All eyes were on Arizona this weekend, as Phoenix Rising FC played their first match since their stunning acquisition of Didier Drogba as owner/player for the MLS hopeful team.
Drogba should have fun as a part of the Phoenix Rising attack, as his future teammates put on a show against the Swope Park Rangers. Phoenix did indeed rise, as they opened the match up with four goals in the first 47 minutes to take a commanding 4-0 lead, but the Rangers would not go silently.
With a brace from Kevin Oliveira and a third coming in added time from Christian Duke, the Rangers battled back late in the second half but ultimately fell short and went home with a 4-3 defeat. It was the team’s first defeat of the season and the end of their seven-match regular season winning streak, while Phoenix earned their second victory of the young season and their second straight.
Here’s a closer look at more of this weekend’s USL action:
TIMBERS 2 TAKE ROAD VICTORY FROM SACRAMENTO REPUBLIC
The Portland Timbers 2 finally put away their early season woes as they secured their first victory of the season.
Visiting the Sacramento Republic in front of a sold out crowd of 11,569 at Papa Murphy’s Park, the Timbers 2 managed to seize a lead just before the close of the first half. Villyan Bijev opened the scoring for the visitors, knocking in a 40th minute penalty to give the Timbers 2 a lead in a match for just the second time this year. Unlike last time, however, the Timbers 2 would hold on thanks to an insurance goal from Victor Arboleda in the second half.
The Republic were shut down thanks to some stout defensive work from the Timbers 2 back line in the 2-0 win. Goalkeeper Wade Hamilton made his first start of the year and made several key saves to keep the clean sheet going late in the match.
BATTERY TAKE DOWN ROWDIES IN HIGH-SCORING AFFAIR
The Charleston Battery continued their hot start to the year with a victory thanks to a last-minute goal.
The Battery fell behind in the 34th minute, and the Tampa Bay Rowdies’ Joe Cole would find the back of the net for a 1-0 lead. It wouldn’t last long, however, as Forrest Lasso would score just minutes later to even the match before Maikel Chang gave the Battery a lead just moments before the end of the half.
The Rowdies came out ready in the second half, and a goal from Georgi Hristov just 15 minutes in would even the match once again at two goals apiece. It looked like a draw was on the cards before Tah Brian Anunga would find the winner for the Battery late in the 89th minute to secure their fourth win in five matches.
Here are the rest of this weekend’s results:
Harrisburg City Islanders 1-1 Orlando City B
FC Cincinnati 1-1 Tampa Bay Rowdies
Ottawa Fury 0-0 Toronto FC II
Richmond Kickers 2-1 Pittsburgh Riverhounds
Vancouver Whitecaps 2 1-2 San Antonio FC
Rochester Rhinos 2-2 New York Red Bulls II
FC Cincinnati 1-1 Louisville City
Rio Grande Valley Toros 0-1 Tulsa Roughnecks
St. Louis FC 1-2 Charlotte Independence
Reno 1868 FC 2-2 Colorado Springs Switchbacks
Seattle Sounders 1-3 Real Monarchs
LA Galaxy II 1-1 Orange County
Bethlehem Steel 0-2 Orlando City B