June 5, 2012
USL PRO ROUNDUP
Week in review: Hertzog Leads Hammerheads To Victory
WILMINGTON, N.C. – Corey Hertzog had two goals and an assist as the Wilmington Hammerheads handed Orlando City its first defeat of the USL PRO season after they rallied from an early deficit at Legion Stadium on Saturday night.
Orlando had taken the lead in the 13th minute as Dennis Chin beat Wilmington goalkeeper Alex Horwath to a through-ball, poking his finish past the goalkeeper and into the back of the net. But the Hammerheads were able to hit back through their recent loan addition from the New York Red Bulls, with a slick passing move springing the former Reading United standout in the 26th minute as he rounded Orlando goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo and finished to tie the game.
The second half was delayed as the lights went out during the halftime break, but when the game got back underway the Hammerheads continued to press. They took the lead in the 56th minute as a long throw-in by Hertzog found Mark Briggs, who drove home his finish. Then with Orlando pushing for an equalizer, Hertzog scored on a counter-attack in stoppage time to seal victory for the Hammerheads.
Wilmington will hit the road next weekend as they visit the Rochester Rhinos on Friday night at Sahlen’s Stadium for a 7:35 p.m. kickoff. Orlando returns home to face the Charleston Battery next Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. at the Florida Citrus Bowl.
CHARLESTON BATTERY 3, PITTSBURGH RIVERHOUNDS 1: Nicki Paterson had a pair of goals as the Charleston Battery took victory against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds at Chartiers Valley Stadium. Paterson became USL PRO’s leading scorer with his two goals, giving him five in eight games this season.
Neither side was able to create much in the way of chances for most of the first half, but the Battery struck twice in quick succession before the break through Paterson. The Scottish midfielder first capitalized to fire home a loose ball in the Riverhounds’ penalty area in the final minute of the half before curling home a free kick in stoppage time to double his side’s advantage.
The Riverhounds would be reduced to 10 men in the 57th minute as Matt Kassel was sent off for denying a goal-scoring opportunity, but pulled a goal back from the penalty spot three minutes later. Rich Costanzo scored from the spot after a foul in the Battery’s penalty area. But the Battery restored their two-goal advantage in the 69th minute as Dane Kelly completed a sweeping counter-attack.
HARRISBURG CITY ISLANDERS 1, RICHMOND KICKERS 1: Honors ended even between the Harrisburg City Islanders and Richmond Kickers for the second time this season after the game was called in the 84th minute following a lightning delay and torrential downpour that left conditions at Skyline Sports Complex unplayable with the teams tied. Richmond’s Shane Johnson and Harrisburg’s Garret Pettis each scored their first professional goals in the draw.
While both sides had chances in the first half, Kickers goalkeeper Ronnie Pascale making a pair of outstanding saves late on, the teams went to the halftime break scoreless. The chances kept coming as the sides played an entertaining game in trying conditions, and the Kickers broke through in the 68th minute as Stanley Nyazamba’s far-post cross from a free kick on the right found Johnson, who headed home into the left side of the net.
Harrisburg got back on even terms 11 minutes later as Pettis scored with almost his first touch after being brought on as a substitute less than a minute earlier. The former City Islanders Academy member got on the end of a cross by Jason Pelletier to tie the game. The teams were then taken off the field due to lightning in the 84th minute, and after more than an hour delay the game was called as heavy rain swept through City Island, rendering conditions unplayable.
CHARLESTON BATTERY 1, DAYTON DUTCH LIIONS 0: Jose Cuevas’ close-range finish gave the Charleston Battery victory against the Dayton Dutch Lions at Miami Valley Hospital Stadium, moving the Battery into second place in the USL PRO standings and setting up a meeting between the league’s top two clubs next Saturday night.
After a scoreless first half, Kelly’s introduction as a substitute after the break proved crucial as he was able to knife into the right side of the penalty area in the 72nd minute and cut back a cross to the near post. His delivery found the run of Cuevas, who clipped a shot across the face of goal and in off the left post.
The Dutch Lions tried to respond, and continue their recent run of form that had seen them advance to the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup, but the Battery were able to withstand their late pressure to take their second victory in as many games from their trip north and jump past the Rochester Rhinos in the USL PRO standings.
The Battery will travel again next Saturday as they visit division-leader Orlando City at the Florida Citrus Bowl at 7:30 p.m. The Dutch Lions, meanwhile, will visit the PDL’s Michigan Bucks on Tuesday in the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup at Oakland University before returning to league play as they host the Pittsburgh Riverhounds next Saturday night at Careflight Field at 7:30 p.m.
RICHMOND KICKERS 1, ROCHESTER RHINOS 0: Ronnie Pascale put in a virtuoso performance in goal for the Richmond Kickers, allowing Luke Vercollone’s early goal earn his side victory against the Rochester Rhinos at Sahlen’s Stadium. The victory allowed Richmond to pick up their second win in their last three outings, and complete their weekend road trip with four points.
Richmond took the lead in the fifth minute as Nozomi Hiroyama found space just outside the Rhinos penalty area. He took a curling shot from the left side toward the right corner that hit the underside of the crossbar, but Vercollone was on hand to head home the rebound and put his side ahead.
From that point on, the stage became Pascale’s as he finished with 10 saves on the night. He was at his best late in the first half, when he made three crucial saves before the break to keep his side on top, and then made an outstanding diving stop midway through the second half to deny JC Banks, whose shot was pegged for the right corner of the net. The Rhinos continued to push to the last, Gustavo Zamudio sending a good chance wide from a free kick in stoppage time, but the Kickers and a make-shift back four that included center forward Jason Yeisley were able to hold on to claim victory.
The Rhinos next host the Wilmington Hammerheads next Friday night at Sahlen’s Stadium at 7:35 p.m. The Kickers will return to City Stadium as they host the Charlotte Eagles next Saturday night at 7 p.m.
Friday, June 8
Wilmington at Rochester, 7:35 p.m. ET
Saturday, June 9
Wilmington at Harrisburg, 7 p.m. ET
Charlotte at Richmond, 7 p.m. ET
Charleston at Orlando, 7:30 p.m. ET
Pittsburgh at Dayton, 8 p.m. ET
Friday, June 15
Rochester at Harrisburg, 6 p.m. ET
Antigua at Charleston, 7:30 p.m. ET
Richmond at Wilmington, 7:30 p.m. ET
Dayton at Los Angeles, 7:30 p.m. PT
Saturday, June 16
Richmond at Charlotte, 8 p.m. ET
Sunday, June 17
Rochester at Pittsburgh, 3 p.m. ET
Antigua at Orlando, 6 p.m. ET
Dayton at Los Angeles, 5 p.m. PT