner Field after a delay around the hour mark due to inclement weather eventually saw visitors Bold FC pull a goal back after the restart to seal a point. Austin came closest to opening the scoring in the first half through Xavier Báez, who had an effort saved by young goalkeeper Abraham Rodriguez to keep the visitors at bay. On the other end, Switchbacks FC midfielder Rony Argueta had a shot saved by Bold FC goalkeeper Diego Restrepo to hold things level. Five minutes before the half, though, Switchbacks FC broke through as forward César Romero powered an effort past Restrepo and put his team ahead at home. Inclement weather would cause a slight delay in the match around the hour mark, and the restart was kind to visitors Bold FC as they equalized off through Gustavo Rissi’s header following Sonny Guadarrama’s corner kick. In the match’s dying moments, Restrepo again came up big for Bold FC, denying Kwasi Donsu in the 89th minute to help his team take a point back to Austin. 

USL Championship Man of the Match

Diego Restrepo, Austin Bold FC – Restrepo was a major presence in goal for Austin, and despite conceding the one goal to Romero, his five saves were enough to help Bold FC escape with a point against Switchbacks FC. 

 

rio grande valley fc (0) v tulsa roughnecks fc (1)

EDINBURG, Tx. – Tulsa Roughnecks FC picked up its second win in three games after defeating Rio Grande Valley FC, 1-0, at H-E-B Park thanks to an early second-half strike from midfielder Marlon. The hosts imposed themselves on Tulsa and put goalkeeper Sean Lewis to work with chances for Carlos Small, Nico Lemoine, and Jesús Enríquez all denied. Then, in the 50th minute, Tulsa put its stamp on the match when Rodrigo da Costa’s outrageous backheel to play in Marlon then saw the midfielder push an effort to the far post and in on one of the visitors first opportunities of the night. Looking to build on momentum, da Costa then put RGV FC goalkeeper Tyler Deric to work just after the hour mark with a chance that forced the shotstopper into smothering a close-range effort. As the clock wound down, RGV had an effort following a set piece cleared off the line by Tulsa defender Cyprian Hedrick, who would be the difference maker as his team both won and collected another clean sheet. 

USL Championship Man of the Match

Marlon, Tulsa Roughnecks FC – Marlon put away the game’s lone goal and was incredibly successful in attack, creating an additional chance, winning 10 of 14 duels, and completing nearly 88 percent of his passes in 90 minutes. 

 

saint louis fc (1) v nashville Sc (0)

SAINT LOUIS, Mo. – Saint Louis FC did well to improve its playoff position as it grinded out an important and equally impressive win over Nashville SC thanks to a late winner from midfielder Russell Cicerone at home. The hosts came out the gate firing and created a chance for midfielder Mastanabal Kacher, who sent an effort just wide of the near post after just three minutes of action. Kacher had another quality look in the 40th minute when the hosts broke away on a counter attack, but again the midfielder sent his shot just wide of the post. Still scoreless well into the second half, Saint Louis eventually broke the deadlock in the 77th minute when Cicerone cut in-and-out on a defender before ripping a low effort past Nashville goalkeeper Matt Pickens to the far post and in. Midfielder Kadeem Dacres would nearly double the advantage in the 89th minute when he put Pickens to work, but the hosts’ one goal would be enough to carry them through and extend their winning run to three straight games. 

USL Championship Man of the Match

Russell Cicerone, Saint Louis FC – Cicerone’s tally separated the two sides on Saturday night with the forward also winning 6 of 11 duels in 90 minutes to help Saint Louis end its homestand on a high note.  

 

memphis 901 fc (4) v swope park rangers (2)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Memphis 901 FC earned back-to-back victories for the first time in club history on Saturday after a 4-2 win over the Swope Park Rangers at AutoZone Park came via goals from Pierre Da Silva, Joshua Morton, and Brandon Allen. Through a scoreless opening 35 minutes, Swope Park were awarded the first real opportunity to go in front through a penalty kick for forward Wilson Harris, who converted from 12 yards out to put his side ahead. However, a flurry of two goals in quick succession between the 36th and 38th minutes for Da Silva and Morton saw the hosts quickly flip their position in the game and take a 2-1 lead. Swope Park would carry that deficit into the second half but found an equalizer after 50 minutes as midfielder Rassambek Akhmatov slid through Zé Pedro, who did well to push a low effort past Memphis goalkeeper Jeff Caldwell. Memphis turned up the pressure though, and in the 67th minute forward Brandon Allen latched onto a pass from midfielder Cameron Lindley and drove a shot past Rangers goalkeeper John Pulskamp to restore the lead. Pushing on, Allen would then bag his second and his team’s fourth and final on the night when he tapped in a cross from forward Elliott Collier in the 77th minute to seal the result.

