By MIKE GRAMAJO
Arizona United SC rebounded from their mortifying USL Pro debut after Jonathan Top’s late-game winner claimed a 2-1 victory over the Sacramento Republic FC on Saturday night at the Peoria Sports Complex.
The Republic broke the deadlock when forward Thomas Steward found Rodrigo Lopez, who struck from close range to beat goalkeeper Evan Newton in the 27th minute. Arizona, however, responded back with the equalizer 10 minutes later when midfielder Matt Kassel found Brandon Swartzendruber, who slotted the ball into the back of the net for the first-ever goal in the club’s history.
Arizona could have gone up 2-1 before the halftime mark when the referee whistled a foul inside the box and sent off defender Micky Daly with a second yellow card. But Kassel’s penalty kick was denied by goalkeeper Dominik Jakubek moments later.
Kassel eventually made up for that miss, paving the way for the game winner when his cross found defender Joseph Toby. Toby then headed the ball down as Jonathan Top executed on the loose ball for the winner in the 85th minute.
With the result, Sacramento now find themselves in a two-game losing streak, while Arizona earned their first-ever victory in front of 3,014 home fans.
Here’s a closer look at the rest of the action in Week 5 in the USL Pro:
LOS DOS RALLY BACK, TOP ORANGE COUNTY BLUES
The LA Galaxy II provisionally regained first place in the standings, defeating the Orange County Blues FC, 3-1, on Saturday night at the StubHub Center.
The Blues wasted no time in taking the lead, scoring in the ninth minute when midfielder Allan Russell found Jiovanni Santana.
Despite trailing in the first half, Los Dos would start to rally back when Charlie Rugg’s 49th-minute goal equalized the match. Jack McBean, who came into the game as a substitute, orchestrated the next two goals.
Chandler Hoffman gave Los Dos the lead in the 73rd minute after McBean kept an Oscar Sorto cross alive, heading the ball toward Hoffman as he poked the ball in from close range. Laurent Courtois provided the insurance goal in the dying minutes when McBean found the Frenchmen, who chipped the ball over the keeper for the 3-1 scoreline.
DUTCH LIONS EXTEND UNBEATEN STREAK, DEFEAT CITY ISLANDERS
The Dayton Dutch Lions extended their unbeaten streak to three games, defeating the Harrisburg City Islanders, 1-0, at the Skyline Sports Complex.
Dayton forward Aaron Schoefeld provided the only goal of the match when he drew a penalty kick in the 40th minute after Harrisburg goalkeeper Nick Noble brought him down in the box. Schoefeld converted the penalty kick by sending the ball toward the center-right corner.
RIVERHOUNDS AND KICKERS SETTLE FOR DRAW
A second-half rally prevented the Pittsburgh Riverhounds from earning three points, as the Richmond Kickers battled to a 2-2 draw on Saturday night at City Stadium.
Brian Ownby and Jhonny Arteaga gave the Riverhounds a 2-0 lead, but it was Kickers midfielder Kyle Porter who cut the lead after his screamer in the 65th minute hit the top right corner of the net. Matthew Delicate equalized the match in the 77th minute when his strike from close range went through Pittsburgh goalkeeper Michael Lisch.
RHINOS SCORE TWICE IN WIN OVER FIRE RESERVES
After starting the season winless, the Rochester Rhinos got back to winning ways as they defeated the Chicago Fire Reserves on Monday afternoon at Toyota Park.
Rhinos forward Minh Vu gave his side the 1-0 lead in the 22nd minute after he was able to split through two Fire defenders before chipping the ball over the goalkeeper. JC Banks sealed the deal in the 81st minute when midfielder Johnny Mendoza found the forward, who then slotted the ball behind goalkeeper Alec Kann.
BATTERY AND RED BULL RESERVES DRAW AT BLACKBAUD
The Charleston Battery are still in search for their first win in 2014 after drawing 1-1 against the New York Red Bull Reserves on Friday night at Blackbaud Stadium.
After a scoreless first half, the Red Bull Reserves broke the deadlock in the 66th minute after Michael Bustamante converted on a penalty kick. The Battery responded eight minutes later when Heviel Cordoves’ low cross found Dane Kelly, who buried the equalizer.
What did you think of Week five? Which team surprised you the most? Can Los Dos build momentum? Do you think Dayton will continue their unbeaten streak?
Share your thoughts below.