Photo by Orlando City SC
By AARON CRANFORD
Orlando City SC finished their final USL Pro regular season in style.
The Lions, who won the 2014 USL Pro regular season title last Wednesday, topped the third-placed Richmond Kickers 1-0 Saturday. Midfielder Kevin Molino scored the lone goal, his 20th of the season, by heading a cross from Luke Boden into the far right corner of the net in the 23rd minute.
The Lions will play the eighth-placed Harrisburg City Islanders in the first round of the playoffs at home on Saturday.
With the loss, the Richmond Kickers fell into fourth place in the standings. They will play fifth-placed Charleston Battery at home in their playoff opener.
Here are some more of this weekend’s results from around USL Pro:
HAMMERHEADS QUALIFY AFTER ROUT OF DUTCH LIONS
The Wilmington Hammerheads guaranteed themselves a spot in the USL Pro playoffs this weekend while also sending a major message.
On the heels of a disappointing loss to Rochester Rhinos, the Hammerheads put together a 4-0 thrashing of the Dayton Dutch Lions to lock up a playoff position.
The Hammerheads kicked off their attack in the tenth minute, as Samuel Ochoa was unmarked in the penalty area and easily headed a Sunny Jane free kick in for a goal.
Jane went on to score a brace of his own, with his first came from a free kick in the 17th minute. His cross floated into the penalty area, freezing the Dutch Lions keeper, Matt Williams, until the ball was already past him and in the net. In the 46th minute, Jane received the ball in the attacking-third of the field and surged toward goal before slotting the ball past Williams for his second of the night.
Corben Bone easily scored in the penalty area after receiving a short through ball from Steven Miller in the 82nd minute.
The Dutch Lions finished the regular season in last place on the table.
BATTERY CLAIM FIFTH PLACE WITH VICTORY OVER ISLANDERS
The Charleston Battery secured their fifth-placed position with a 2-1 win against the Harrisburg City Islanders.
The Battery’s Heviel Cordoves dummied a defender before shooting to the far right corner in the 45th minute. Mamadou Diouf put the Battery up by two in the 56th minute by rounding the keeper and finessing the ball into the net from a tight angle.
The Islanders answered in the 89th minute from a corner kick. Garret Pettis’ head found Cris Hernandez cross, but the goal came too late, as the header proved to be the last chance of the night.
The Battery will play the fourth-placed Richmond Kickers on Saturday in their first-round match.
ISLANDERS ARE IN, EAGLES HOPES DASH
It may have taken to the season’s final contest, but the Harrisburg City Islanders have confirmed their place in the USL Pro playoffs.
The Islanders solidified after their spot with a 4-2 win Sunday against the Charlotte Eagles behind a Jose Barril brace.
The game’s first goal was scored by the Eagles’ Wells Thompson in the ninth minute, but the Islanders’ Jimmy McLaughlin scored from the penalty spot in the 14th minute to level the match.
Barril’s first came in the 39th minute, and the Eagles’ Richard Dixon was ejected in the 44th minute. Barril capitalized shortly after from a breakaway, scoring in the 48th minute after beating two defenders and rounding the keeper.
The Eagles’ Jorge Herrera brought them within one in the 71st minute, but Eagles keeper, Alec Kann, was sent off in the 87th minute for a tackle in the box, and the subsequent penalty was scored by Aaron Wheeler.
The Eagles finished in 12th place this regular season. The Islanders will play the on the road in Orlando on Saturday.
ARIZONA RUIN RIVERHOUNDS’ CHANCE
The Pittsburgh Riverhounds’ playoff hopes were dashed by Long Tan’s brace Saturday.
The Riverhounds suffered a 2-1 defeat to Arizona United as both sides narrowly missed out on playoff qualification.
The Riverhounds’ Miroslav Cabrilo found Danny Earls’ corner kick and headed it into the net to give Pittsburgh the lead in the sixth minute.
In the 12th minute, Tan blasted a shot from the top of the box into the low-left corner of the goal. He would go on to score in the 75th minute with a cool chip over the onrushing keeper, Richard Gilstrap.
Arizona United SC finishes the year in ninth place on the table, and the Pittsburgh Riverhounds finish 11th.
ENERGY END YEAR WITH WIN
Kyle Greg scored the lone goal for the OKC Energy FC, which saw them jump into 10th place on the USL Pro table to finish the year.
The Energy picked up a 1-0 victory Saturday over the Orange County Blues at Anteater Stadium at UCI to put a stamp on a disappointing campaign.
Greg fired a shot from the top of the box into the top-left corner of the net in the 62nd minute, and the Blues could not respond, despite many opportunities.
The Blues finish the season in 13th place on the table.
LOS DOS CLAIM THIRD
When all was said and done, LA Galaxy II saw their season end with a third place position.
Los Dos’ forward Jack McBean scored a brace to give the Galaxy II a 2-1 win Saturday over Sacramento Republic FC. McBean received an exquisite through ball from Dragan Stojkov and easily slotted the ball by the onrushing Dominik Jakubek. He scored again in the 59th minute after pouncing on a rebounded save from Jakubek.
Sacramento’s Max Alvarez scored a consolation in the 69th minute with a fantastic free kick from just outside of the right corner of the box.
Los Dos will play at home on Saturday against the sixth-placed Rochester Rhinos, while Sacramento finishes in second place and will play the Wilmington Hammerheads at home that same day.
RHINOS JUMP INTO SIXTH
Fresh off a 4-1 thrashing of the Harrisburg City Islanders, the Rochester Rhinos entered with a chance to build some major momentum heading into the postseason.
The Rhinos did just that by picking up a 2-0 victory over the Wilmington Hammerheads Sunday to extend their unbeaten streak to three.
Kyle Hoffer and Tyler Rosenlund were the goalscorers on the night, while JC Banks and Minh Vu were credited with the assists, respectively.
With the victory, the Rhinos jumped into sixth, which leaves them playing on the road against LA Galaxy II on Saturday. With the loss, the Hammerheads fall into seventh place on the table, and they will play against Sacramento Republic FC that same day.
How was the last USL Pro regular season weekend? What first-round playoff match are you most excited for?
Share you thoughts below.