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Gameday Report: April 20, Week 7

By NICHOLAS MURRAY - nicholas.murray@uslsoccer.com, 04/20/19, 3:07PM EDT

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Reno ends New Mexico's undefeated run; North Carolina claims derby victory in Charlotte

Reno 1868 FC became the first club to claim victory against New Mexico United, while elsewhere around the league the first North Carolina Derby of the season went the way of Head Coach Dave Sarachan's North Carolina FC, Real Monarchs SLC pulled off a major comeback victory to defeat San Antonio FC and Indy Eleven continued its surge with a fourth consecutive victory.

Select a match below...

 

PHOENIX RISING FC (4), TACOMA DEFIANCE (0)

PHOENIX – Rising FC rebounded from its midweek loss in strong fashion to continue Tacoma’s struggles at the bottom of the Western Conference at Casino Arizona Field. Tacoma’s Alec Diaz almost put the visitors ahead only to be denied in his one-on-one opportunity by Phoenix goalkeeper Zac Lubin, while Azriel Gonzalez missed the target after being played into the left side of the penalty area. Phoenix took the lead, however, as Junior Flemmings produced a solo run and finish that sent his shot into the bottom-right corner in the 34th minute. Just three minutes later Jason Johnson got in on the scoring as he volleyed home from the top of the six-yard area off a cross by Solomon Asante. Flemmings added his second of the night as Johnson added an assist to his earlier goal with a curling cross that Flemmings volleyed home and eight minutes after the halftime break Asante added a fourth as he fired home a low shot from Flemmings' cross. Tacoma tried to make a comeback, and Justin Dhillon had his header turned wide of the right post with 13 minutes to go while Austin Brummett stung Lubin’s palms with a shot from 16 yards, but Rising FC held firm defensively to record its second win in its last three outings.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Junior Flemmings, Phoenix Rising FC – Flemmings scored two goals and added an assist to lead Rising FC to a convincing bounce-back victory on its home turf.

 

RENO 1868 FC (2), NEW MEXICO UNITED (1)

RENO, Nev. – Duke Lacroix’s dramatic late finish ended New Mexico’s undefeated start to the season as 1868 FC took victory at Greater Nevada Field. NMU threatened early as Kevaughn Frater had a narrow-angle shot saved before Chris Wehan sent his finish wide, but it was Reno that took the lead in the 28th minute when Sergio Rivas drove home a shot from just outside the top-right side of the penalty area that picked out the bottom-left corner. Reno almost added to its lead on a snap-shot by Corey Hertzog, but in the 39th minute New Mexico equalized as Josh Suggs powered home a finish in off the underside of the crossbar. Reno almost regained the lead in the 74th minute off a corner as first Brian Brown and then Zach Carroll each hit the crossbar in quick succession. With a minute to go, however, Lacroix drifted in from the left and found enough space to curl a shot into the top-right corner to grab all three points for 1868 FC and end United’s strong start to its expansion season.  

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Duke Lacroix, Reno 1868 FC – Lacroix sent the hosts to victory thanks to his remarkable late finish in front of the Battle Born Brigade.

 

PORTLAND TIMBERS 2 (2), COLORADO SPRINGS SWITCHBACKS FC (2)

PORTLAND, Ore. – Both teams scored in the final 10 minutes as Foster Langsdorf’s brace earned T2 a point after the hosts had to rally twice against the Switchbacks at Merlo Field. The teams exchanged chances early on, but the Switchbacks took the lead in the 18th minute from the penalty spot as Jordan Burt converted after Shane Malcolm had been fouled in the area. Malcolm almost added to Colorado Springs’ lead twice more soon after only for T2 goalkeeper Jake Leeker to come up with a big save each time, but the Switchbacks made it to halftime in front thanks to a big save by Abraham Rodriguez to deny Brayan Hurtado. The hosts got back on level terms in the 63rd minute, however, as Langsdorf tapped home from close range, and T2 was then offered a chance to take the lead with a penalty kick of its own with 18 minutes to go. Modou Jadama stepped up, but Rodriguez saved the effort to the right corner. That proved key with six minutes to go when Jordan Schweitzer put the Switchbacks on top again with a long-range blast from 30 yards to the bottom-right corner, but Portland ensured honors ended even when Langsdorf headed home two minutes later to earn a share of the points.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Foster Langsdorf, Portland Timbers 2 – Langsdorf scored two classic forward finishes to earn T2 a point to move the side into first place at the end of Saturday’s action.

