Week 2 gave a couple of teams in the east a chance to right the ship. Some others decided to blow up their boat, pop the life raft and then yell at the Coast Guard. The Charlotte Independence fake signed Randy Moss as a keeper. After Saturday’s game, Independence fans were left hoping that April Fools joke was real. Let’s dive on in; first up, Louisville.
Orlando City B vs. Louisville City FC 1-3
I learned Thursday that a new stadium could have a 2nd opening debut. Apparently, all you need is a B team and a handful of fans. This opener was spoiled by Louisville who traveled to the Sunshine State to beat up on a team still recovering from a black eye from Tampa. Louisville struck first with a bullet from Lancaster in the 11th minute. Lancaster was hurt shortly thereafter and former FCC player Luke Spencer subbed in. Spencer took six total shots finally landing one in the 76′. Technically Louisville scored all four goals in this game as Orlando’s only score came from a terrible Louisville own goal.
All of the goals. Fun night in Orlando. pic.twitter.com/tq6FItNQVe
— Louisville City FC (@loucityfc) March 31, 2017
Bethlehem Steel FC vs. Rochester Rhinos 2-3
The “Don’t Forget About us Derby”. After starting the season with a bye, both teams looked to grab some points and play catch up. You could look at the stats for this game but they will lie to you. Bethlehem held possession, attacked more, looked better, but failed. This game simply came down to converting shots to goals. Neither team had very many but Rochester put three in out of seven. It was effective!
New York Red Bulls II vs. Richmond Kickers 1-0
806 witnesses saw NY get their first win of the season at MSU Soccer Park. Due to the stadium change this year I guess some fans went to Red Bulls Arena by mistake. Richmond underwhelmed after a great start last week. The Kickers could not seem to find a rhythm while fending off the Red Bull attack. That defense finally fell in the 69th minute as New York’s Lewis put it away. The Baby Bulls add three points to the one gained last week. That puts them back near the top where people expected them to be.
Pittsburgh Riverhounds vs. FC Cincinnati 0-1
Did you see us?
— Cincy Soccer Talk (@cincysoccertalk) April 1, 2017
Cincinnati Soccer Talk took a bus of crazy fans to Pittsburgh for this game. We met up with the Steel Army and other FC Cincinnati fans before marching into Highmark Stadium and making OUR mark. The players could feel the energy of the dueling fan bases as things got chippy out on the pitch. Pittsburgh’s Agbossoumonde had two yellows and a red before the 1st half was even over. After going up a man, Cincinnati dominated the rest of the game. Djiby’s head scored the only goal of the match sending FC Cincinnati’s traveling fans home in celebration. With the win, FCC climbs out of the gutter into the top half of the Eastern standings.
Charlotte Independence vs. Charleston Battery 0-2
This southern derby was won late by the southernmost team. Charlotte held possession and controlled the first part of the game with clean passes. They struggled to get inside the box, however, shooting 11 of their 14 shots from outside the box. Zero landed and finally the Battery found an opening. Shout out to the Regiment for bringing a group of fans up north and boosting the USL travel game. The Battery won their second straight game giving them 2nd place and establishing credibility as one of the top eastern teams to start the season.
Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Toronto FC II 4-0
Fresh off a surprising win last week, Two-ronto fell back down to earth. At no point in this game did Toronto II look like they had a chance. This game was unbearable to watch unless you happen to be a fan of green and gold hoops. With this goal fest, Tampa shoots out to 1st place and gains a substantial goal differential over the other 6-point teams. The Rowdies play the Ottawa Fury next week and it will be interesting seeing how they hold up in their first real challenge of 2017.
Saint Louis FC vs. Ottawa Fury FC 3-2
The USL saved the most entertaining eastern game of the week for last. This game had 34 shots, 11 on target, a last-minute red card, and a final Saint Louis goal helped in by an Ottawa defender. Ottawa did play well once down 2-1. They knocked on the door so often you had the feeling one would land soon, and it did in the 83rd minute. This is our vote for a game to go back and watch. Saint Louis got the win late giving the home opening crowd a great show.