USL Championship Man of the Match

Brandon Allen, Memphis 901 FC – Allen scored his team’s third and fourth goal on the night to help drive them to victory while also creating an additional chance in 90 minutes of action. 

 

atlanta united 2 (3) v ottawa fury fc (2)

KENNESAW, Ga. – ATL UTD 2 clung on to a late win over Ottawa Fury FC at Fifth Third Bank Stadium on Saturday night, halting a three-game losing run and putting a small dent in Fury FC’s hopes of climbing up the Eastern Conference standings to improve its playoff position. The hosts jumped out immediately, scoring after 15 seconds when Andrew Carleton chipped Fury FC goalkeeper Callum Irving to score the joint-fifth fastest goal in Championship history. Then, ATL UTD 2 doubled its lead when midfielder Patrick Okonkwo tapped in a loose ball following a cross from out wide to provide an additional cushion. Fury FC would work its way back into the game before the halftime break, though, as midfielder Wal Fall converted a penalty in the 39th minute to grab a goal back. Then, in the 70th minute, Fury FC were able to equalize following a set piece that saw Hadji Barry finish off a pass from Maxim Tissot. However, the lead was short-lived as forward Andrew Carleton restored the lead for good for the hosts, tapping home a ball that Irving misjudged off a cross to gift his side the winner. 

USL Championship Man of the Match

Andrew Carleton, ATL UTD 2 – Carleton’s brace was the difference maker for ATL UTD 2 with the forward both opening and closing the scoring for the hosts, and he also created one chance and completed just over 73 percent of his passes in 90 minutes of action.

 

pittsburgh riverhounds sc (0) v louisville city fc (0)

PITTSBURGH, Penn. – Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC and Louisville City FC dueled to a scoreless draw at in a tense affair at Highmark Stadium. Pittsburgh outshot their counterparts, 4-1, on shots on target, and the hosts got their best look of the first half after 35 minutes when forward Steevan Dos Santos hit a snapshot low to Louisville goalkeeper Chris Hubbard’s right, only for the shotstopper to get down and push it away for a corner. Eight minutes later, Pittsburgh’s Kevin Kerr forced another great save out of Hubbard when he headed a powerful cross from out wide down and towards the far post where the netminder met it with a glove and again parried it away. Through halftime and into the second half, Louisville’s best look came after 63 minutes when a goalmouth scramble saw defender Oscar Jimenez’s close-range effort kept out by Pittsburgh goalkeeper Kyle Morton. The result keeps Pittsburgh in fifth place and sees Louisville extend its unbeaten streak to six games.

USL Championship Man of the Match

Pat McMahon, Louisville City FC – McMahon was one of the stronger players defensively for Louisville City as he helped the team keep another clean sheet with two tackles and one clearance, also winning four of his five aerial duels and 10 of 14 duels total.  

 

north carolina fc (3) v bethlehem steel fc (3)

CARY, N.C. – Bethlehem Steel FC twice clawed back from a two-goal deficit against North Carolina FC to draw 3-3 with the hosts at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary on Saturday. The hosts found early success with captain Austin da Luz opening the score after nine minutes through a solo effort that saw him eventually cut a right-footed effort across his body that beat Steel FC goalkeeper Todd Morton. NCFC would then double their lead in the 20th minute off a set-piece as Graham Smith found Robert Kristo on a clipped ball into the box, and Kristo’s header pinged off the far post and in. However, Steel FC pulled one back just before halftime when Issa Rayyan picked out Yomi Scintu at the near post with a low, sweeping ball that Scintu was able to direct past NCFC goalkeeper Alex Tambakis. Barely into the second half, the hosts restored their two-goal advantage when Kristo scored his second of the game, pouncing on a loose touch and poking an effort past Morton. On the hour mark, though, Steel FC captain James Chambers again breathed life into his side with a goal from a free kick just outside the 18-yard box that also kissed the post on its way in. Completing the comeback, Steel FC scored their third goal in the 84th minute, much to the dismay of the hosts, when Shanyder Borgelin bundled a loose ball into the box over the line to edge out a point.

