With midweek action in full swing, there were some interesting results around the league.
By downing the Tampa Bay Rowdies, the Rochester Rhinos were able to move into fifth place in the Eastern Conference. They have only played seven games on the season while most teams have played at least nine so they could climb even higher in the near future. One of three one-loss teams, the Rhinos showed that they belong near the top of the conference by stifling the Rowdies attack.
With their third win on the bounce, Reno 1868 FC are now one point out of the playoff places in the Western Conference. They are becoming a team that no one wants to face as they’ve won their last three by 3-0 or greater scorelines. While Dane Kelly is taking home the headlines with his goalscoring exploits, this is turning out to be a complete team.
Let’s review the midweek action:
TORONTO FC II 0-0 RICHMOND KICKERS
The Kickers have extended their unbeaten streak to four by drawing a 10-man Toronto FC II team. The Kickers dominated the game outshooting Toronto 19-3 but Mark Pais had an inspired performance in net saving all five shots on target. Richmond got a man advantage in the 60th minute as Anthony Osorio, who came into the game in the 59th minute, was given a straight red card for violent conduct on Alex Lee. Both teams had their chances in this one but it wasn’t meant to be as the points were shared on the day.
HARRISBURG CITY ISLANDERS 0-0 PITTSBURGH RIVERHOUNDS
An inspired defensive performance from the Islanders earned them a draw in the second leg of the Keystone Derby but in all honesty, they deserved all three points. After losing the first leg of this derby 1-0, the Islanders came out with a lineup built with the speed to stop Pittsburgh and it worked as the Riverhounds were disjointed in possession. These teams will have to wait until August 12 to decide the Keystone Derby champion.
ROCHESTER RHINOS 1-0 TAMPA BAY ROWDIES
In the USL game of the week, the Rhinos didn’t disappoint downing the Rowdies at home. Behind a strong defense and a 27th-minute winner from Wal Fall, the Rhinos were able to extend their unbeaten streak. Fall’s shot was initially saved by Rowdies goalkeeper Matt Pickens but Fall stayed with it to drive home the rebound. The Rowdies seemed to be off of their game playing their fourth match in 12 days. It was a defensive battle for both sides as the Rhino’s only shot on target was their goal. This win extends Rochester’s unbeaten streak to four, five counting the US Open Cup.
OKC ENERGY 2-1 PORTLAND TIMBERS 2
Timbers 2 ended their four-match scoreless streak but it wasn’t enough as they fell to the Energy. Mickey Daly scored the winner for the Energy in the 75th minute after Daniel Gonzalez opened the scoring in the 54th minute. Victor Arboleda scored the lone goal for the Timbers 2 as this was a game that they can build off of.
RENO 1868 4-0 TULSA ROUGHNECKS
After their dismal start to the season, Reno has now won three straight games as they charge up the Western Conference table. More impressive is that Reno has now scored four goals in three straight contests. On the night, Reno had four different goal scorers. Jimmy Ockford opened the scoring for 1868 FC two minutes before the half and it was no looking back from there. On the other side of halftime USL leading scorer, Dane Kelly scored on a rebound of his own penalty kick. Kelly then became the provider for Lindo Mfeka’s goal in the 62nd minute to give Reno the 3-0 advantage. The final scoreline was reached when Antoine Hoppenot drove home a shot from just outside the penalty area. Just like that, 1868 FC are closing in on the playoff places.
BETHLEHEM STEEL FC 0-1 CHARLESTON BATTERY
On a rainy afternoon at Goodman Stadium, the Charleston Battery downed Bethlehem Steel to take first place in the Eastern Conference. Thanks to a 28th-minute goal off the post by Romario Williams, the Battery now have a three point lead in the conference. It was a sloppy match overall but one moment of magic was enough to send the Battery home happy.