Shocking results and big wins stuck out in Week 9 of the 2018 USL season.
Louisville City FC lost their second straight game, falling to third place after failing to take their chances against Nashville SC.
Phoenix Rising FC put on a clinic in a 5-1 rout of the Tulsa Roughnecks with Didier Drogba getting back on the score sheet.
Sacramento Republic FC coughed up three goals in five minutes to drop all three points to Reno 1868 FC.
Let’s take a look at all the action from week 9:
Pittsburgh Riverhounds 0-0 Indy Eleven
The Riverhounds (4-0-4) and Indy Eleven (4-2-2) played to perhaps a predictable draw Friday evening. Both sides have boasted strong defenses, and a penchant for low scoring affairs. Despite the measured approach from both teams, each side had quality chances that went begging. The draw keeps the Riverhounds undefeated through eight matches to start the season.
Colorado Springs Switchbacks 1-0 Las Vegas Lights FC
The Lights (2-2-4) are into their second month of poor form and poor results. The Switchbacks (4-5-2) proved too much on the evening thanks to a 70th minute goal from Luke Vercollone. The Lights last won a match on March 31st, and their debut season has taken a turn for the worst. The Switchbacks are finding ways to get results this season, even if they need to scrap and claw.
Ottawa Fury FC 2-0 Atlanta United 2
The Fury (2-4-2) are on a three match unbeaten streak thanks to a strong win over ATL 2 (1-4-3). Steevan Dos Santos and Carl Haworth each scored in the first half to put the game out of reach early. After a bright start for ATL 2, they have fallen down to the bottom of the eastern conference. The Fury have had a better run of form over the last three weeks and it looks like they might be ready to make a challenge to move up the table.
Real Monarchs SLC 1-0 Fresno FC
The western conference leading Monarchs (7-1-1) were able to pick up their third straight win, outlasting the Foxes (2-3-6) on the strength of an early goal and a strong possession game. Maikel Chang scored the winner for the Monarchs in the 8th minute thanks to a first-time finish on a pass from Sebastian Velasquez. The loss is the Foxes second in their last three matches, and they will need to go back to the drawing board.
Charleston Battery 2-1 Bethlehem Steel
The Battery (5-2-2) climbed all the way up into second place in the eastern conference with a victory over the Steel (2-4-2). Gordon Wild’s goal and an assist performance was the difference in this one, though the Steel did pull a goal back from the penalty spot in the 65th minute. The Steel are still struggling in the early part of 2018, but they have pieces that could turn the squad around if they can click.
Richmond Kickers 1-0 Tampa Bay Rowdies
The sky is falling for the Rowdies (4-5-0). After a blazing start to the season, the Rowdies have now lost four of their last five matches, including Saturday night’s contest against the Kickers (3-4-1). D.C. United loanee, Dane Kelly, scored the game’s only goal in the 38th minute, giving the Kickers a life line to the top half of the eastern conference table.
Charlotte Independence 4-1 FC Cincinnati
The Independence (3-3-2) five game winless streak is finally over after a win over FCC (5-2-2) on the weekend. Four different goal scorers tallied for the home side, including Cordell Cato, Yann Ekra, Kay Voser, and Eamon Zayed. Danni Konig scored the lone goal for the visitors in the 51st minute. Despite losing the match, FCC remains atop the eastern conference standings.
Seattle Sounders FC 2 0-1 Portland Timbers 2
The Timbers 2 (5-3-2) left it late against their Cascadia rivals, Sounders FC 2 (2-5-1). Eryk Williamson’s 90+2 minute winner was the only thing separating the sides on the night. The Timbers 2 are now up to 5th place in the western conference. The Sounders FC 2 struggles continue as they drop down to 14th place.
Tulsa Roughnecks FC 1-5 Phoenix Rising FC
Phoenix Rising (6-1-3) matched pace with the Monarchs, winning their third straight and extending their unbeaten run to six matches with their win over the Roughnecks (0-4-5). Didier Drogba turned back the clock in this one, scoring twice in the rout on the road. Phoenix Rising also got goals from Kevon Lambert, Kody Wakasa, and Chris Cortez. The lone goal for the Roughnecks in this match came from the penalty sput in the 11th minute, scored by Fernando Arce. Phoenix Rising now looks like a strong challenger for best team in the west.
Rio Grande Valley FC 0-0 San Antonio FC
The South Texas Derby left fans wanting more with a dull 0-0 draw. The Toros (1-3-5) found the better chances on the night, but they couldn’t break down SAFC’s defensive unit (3-2-4). Diego Restrepo once again stood tall in goal to preserve his third shutout of the season.
Orange County SC 1-1 Saint Louis FC
A furious finish to a tight match saw the match end level between OCSC (5-3-2) and STL FC (3-2-5). Fans had to wait until the second half for this match to really get going, but it provided an entertaining finish thanks to two late goals. The First was from Phanuel Kavita to put OCSC ahead in the 78th minute. Lewis Hilton scored just four minutes later to split the spoils. OCSC was in first place a few weeks ago, but their poor run of form has seen them drop to fourth place in the western conference.
Sacramento Republic FC 2-3 Reno 1868 FC
The most exciting match of the weekend was an unexpected shootout between Sac Republic (5-2-3) and 1868 FC (3-3-4). Sac Republic looked to have put the game away early, scoring twice in the first twelve minutes of the match through Jure Matjasic and Cameron Iwasa. 1868 FC came storming back in a flurry of goals over five minutes in the second half. From the 57th minute to the 62nd minute, 1868 FC scored three goals to complete the comeback win from Paul Marie, Brian Brown, and Mohamed Thiaw. 1868 FC are now unbeaten in six matches.
Nashville SC 2-0 Louisville City FC
LCFC (5-2-1) took their second straight loss against upstarts NSC (3-2-3). Lebo Moloto’s brace saw the home side win just the third time this season. Ropapa Mensah assisted on Moloto’s first goal in the 37th minute, and Justin Davis provided the cross on Moloto’s diving header to ice the match in the 84th minute. LCFC fall to third place in the eastern conference with NSC maintaining eighth place.