USL Championship Man of the Match

Robert Kristo, North Carolina FC – Kristo’s brace set him above the fold this evening as the forward scored on both of his two shots on target while also completing over 88 percent of his passes in the draw.  

 

charlotte independence (1) v tampa bay rowdies (3)

MATTHEWS, N.C. – The Tampa Bay Rowdies got back to winning ways with a 3-1 victory over the Charlotte Independence at Sportsplex at Matthews on Saturday night. Looking to bounce back after a 2-1 loss to Nashville at home last weekend, the Rowdies started strong against the Independence and opened the scoring after just seven minutes as midfielder Leo Fernandes put a ball on a plate for forward Juan Tejada, who tapped in from a couple yards out and beat Charlotte goalkeeper Brandon Miller at his near post. The Rowdies would keep their lead through halftime and then extend it in the 49th minute when Tejada again found the back of the net, tapping in a cross this time from forward Sebastian Guenzatti from close out. The visitors would find their third of the night after 74 minutes when substitutes Jaime Siaj and Lucky Mkosana linked up, resulting in Siaj finishing off a one-two to all but secure the three points. Charlotte’s lone goal came in the 83rd minute when Hugh Roberts finished eventually helped the ball over the line after a goalmouth scramble that involved multiple blocked and saved efforts, but the Rowdies would finish the night comfortably ahead. 

USL Championship Man of the Match

Juan Tejada, Tampa Bay Rowdies – Tejada’s brace lifted the Rowdies over the Independence with the young Panamanian international also winning two of two duels and completing over 77 percent of his passes in the win. 

 

hartford athletic (5) v loudoun united fc (1)

HARTFORD, Conn. – The Hartford Athletic earned their second win in the last three games after a 5-1 win over Loudoun United FC at Dillon Stadium to kick off Saturday’s slate in the Championship. Starting the more offensive of the two sides, the hosts began creating chances from the get-go and got their first goal after just five minutes when midfielder Danny Barrera headed home a loose ball from close range after midfielder Harry Swartz had twice hit the bar. Two minutes later, the Athletic added their second off a corner kick as forward Hugh Alexander Dixon rose to meet the delivery from midfielder Ryan Williams and thumped a powerful header to the far post and in. Finding a third in quick succession, Williams then stepped up to the penalty spot in the ninth minute only to see his attempt from 12 yards out saved by Loudoun goalkeeper Calle Brown, though Williams was able to hit home the rebound for a three-goal lead inside 10 minutes. The visitors pulled one back after 21 minutes when midfielder Gordon Wild took a ball inside the box toward the byline and hit a shot across Hartford goalkeeper Cody Cropper to the far post and in, but the two-goal deficit was short lived. In the 32nd minute, Dixon got his second goal of the night when, in possession on the left flank, he proceeded to turn and take a touch inside before unleashing an effort from 30-plus yards out that sailed past Brown and in. Then, Swartz finally added his name to the scoresheet in the 40th minute when he cleaned up an attempt from Dixon and swept home the rebound from a yard out to give Hartford a fifth goal. Taking the 5-1 lead through halftime, Hartford had an opportunity to put a sixth goal on the board when they were awarded a penalty in the 51st minute after Loudoun defender Jeremy Garay was sent off for a last defender challenge on Dixon. However, again up to the task, Brown saved Sem de Wit’s penalty to produce a second penalty save on the night. Hartford would close down the match up a man and four goals and put a dent in Loudoun’s playoff hopes heading into September.

USL Championship Man of the Match

Hugh Alexander Dixon, Hartford Athletic – Dixon was Hartford’s main man on Saturday afternoon, scoring a pair of goals and creating an additional chance while also winning six of nine duels, including two of two in the air.  

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