USL Rewind: Orange County closes in on top spot in the West

USL Rewind: Orange County closes in on top spot in the West

USL

USL Rewind: Orange County closes in on top spot in the West

As we move toward month eight of the USL season, Orange County SC notched their fourth consecutive win on Wednesday evening with a 5-goal outburst in the wilds of Las Vegas at Cashman Field. OCSC’s 5-3 victory over the Las Vegas Lights came off the back of brilliant performances from Danish hitman Thomas Enevoldsen and Jamaican striker Michael Seaton. Seaton, a second-half substitute, scored twice in the span of twenty-two minutes as OCSC left no doubt about their aspirations to capture their first USL Cup Playoffs trophy.

Orange County has just two matches remaining to hold off Phoenix Rising FC at the top of the Western Conference – with Arizona’s USL club having two matches in hand. OCSC will not play until they host the struggling Seattle Sounders FC 2 on October 6th at Champions Soccer Stadium at OC Great Park.

Greater Nevada Field will be the sight of OC’s final regular season match on October 13th with Reno 1868 FC hosting a match that could go a long way to determining both teams’ playoff positioning. Reno demolished Rio Grande Valley FC on Wednesday night in The Biggest Little City in the World behind a great all-around performance from Reno striker Brian Brown that saw the Jamaican notch his 15th goal of the season.

Reno’s win moved 1868 FC into seventh place in the Western Conference – tied on points with Saint Louis FC, but ahead on goal difference. Saint Louis FC will travel to the Valley of the Sun as they try to tame red-hot Phoenix Rising FC on Saturday before home matches against the Tulsa Roughnecks and Oklahoma City Energy FC end Saint Louis’ regular season campaign.

Reno 1868 and Saint Louis are in a four-way fight with San Antonio FC and the Swope Park Rangers to make the 2018 USL Cup Playoffs. Just three places remain to be clinched out west, with Reno 1868 arguably holding the advantage due to their two games in hand on higher-placed Swope Park, who currently occupy the 6th position.

San Antonio FC – who sit in ninth place and outside of the playoff picture – are all but mathematically eliminated from playoff contention and would need a miracle to qualify. Three straight losses, including a demoralizing 2-0 defeat at the hands of Saint Louis FC last weekend, have given the team from the Alamo City a massively-uphill task to clinch their place in what would be their second consecutive playoff appearance.

FC Cincinnati won their ninth match in a row on Wednesday, defeating the Richmond Kickers 4-1 behind a brace from Emmanuel Ledesma. FC Cincinnati – who will be on their way to Major League Soccer for the 2019 season – clinched the 2018 USL Regular Season Championship with their victory over the Kickers.

Both the Ottawa Fury FC and Nashville SC secured vital midweek wins on Wednesday. Seventh-place Ottawa and eighth-place Nashville are two of 10 Eastern Conference clubs who are looking to find their way into the playoffs. Just five points separate the Bethlehem Steel FC in 6th and the Tampa Bay Rowdies who occupy 11th place.

The Charleston Battery secured a priceless and dramatic three points in stoppage-time on Wednesday evening at MUSC Health Stadium in South Carolina, defeating North Carolina FC 2-0. A bullet header from former U.S. Men’s National Team youth international Victor Mansaray put Charleston on the scoresheet in the 91st minute, before a thunderous left-footed strike from Ian Svantesson ended any chance of North Carolina salvaging a point. Svantesson, who was a collegiate standout with the Blazers of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, was introduced into the second half of the match just minutes before Mansaray made his entry, with both players proving invaluable to Head Coach Mike Anhaeuser.

Indy Eleven’s 2-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rowdies in midweek broke a two-match losing skid for the Eleven, who now sit in 5th place in the Eastern Conference. The Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC have clinched their place in the playoffs, after defeating a tired looking Penn FC 2-0 at FNB Field. Nashville SC find themselves in the 8th and final playoff place out East after a 2-0 victory at Coolray Field against Atlanta United 2.

Upcoming Schedule:

(all matches available on ESPN+)

Saturday

Atlanta United 2 vs Louisville City, 7 p.m.

Charleston Battery vs Toronto FC II, 7 p.m.

Charlotte Independence vs Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, 7 p.m.

North Carolina FC vs Richmond Kickers, 7 p.m.

FC Cincinnati vs Indy Eleven, 7:30 p.m.

Nashville SC vs Red Bulls II, 8:30 p.m.

Rio Grande Valley FC vs Fresno FC, 8:30 p.m.

San Antonio FC vs Sounders 2, 8:30 p.m.

Real Monarchs vs Colorado Springs, 9 p.m.

Reno 1868 vs Tulsa Roughnecks, 10 p.m.

Phoenix Rising FC vs Saint Louis FC, 10:30 p.m.

Sacramento Republic FC vs Timbers 2, 10:30 p.m.

Las Vegas Lights FC vs Oklahoma City Energy, 11 p.m.

Sunday

Ottawa Fury vs Bethlehem Steel, 1 p.m.

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