USSF Division 2

USSF Division 2 Week Two: A Look Ahead



Three teams who sat out last weekend's Division 2 opening matches get their chances to debut in the 2010 second-division season in Week Two action.

Crystal Palace Baltimore and Tampa Bay both play their first-ever game at this level, squaring off in Maryland. Meanwhile, out west, last season's table-toppers Portland host Rochester. Puerto Rico remains the only Division 2 club yet to play, and won't open the 2010 season until Wednesday.

St. Louis soccer fans get to officially welcome their brand-new club when A.C. St. Louis hosts the Austin Aztex Saturday night. A 2-0 loss against Carolina

Here's a brief look at this weekend's match-ups:


FC Tampa Bay Rowdies at Crystal Palace Baltimore, 7pm

Tampa Bay makes the trip up to visit Baltimore as both clubs makes a debut of sorts. Crystal Palace made the transition from third division to second, while Tampa comes in as an expansion team. Expect the game to reflect the situation – two teams feeling each other out, trying to figure what it will take to succeed on this level. Baltimore had a shake up earlier this week, as co-head coach Pete Medd stepped down to focus on the club's overall business development. With Jim Cherneski still in charge, it likely won't have a negative impact on Baltimore.

Paul Dalglish will make his head coaching debut, looking to steer the expansion Rowdies to a playoff berth. He has some interesting assets at his disposal,

NSC Minnesota Stars at Carolina Railhawks, 7pm

Offensive struggles plagued Carolina in last week's home opener against A.C. St. Louis, but a formidable defense and brand new opponent translated into a 2-0 win. The Railhawks are hampered with a few injury issues, though Gregory Richardson and Floyd Franks near a comeback.

This week's match-up features yet another expansion team, as Minnesota will make the trip to WakeMed Park. With Louis Crayton on the sidelines, the Stats will either turn to Joe Warren, or new signing Matt Van Oekel in goal. It won't really matter who fills in — the Stars face a tough challenge against a solid Carolina team.


Rochester Rhinos at Portland Timbers, 7pm

The new and improved Rhinos make the trip out west to help the Timbers open a final season in Division 2 soccer. A disappointing end to what had been a successful 2009 season might still be lingering for Portland, but with the opener right around the corner last season will be a distant memory.

The Timbers welcome a Rochester team still in transition that drew Miami 1-1 last weekend. It's another tough trip for the Rhinos, who have to rebuild on the fly as they play a second straight game on the road. Even a draw would be a good result for Rochester.

Austin Aztex at A.C. St. Louis, 7:10pm

Soccer fans in St. Louis who have been clamoring for an MLS team will get their chance to show what kind of support can be mustered for a division 2 club as A.C. St. Louis hosts their inaugural opener. Austin visits Anheuser-Busch Soccer Park, fresh off a confidence-building 2-0 win against defending champions Montreal. Another positive performance out of Austin would really suggest the club has turned a corner.

St. Louis performed admirably against Carolina, though in the end weren't on the same level as the title contenders. Still in search of their first goal, they signed a 19-year-old Brazilian forward, Alex Titton, this week, in hopes to remedy that quickly.

Vancouver Whitecaps at Miami FC, 7:30pm

The Whitecaps make the long journey to Florida in search of a second straight win against Miami FC. Vancouver took a long time to get started offensively against Minnesota, and will need to perform better against a Miami side that had a uneven performance of their own last week. Christian Gomez remains the player to watch for Miami — if he can get things going, he'll be a headache for Vancouver to deal with.

  • Aaron in StL

    AC STL actually signed Titton in Feb, just finally cleared work permit issues. I believe it’s the same with about 3 or 4 other foreign players. Have a short bench at this point.

    Should be a good crowd out this weekend.


  • brant

    Carolina’s ‘offensive struggles’ game down to 2-3 good saves and at least one hit off the post. Truth is, that game was never in doubt, as the Railhawks grabbed control at kickoff and owned the pitch for 90 minutes. It’s too bad there were only 2500 of us there to see it – it was a great night for soccer.

    Daniel Paladini and Amir Lowery are good enough to play for most MLS teams, and controlled the middle of the field. The ‘offensive struggles’ were just as often trying to make a Sportscenter-highlight pass instead of shooting as anything else.


  • Aaron in StL

    That being said, both goals came against a 10 man side (as ridiculous as the situation was). Once it was 11 aside it was a much more even game


  • fischy

    Tampa will also have Drew Yates, who left the DCU camp on Friday. He’s joining the Rowdies in Baltimore. Yates wasn’t always effective, but he made some amazing runs through defenses in the United kit — admittedly, in exhibition games. Maybe, those are the kinds of things that drive coaches crazy, s it looks like selfish, dead-end play, but I think he’s got some good, raw potential. Wouldn’t surprise me if does exceptionally well when he’s playing every week and works his way back to MLS by next season, if not sooner.


  • scott

    The MLS needs to invest in the NASL and make it that if you come in the last to spots in the MLS then you get demoted and if you finish top 2 in NASL you move up to MLS it would be great to see a European style format like that


  • jon d

    it wish it could happen, but it won’t, team owner’s will never allow there investments to go to a lower league. Maybe if some how mls and ussf d 2, where on equal grounds, but there not.


  • brant

    yeah, but the guy they were missing just buried his head and dribbled anywhere he ran with the ball. he was pretty useless aside from clogging space. if you replace him and Cosgriff with Ralston and someone who can complete a pass, St Louis is a much more dangerous team than they showed the other night.


  • Mike

    They do, but Kante hadn’t received his yet, and they didn’t find out he needed another form of ID until 5 min before kickoff, so he had to go to the hotel to get his passport.


  • Mike

    St. Louis only had 4 outfield players on its bench, none of whom were midfielders. This was because of injuries, pending work permits, and one player having a baby. That’s why they didn’t want to lose Kante for the whole game.


  • wk

    i know it’s the ‘first’ year of the new D2 league, but man they need a new badge in a bad way. that one is just terrible.


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