Week ten started with a slew of mid-week games. Most of mid-week matches also let into Saturday implications. With the US Open Cup next week, roster depth is starting to matter. Any team that can rest starters and still win, will begin a steady rise towards the top of the table. The top two teams in the east gave up questionable points in week ten. All that and more is listed below
Toronto FC II vs. Richmond Kickers 0-0 Wed
Richmond headed to Canada to play last place Toronto FC II. The Kickers and Toronto played a fairly steady first half with both teams having dangerous opportunities. Things changed in the second half. Toronto’s Osorio was subbed on in the 59th minute and about sixty seconds later left the game via a red card. Richmond took full control after gaining a man advantage with 12 shots in the second half. Only two were on target and neither would go in. Richmond may have been the away team, but Toronto FC II is team lucky to escape with one point.
Harrisburg City Islanders vs. Pittsburgh Riverhounds 0-0 Wed
Pittsburgh rolled out a heavy attack lineup starting Parkes, Hertzog, and Kerr, leaving rookie Banjo off the eighteen man roster. Despite the potential, Pittsburgh failed to impress. The game vs. Harrisburg was everything but offensive. Both teams managed possession and neither could seem to break out of midfield. Each team only had eleven total shots with most of those missing the target. The battle of the two Pennsylvania teams may have failed to impress but both teams can continue to brag about shutouts. Pittsburgh has one loss and one draw after winning three straight.
Rochester Rhinos vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies 1-0 Wed
The Rochester Rhinos finally looked like the Rhinos of previous years: defensively strong, with a low scoring win. A win against Tampa will do much to build the confidence of a squad that has tough road games ahead. Tampa also continued a trend, struggling on the road. Joe Cole was noticeably absent from the lineup and so was the usual Rowdies’ attack. Only 5 shots were registered by each team, which highlights the defensive battle of this game. The lone goal came from Rochester’s Fall, who took a shot inside the box only to see it deflected by Tampa’s Pickens. The ball bounced right back to Fall who finished it off with the gifted second chance. Tampa breaks a four game unbeaten streak by dropping this game. Rochester is only one slot outside the playoff hunt with several games in hand.
Bethlehem Steel FC vs. Charleston Battery 0-1 Thur
Both teams in this match had a few starting lineup changes compared to previous weeks. Charleston did field the goal scoring machine Williams, and he struck in the 32nd minute. Williams fired a beautiful shot from outside the box and Bethlehem’s keeper will ill prepared for it. Both teams had several good scoring chances following the first goal. A second Charleston goal was scored but then called offside by the 4th official. At the end of the day, Charleston won another game by a goal.
Ottawa Fury FC vs. Richmond Kickers 5-3 Sat
Teams usually regress after playing earlier in the week. Richmond surged, but it was still not enough to stop the thriving Ottawa attack in this match. Richmond only had the lead once when after the half, they went up 2-3. All three of Richmond’s goals came from Kamara, who registered a hat trick in the loss. Ottawa shared the goal wealth around but also had an amazing PK stop which is shown below. The most telling stat of the match was the 34 corner kicks taken. That is a lot of crosses for both teams to defend and contributed to the high scoreline.
— USL (@USL) May 27, 2017
FC Cincinnati vs. Toronto FC II 1-0
Toronto went on the road after a disappointing home loss on Wednesday and failed to gain any traction in Cincinnati on Saturday. Cincinnati’s newest forward, Konig, scored early again in this match, heading the ball off a Fordyce header. Cincinnati did not stay very aggressive after going up a goal. Each team had only a few scoring chances after the goal, and Toronto came close to equalizing the game. Later in the second half, Toronto caught Mitch off his line and kicked a ball just past him. That ball took a few seconds to get to the goal but just bounced off the right post denying the goal. The Bailey chanted “post says no” for good reasons, as FC Cincinnati would finish with another 3 points thanks to Konig. Cincinnati rises to 4th in the table but has has no games in hand.
Orlando City B vs. Charlotte Independence 1-3
Orlando struck first but was unable to capitalize on a few more early scoring chances. The first thirty minutes of the match was dominated by Orlando. The B team was unable to keep that momentum going as Charlotte made the most of their chances. The cleanest goal of the night came from Charlotte’s Martinez. He made an amazing move to juke his defender which exposed the net, and he took the shot. Orlando City B is struggling to find an identity as they bounce in and out of the playoff picture. Charlotte, on the other hand, has three wins in their last four matches.
Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Saint Louis FC 1-1
Saint Louis gets back to the pitch after missing a couple May matches. The rust was not as apparent as Saint Louis scored first off a set piece. Tampa would answer later in that match with their own set piece goal. The talk after the match was mainly about the officiating. Tampa Bay is a physical team that naturally picks up yellow cards. The referee in this match gave out eight total, five to Tampa and three to Saint Louis. The fans of both teams seemed to agree it was too much. Saint Louis earns a respectable point in Tampa.
First team to 10 yellow cards wins, apparently #TBRvSTL
— Ryan Grass (@Swordopolis) May 28, 2017
New York Red Bulls II vs. Charleston Battery 2-1
If you did a double take at the score, you were not the only one. The Red Bulls II have been struggling recently but still managed to take down the conference leaders. The Battery scored on a free kick right before the half. Normally, the Battery would hold that lead the rest of the game. New York played aggressively, though, and the Battery could not stop all six shots on goal. The Battery missed Williams in this match, as they failed to score in normal play. Charleston still manages to benefit from Tampa’s misfortunes and remains at the top of the east.
Bethlehem Steel FC vs Harrisburg City Islanders 3-1
Round two of the week ten Pennsylvania battles. This match was played sloppily by Harrisburg. Bethlehem’s first goal was a gift as an Islander defender failed to clear the ball. He instead passed the ball to the attacker who easily scored. Bethlehem and Harrisburg each put a goal on the board after that taking the game to 2-1. Harrisburg again gets sloppy by sliding into a Bethlehem attacker in the box, awarding Steel FC with a PK. The game ends 3-1, and Bethlehem Steel redeems themselves from their earlier loss.