By TRAVIS CLARK
Goals have been hard to come by for Montreal and Vancouver this season, and over the weekend that trend continued when the two sides met in league action Saturday night.
The Canadian rivals battled to a 0-0 stalemate in the Pacific Northwest, extending Vancouver's goalless streak in the league to two games. The Whitecaps were missing captain Martin Nash and attacker Jonny Steele, blunting an already struggling offense. Both sides created a few chances, but 'keepers Matt Jordan and Jay Nolly proved equal to everything thrown at them.
Despite the result, the two clubs remain in first and second in the NASL Conference, with Vancouver still in first. However, the lack of goals — each has just four on the year — is a telling statistic, and something that needs to be corrected if either side hopes to live up to championship aspirations.
Here's a look at the rest of the USSF D-2 action:
AUSTIN DEFEATS CRYSTAL PALACE BALTIMORE, GRABS TOP SPOT
A tired Crystal Palace Baltimore limped into Austin for a third game in nine days. And with the ascension of the Aztex one of the big stories of 2010, getting a second straight win was going to be a tall task. The Austin attack looked spry and fresh, opening up Baltimore's defense in the 36th minute on a Lance Watson goal. But the visitors wouldn't go away, digging deep for an equalizer through Matthew Mbuta in the 63rd minute. Baltimore couldn't preserve the draw, however, with USSF D-2 leading scorer Jamie Watson knocked home the game-winner. Austin's 2-1 win was enough to vault them over Portland and into the top point spot in the league.
A.C. ST. LOUIS SNATCHES LATE DRAW IN PORTLAND
The scoring troubles plaguing a number of other USSF D-2 clubs is starting to creep up towards Portland. After coming up empty against Crystal Palace Baltimore Thursday night, the Timbers couldn't get full points from another visiting expansion team, this time drawing A.C. St. Louis 1-1 at PGE Park. Portland dominated the run of play, but couldn't get more than Mandjou Keita's 66th minute goal. That would come back to haunt the Timbers in stoppage time when Mike Ambersley pounced on a loose ball and slotted it past Steve Cronin to earn St. Louis' first road point of the season.
MIAMI DRAWS FIFTH GAME IN A ROW AGAINST MINNESOTA
Miami FC — who are already synonymous with drawing at home — decided to take their one-point show on the road, trekking up to Minnesota and tying the Stars 1-1. Johnny Menyongar notched the game's first goal in the 55th minute, giving the home side a lead that they hoped to hold. However, Christian Gomez flashed his play-making skills, crossing nicely for teammate Paulo Araujo to head home. Disaster then struck for Minnesota a few minutes later, as the Stars conceded a penalty — but Joe Warren came up big, saving his third penalty of the season by denying Abe Thompson's spot kick and preserving the draw.
TAMPA BAY WINS ROAD MATCH AGAINST RAILHAWKS
The Railhawks returned home for their only match at home in the month of May, and couldn't send the home support away happy, falling 2-1 against expansion Tampa Bay Saturday evening. Gregory Richardson opened the scoring for Carolina from the penalty spot, but two Nic Platter blunders in goal proved costly. First, Platter got caught out on a Tampa Bay free kick that Joe Donoho headed into an empty net. Late on in the 84th minute, substitute Aaron Wheeler beat Platter at his near post to seal the points.