 

OKC ENERGY FC (1), ORANGE COUNTY SC (0)

OKLAHOMA CITY – An early goal by new signing Alvin Jones lifted Energy FC to victory against OCSC at Taft Stadium as the hosts snapped a four-game winless streak. A Trinidad & Tobago international, Jones put OKC ahead in the fifth minute on a long-range free kick that took a big deflection off a defender on its way into the net. The hosts almost doubled their lead in the 17th minute on a half-volley by Alexy Bosetti that was well-saved by Orange County goalkeeper Aaron Cervantes, while Christian Eissele pulled his finish wide of the right post on a counterattack in the 32nd minute. Orange County went close to an equalizer just past the hour-mark when Harry Forrester’s curling shot was parried away by Energy FC goalkeeper Cody Laurendi, but despite some late pressure from the visitors that saw Aodhan Quinn have a shot deflected wide and Walker Hume head just wide from a corner kick the hosts were able to secure a shutout for Laurendi on his 100th regular-season appearance in the Championship.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Cody Laurendi, OKC Energy FC – Laurendi recorded a five-save shutout to ensure that Energy FC’s early goal would stand up as the winner in front of an enthusiastic home crowd.

 

RIO GRANDE VALLEY FC (5), LAS VEGAS LIGHTS FC (2)

EDINBURG, Texas – The Toros doubled their goal total for the season in one night as they romped past Lights FC at H-E-B Park. The Toros took the lead from the penalty spot in the 15th minute as Wilmer Cabrera converted after Las Vegas' Lucas Scaglia was ruled to have committed a handball in the penalty area. Four minutes later Isidro Martinez doubled the lead as he arrived late to finish off a low cut-back cross by Maalique Foster. Las Vegas almost pulled a goal back before halftime only for Irvin Parra’s close-range header to be saved by Toros goalkeeper Michael Nelson, but then inside a minute of the second half kickoff Lights FC’s Gabe Robinson committed an own goal to put the Toros ahead by three. Lights FC found the net midway through the second half as Christian Torres turned home a long throw-in to the top of the six-yard area, but the Toros pulled away late as Foster first rounded out a counterattack with 11 minutes to go before Carlos Small added the fifth for the hosts on a breakaway. Sammy Ochoa pulled a stoppage-time goal back for Lights FC in his first appearance of the season, but it proved only a consolation for the visitors on a breakout night for the hosts.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Maalique Foster, Rio Grande Valley FC – Foster had a goal and assist and also registered a pair of key passes to lead the Toros breakout night.

 

PITTSBURGH RIVERHOUNDS SC (0), SAINT LOUIS FC (0)

PITTSBURGH – The Hounds and STLFC shared the points on a night filled with heavy rain at Highmark Stadium. After a delay of more than an hour due to inclement weather, the game took time to warm up. The first good chance arrived in the 19th minute but Saint Louis’ Kyle Greig was unable to control Matt Bahner’s cross from the right to produce a finish. Pittsburgh’s Steevan Dos Santos had a shot carom wide of the left post off a defender in the 38th minute, and a minute later Neco Brett had his shot from the right side of the penalty area turned wide by STLFC goalkeeper Jake Fenlason as he fired to the near post. Saint Louis’ Joaquin Rivas tested Hounds goalkeeper Ben Lundgaard just before halftime with a shot from range that was pegged for the bottom-right corner, while Brett again forced a save by Fenlason with a shot from a tight angle midway through the second half. The Hounds threatened once more with two minutes to go as Christian Volesky almost pulled off a heel-flick finish that went just wide of the left post, while Greig missed the target to the right after a deflected shot fell to him a minute later, but the game fittingly ended all square as neither side found a breakthrough.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Sam Fink, Saint Louis FC – Fink produced a strong defensive display to help his side post a road shutout with eight clearances while going 9 of 13 in duels and 7 of 11 in aerials.

