The Eastern Conference went back to war this week and the top of the table is red hot. The Battery and Rowdies are tied for first. Louisville and Saint Louis are close on their heels. Orlando City B, FC Cincinnati, and the Rochester Rhinos are all above the line but will need to turn in strong performances the next few weeks if they are going to catch the leaders any time soon. All the week six action (good and bad) has been captured below for future posterity.
Orlando City B vs. Saint Louis FC 0-0
Week six really started out with a bang. If you tuned in to the first half of this game, I’m sorry. Not even Opta could find something to put on their bar when I went digging, hoping for a grain of something interesting to share. Thankfully a couple yellow cards and subs happened in the 2nd half bringing very little life but life, nonetheless, in a wasteland of points. Orlando is spinning this game “OCB shutdown the St. Louis attack” so I guess two shots on target constitutes an attack? Everyone gets a point in this match.
Bethlehem Steel FC vs. FC Cincinnati 1-0
Before this game, Bethlehem had one win and no draws on the year. That sole win was an easy one as FC Cincinnati took a red early in the game and gifted the game to the Steel. This time FC Cincinnati managed to keep 11 men on the field a lot longer but could not find the net. The goalposts and crossbar were found many, many times. Cincinnati out shot Bethlehem 21 to 9, but the Steel only need one of theirs to count, and Roberts hit one in the 87th minute. Andy Craven waited till the end of the game to pick up FC Cincinnati’s 4th red. FC Cincy will need to address the noticeable discipline problem on the field if they hope to keep from falling further.
Rochester Rhinos vs. Charlotte Independence 4-0
Wait one moment, someone check the Rhino players for performance enhancing drugs. This Rochester team rebounded well after a trying couple of weeks. In typical Rochester style, the Rhinos let their opponent own possession and then burned them on the counter. Are the Rhinos back on track after this win? I think we will find out in Saint Louis on Saturday. With only five points, Charlotte is dead last in the east. Check out this goal, though. Who needs a wall?
— Rochester Rhinos (@RochesterRhinos) May 1, 2017
Pittsburgh Riverhounds vs. Harrisburg City Islanders 1-0
I wish games like this one were bigger in the USL. Two independent teams in the same state play and only 2,513 people show up. Hopefully we see this rivalry grow in the future with new Harrisburg ownership. Pittsburgh’s’ Hertzog got his mojo back after a couple of iffy games with a goal in the 75th minute. Harrisburg played a solid first half, but the second half saw not one but two red cards from the official. Harrisburg
fans fan, you are more than welcome to join the red card support group here in Cincinnati. We meet on Thursdays and mostly just cry.
Charleston Battery vs. Ottawa Fury FC 2-2
In this match Charleston played the aggressor. I enjoyed watching the Battery play a bit of a new style in this game. Ottawa has already made themselves known as a team that sits back, which forced Charleston to play more offensive than we are used to seeing. The counter worked well for Fury FC, as they stuck in the 22nd and 56th minutes and then held on for dear life the last twenty minutes of the match. Charleston found the equalizer in the 84th minute but was unable to win with their usual late game heroics. I guess not all Battery games can be decided in the last ten minutes.
Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Richmond Kickers 1-0
The Rowdies run here, the Rowdies run there, then they scissor kick a goal in your face. Tampa’s Brown finally got his first goal of the year, and it was a beauty. The striker seemed to be the one weaker link in the Rowdies game before the match at Al Lang. He proved himself in this one as his one and only goal was all the Florida team needed to beat a struggling Richmond side. Richmond could not get much going in this match as Tampa dominated almost every single stat line. The only concern for Tampa fans may be the lack of goals vs. leading in shots taken.
Louisville City FC vs. Toronto FC II 0-0
The week started with a scoreless draw and it will end with a scoreless draw. Toronto FC II surprised us all with lights out defense and even a strong attack. Toronto came close to winning this game more than once but both keepers played lights out. I could see all of the USL saves of the week coming from this game alone. As far as scoreless games go, this one was fairly entertaining with 31 total shots and 14 on target. Regardless, Louisville fans will be disappointed not to get all three points at home considering Toronto’s record.