By TRAVIS CLARK
Austin and Rochester keep on rolling through USSF D-2 opposition.
In upstate New York, the Rhinos kept a firm hold on first place in both the overall standings and the USL Conference, defeating Miami FC by a 3-1 score.
Down in Texas, the Aztex were not going to be outdone, holding off a comeback by the Carolina Railhawks to win 3-2. Randi Patterson, recently acquired from Crystal Palace Baltimore, scored what ended up being the game winner with ten minutes to go. Both teams also secured a spot in the playoffs with the weekend results.
Here's a look at the rest of the weekend's D-2 action:
MONTREAL CRUSHES BALTIMORE
The rotating home venues continued to be a concept that just doesn't pay off for Crystal Palace Baltimore. A notably poor performance in Maryland was punished by former Toronto FC forward Ali Gerba, who scored a hat trick en route to a 5-0 win for the Impact. Baltimore had been able to keep up with Montreal in recent meetings, but this loss could mean the end of any lingering hopes of a playoff spot.
ST. LOUIS, PUERTO RICO, TIE
Two sides needing three points only came away with one apiece when they squared off in St. Louis on Friday evening. Nicholas Addlery grabbed an early goal in the 4th minute for Puerto Rico, but the Islanders couldn't take advantage and add to their lead. This proved costly late in the first half, when Puerto Rico's Marco Velez took down St. Louis' John Lesko in the box. Mike Ambersley dispatched the ensuing spot kick, and the game ended in a 1-1 draw.
PORTLAND NABS VITAL ROAD WIN
Ryan Pore was at it again, scoring a penalty kick that made up the game's lone tally as the Portland Timbers won 1-0 over NSC Minnesota. Pore's chance came when Stars 'keeper Joe Warren took down Portland forward Bright Dike in the box in the 68th minute. Matt Pyzdrowski earned a surprise start for normal incumbent Steve Cronin in the Portland goal, blanking the Stars and maintaining hold on fourth place in the overall league standings.