May 21, 2012
USL PRO ROUNDUP
Week in Review: Lions end Rhinos perfect start
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The Dayton Dutch Lions ended the Rochester Rhinos’ perfect start to the season, and their season-long shutout streak, as the Rhinos needed a second-half goal by Quavas Kirk to earn a 1-1 draw at Sahlen’s Stadium on Friday night.
It took a while for the game to settle, but once it did the Dutch Lions proved the slightly more dangerous of the two teams. JC Banks had to make a clearance off the line after a header from a Dayton corner, but the Rhinos’ shutout streak ended at 568 minutes after a crisp move in the 28th minute found Kyle Knotek in space on the right, and his low cross was met by Gibson Bardsley for the finish.
Bardsley could have added to the Dutch Lions lead early in the second half, beating Kristian Nicht to a through-ball by Mikael McNamara outside the Rhinos goalkeeper’s penalty area, only to shoot wide of the vacant net. That miss came back to haunt the Dutch Lions as in the 74th minute a corner from the left by Banks bounced once and was then directed into the right corner by Kirk for the equalizer. It was Kirk’s first goal since joining the Rhinos last season, earning his side a point and keeping them undefeated, if no longer perfect.
The Rhinos remain at home Tuesday as they host the Brooklyn Italians in the second round of the U.S. Open Cup, with a game against the Philadelphia Union in the third round awaiting the winner. The Dutch Lions will travel to face the Chicago Fire PDL on Tuesday night in their second-round contest.
HARRISBURG 0, PITTSBURGH 0: A pair of standout goalkeeping performances by Pittsburgh’s Hunter Gilstrap and Harrisburg’s Nick Noble led to a scoreless draw between the Harrisburg City Islanders and Pittsburgh Riverhounds at the Skyline Sports Complex.
After a first half that saw the City Islanders on top, they put the ball in the back of the net early in the second half, only for J.T. Noone’s redirection in the penalty area to be ruled out for offside. Both goalkeepers had strong games, with Gilstrap on top of his game and Noble making an outstanding save to deny Darren Amoo on a counter-attack.
Even as the game opened up as the second half went on, the two goalkeepers held sway, although Gilstrap received a slice of luck as a fine effort for the Riverhounds was blocked by Pittsburgh forward Yann Ekra as it appeared headed to the back of the net.
PITTSBURGH 1, RICHMOND 1: Honors ended even between the Pittsburgh Riverhounds and Richmond Kickers at Chartiers Valley Stadium as Richmond’s Matt Delicate tied the game in the 70th minute to earn his side a fourth consecutive draw.
Both teams had chances early, both narrowly missing opening the scoring in the first five minutes as Shintaro Harada hit the post for the Riverhounds. The opening goal finally arrived in the final minute of the first half as Ricky Smith’s finish from Anthony Calvano’s angled cross put the Riverhounds ahead.
There were fewer chances after the break as the game tightened up, but the Kickers were able to get on even terms as Delicate scored his second goal in as many games to get his side back on even terms. Both sides sought a game-winner, the Kickers having a header flash over the crossbar and a low cross by the Riverhounds fail to find a finish, but they had to settle for a point apiece.
The Kickers next travel to face the Aegean Hawks in the second round of the U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday night with the chance to host D.C. United waiting should they take victory. The Riverhounds will host the PDL’s Michigan Bucks in their second-round contest, with a match against the Chicago Fire waiting in the third round for the winner.
HARRISBURG 4, DAYTON 0: Yann Ekra had a hat trick, and the Harrisburg City Islanders ended a run of two consecutive draws with victory against the Dayton Dutch Lions at Skyline Sports Complex.
Ekra struck twice early, opening the scoring in the 14th minute before adding his second two minutes later to put the City Islanders in control. The Dutch Lions had a chance to halve the deficit midway through the half as they were awarded a penalty kick, but City Islanders goalkeeper Nick Noble made a good save to his left to deny Gerrit Jan Bartels.
The City Islanders added to their lead three minutes before the break as Morgan Langley finished from close range off a low cross by Sainey Touray, and Ekra then completed his hat trick in the 56th minute as Harrisburg moved into fifth place in the league standings.
The City Islanders next host the Long Island Rough Riders on Tuesday night in the second round of the U.S. Open Cup.
WILMINGTON 1, CHARLOTTE 1: Hagop Chirishian scored the game-tying goal as the Wilmington Hammerheads remained undefeated at Legion Stadium this season with a draw against the Charlotte Eagles.
The Hammerheads had the best chance to open the scoring in the first half as they were awarded a penalty, but Andriy Budnyy’s shot was well saved by Charlotte goalkeeper Eric Reed. The Eagles then took the lead just before the hour-mark as Darryl Roberts’ volley flew into the roof of the Hammerheads’ goal.
Wilmington pushed to get back in the game, Gareth Evans hitting the post from a free kick, but they got back on even terms with 14 minutes to go as second-half substitute Chirishian found the back of the net. The Hammerheads thought they had stolen all three points in the final minute, but Luke Holmes’ header was ruled out for offside as the game ended in a draw.
The Hammerheads will next host Cal FC in the second round of the U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday night at Legion Stadium. Meanwhile, the Eagles will hit the road for their Open Cup contest, taking on the PDL’s El Paso Patriots.