May 14, 2012
USL PRO ROUNDUP
Week in review: Rhinos Maintain Perfect Start
CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Rochester Rhinos tied the USL PRO record for wins to start the season, while also extending their shutout streak to six games, as they took a 1-0 victory against the Charleston Battery at Blackbaud Stadium on Saturday night.
The Battery carried the play for the majority of the game, forcing good saves from Rhinos goalkeeper Kristian Nicht throughout the contest, but they were unable to find a breakthrough as Nicht finished with 10 saves. The Rhinos then took the lead in the 61st minute as Danny Earls drove a finish from 30 yards out just inside the right post for his first goal since returning to the club from a stint in Major League Soccer.
The Rhinos tied the record set by the Richmond Kickers last season, when they opened the USL PRO season with six consecutive victories. The Rhinos will have a chance to break the record in their next outing as they host the Dayton Dutch Lions this Friday night at Sahlen’s Stadium at 7:35 p.m. ET.
The Battery, who had their three-game winning streak ended, get next weekend off before they host a U.S. Open Cup second round contest at Blackbaud Stadium on Tuesday, May 22. They then host the Los Angeles Blues on Saturday, May 26 at 7:30 p.m.
ORLANDO LIONS 1, ANTIGUA BARRACUDA 0: An 89th-minute own goal gave Orlando City its second consecutive last-gasp victory as the Lions defeated Antigua Barracuda FC at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.
Troy Dublin was credited with the goal after Max Griffin, brought on as a late substitute, picked up the rebound from a shot by Jamie Watson and fired across the face of goal. Dublin attempted to clear, but instead turned the ball into his own net. Orlando had been denied previously by a handful of good saves and clearances off the line as Keita de Castro played a strong game in goal.
Antigua had their chances as well, hitting the post twice in the first half with Ranja Christian’s turning shot the closest either side came to breaking the deadlock before the break. Orlando also had to make a clearance off the line with goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo beaten in the second half, but Stefan Smith’s shot was poorly struck, allowing it to be cleared.
LOS ANGELES BLUES 1, DAYTON DUTCH LIONS 0: Allan Russell redeemed himself for an earlier penalty miss as the Los Angeles Blues’ captain gave his side victory against the Dayton Dutch Lions at Miami Valley South Stadium.
After an even first half, the Blues began to assert themselves as the second half wore on, with Dayton goalkeeper Matt Williams being forced into an outstanding save to deny a shot headed for the top corner. The Blues then got the chance to take the lead from the spot as Mettin Copier committed a foul in the penalty area, but Russell skied his shot over the crossbar in the 67th minute.
Six minutes later, though, Russell found the back of the net, capitalizing after a corner fell to him inside the Dayton penalty area. Dayton pressed furiously for an equalizer, Joel DeLass having his fine shot tipped onto the left post by Blues goalkeeper Jose Miranda, but that was as close as they would come to tying the game.
ROCHESTER RHINOS 1, CHARLOTTE EAGLES 0: Conor Chinn scored his first goal for the Rochester Rhinos as the club extended its perfect start to the season to five games with victory against the Charlotte Eagles at Charlotte Christian Stadium.
Chinn gave his side the lead in the 18th minute, and from there the Rhinos’ defense did the rest. Kristian Nicht made a pair of saves, including a key stop of Darren Toby late in the first half, as the Rhinos looked dangerous on the counter-attack, Charlotte goalkeeper Eric Reed having to make a double-save in the 70th minute to keep the Eagles’ deficit just one.
LOS ANGELES BLUES 3, PITTSBURGH RIVERHOUNDS 0: The Los Angeles Blues took their second victory in as many games, and extended their undefeated streak to four games, as they scored all of their goals in the second half to take victory against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds at Chartiers Valley Stadium.
After an uneventful first half, the Blues took the lead in the opening minute of the second half as Scottish midfielder Ricky Waddell opened the scoring. Five minutes later, new addition Bright Dike opened his account for the Blues, the on-loan Portland Timbers striker scoring to make it 2-0.
The Blues then wrapped up the game with just more than 20 minutes to play as Matt Fondy scored his second goal of the season. Los Angeles moved into fourth place in the USL PRO standings with the victory, while extending the Riverhounds’ losing streak to four games.
RICHMOND KICKERS 2, HARRISBURG CITY ISLANDERS 2: The Richmond Kickers twice took the lead, but the Harrisburg City Islanders twice hit back quickly, as honors ended even at City Stadium.
The Kickers took an early lead as Matt Delicate scored his first goal of the season from a cross by Chris Agorsor in the eighth minute. A minute later, though, the City Islanders were level as Sainey Touray scored his first goal of the season to tie the game.
The Kickers regained the lead with 12 minutes to go, this time with Delicate playing provider for Agorsor to score his first goal for the Kickers. But Harrisburg responded again, as Yann Ekra notched the equalizer in the 80th minute, earning his side a point.
ORLANDO CITY FC LIONS 2, ANTIGUA BARRACUDA 1: Orlando City rallied from an early deficit to win its second match in Antigua as Max Griffin and Wes Allen provided the goals for a 2-1 victory against Antigua Barracuda FC on Sunday night at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.
Antigua had taken the lead in the 20th minute after forward Stefan Smith was brought down in the penalty area by Lions defender Keiron Bernard. Quinton Griffith stepped up and converted into the left corner of the net, giving the Barracudas’ their first successful penalty of the season after having missed three previous efforts earlier in the season.
Orlando responded well, and was back on even terms six minutes later as John Rooney’s good through-ball played Griffin into the right side of the penalty area. Griffin was able to shoot low into the left corner to even the game. The Lions then took the lead shortly after the halftime break, Allen connecting well with Anthony Pulis’ corner from the right in the 49th minute for what would prove to be the game-winning goal.