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USL Playoff Rewind: Red Bulls II eliminate Rhinos; Swope Park Rangers edge Blues; and more

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The USL’s final four is set, and the league will see a new champion crowned following the elimination of last year’s winner.

Louisville City, New York Red Bulls II, Swope Park Rangers and Vancouver Whitecaps II booked spots in the league’s final four following the conclusion of the quarterfinal round. All four home teams won their quarterfinal matches.

Red Bulls II’s win seals a semifinal date with Louisville City on October 16 at Red Bull Arena while Swope Park Rangers host Whitecaps II one day prior.  The two winners will then meet for the final on Oct. 23.

Here’s a closer look at the quarterfinal results:

RED BULLS II EDGE RHINOES IN PENALTY KICKS

Red Bulls II required penalty kicks in their defeat of the reigning USL champions, the Rochester Rhinos. After finishing level, 3-3, as full time expired, Red Bulls II edged the opposition, 5-4, in penalty kicks.

The crucial moment came on Steevan Dos Santos’ miss of the Rhinos’ fourth penalty kick, opening the door for the hosts. They wouldn’t miss, as Konrad Plewa, who battled back to the field after suffering a stroke earlier this summer, buried his shot to seal victory for the No. 1 seed.

NINE-MAN SWOPE PARK RANGERS TOP BLUES

Swope Park Rangers ended the match down two men, but the Sporting KC affiliate did just enough to hold on to a postseason win.

Ever Alvarado and Tommy Meyer were sent off in the second half, but goals from a 105th minute goal from Dane Kelly sealed SPR’s 2-1 win over the Orange County Blues. Following  Mark Anthony Gonzalez’s 20th minute opener, the Blues battled back as Max Rauhofer fired the equalizing goal just one minute after Alvarado’s second half red card. Meyer’s dismissal came with just two minutes left in regulation, but SPR overcame the odds on Kelly’s long-distance blast.

LOU CITY EDGES BATTERY

A single goal was all that was required as Louisville City to once again reach the conference final.

Kadeem Dacres’ 53rd-minute finish was just enough for Lou City in a 1-0 win over the Charleston Battery. Dacres provided the scoring punch by firing a screamer from the right side, besting goalkeeper Alex Tambakis, who had made four saves prior to the finish. Now, Lou City will look to improve upon last season’s conference final loss to the defending champion Rhinos.

LATE HABER GOAL SEALS WHITECAPS II WIN

The Vancouver Whitecaps left it for late, but got the job done after surrendering a two-goal lead.

Goals from Kianz Froese and Kyle Greig gave Whitecaps II the lead before Danni König and Timo Pitter fired the Oklahoma City Energy back into the match. However, an 89th minute finish from Daniel Haber propelled the Whitecaps to victory with his eighth goal of the season.

 

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