 

CHARLESTON BATTERY (3), NASHVILLE SC (1)

CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Battery stopped Nashville’s recent winning streak in its tracks as Jarad van Schaik scored twice to lift the hosts at MUSC Health Stadium. Nashville carried the early play, but the Battery took the lead in the 14th minute when O’Brian Woodbine won possession on the right side and delivered a cross that bounced to Van Schaik at the far post for a first-time finish that flew into the top-left corner. Nashville’s Daniel Rios had a chance turned wide by Battery goalkeeper Joe Kuzminsky early in the second half as the visitors looked for an equalizer, but Charleston doubled its lead in the 64th minute when Bosua scored his first professional goal with a sharp finish after being played in behind the NSC defense by Kotaro Higashi. Van Schaik added a third with a brilliant free kick in the 73rd minute as the ball crossed the goal line off the underside of the crossbar before Bosua nodded home the potential rebound to make sure, while Nashville goalkeeper Matt Pickens had to make saves on both Brian Anunga and Kyle Nelson to keep Charleston from adding to its lead. Nashville pulled a goal back with a minute to go as Rios scored from the penalty spot, but the Battery were never in danger of letting all three points slip away.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Jarad van Schaik, Charleston Battery – Two standout finishes by the veteran midfielder earned the Battery a big home victory against a strong visiting foe.

 

CHARLOTTE INDEPENDENCE (0), NORTH CAROLINA FC (3)

MATTHEWS, N.C. – NCFC claimed the first North Carolina Derby of 2019 as it pulled away for victory against the Independence at the Sportsplex at Matthews. The Independence had the first good look at goal as Niki Jackson drove a shot just wide of the right post from 25 yards, but after a generally quiet first half North Carolina began to take the upper hand late on. Ben Speas almost put the visitors ahead in the 44th minute only to see his low shot ring off the left post, but in first-half stoppage time NCFC captain Austin da Luz corralled possession 25 yards from goal and produced a low finish to the bottom-right corner to put his side ahead at the break. North Carolina almost doubled its lead on a defensive mistake by the Independence that allowed Marios Lomis to chip a finish past advancing Charlotte goalkeeper Curtis Anderson only for Hugh Roberts to clear to safety before the ball crossed the line. The Independence’s Jake Areman almost caught a break as he looked to level in the 66th minute as his shot from 25 yards took a big deflection that sent it just wide of the left post, but NCFC doubled its lead with 17 minutes to go as he tucked home a close-range finish from Manny Perez’s cross from the right. The visitors then wrapped up all three points with five minutes to go as Ben Speas drove home a thunderous finish into the left corner from 25 yards to put an exclamation point on North Carolina’s third win of the season.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Ben Speas, North Carolina FC – Speas was in the middle of much of NCFC’s good attacking moves and notched two key passes and one hit post before his standout finish to cap the victory.

 

REAL MONARCHS SLC (3), SAN ANTONIO FC (2)

HERRIMAN, Utah – The Monarchs staged a remarkable comeback from a two-goal deficit to defeat SAFC at Zions Bank Stadium. San Antonio grabbed the lead in the sixth minute when Brian Gomez took advantage of an errant pass on the Monarchs’ back line to fire home a first-time finish into the left corner of the net, and then doubled their advantage 12 minutes later when Gomez latched onto a perfectly-played through-ball by Walter Restrepo, rounded the goalkeeper and finished into the open net. The Monarchs almost pulled a goal back in the 33rd minute when SAFC goalkeeper Matt Cardone denied a one-on-one chance for Josh Heard, and Cardone pulled off a big stop a minute before halftime to keep out Douglas Martinez from close range. The Monarchs’ pressure paid off early in the second half when James Moberg was fouled in the penalty area, allowing Maikel Chang to convert from the spot to halve the deficit in the 48th minute. Real struck again from the penalty spot in the 56th minute after Kyle Coffee was brought down in the area as Jack Blake fired into the left corner of the net to convert, and the Monarchs then took the lead with 18 minutes to go as Coffee put home a diving header from Martinez’s cross from the left. San Antonio tried to find a way back into the game late on, but Real held firm to ensure a third consecutive home victory.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Kyle Coffee, Real Monarchs SLC – Coffee had a major impact after coming on as a substitute, first earning the Monarchs’ second penalty kick and then scoring the game-winning goal.

 

LOUISVILLE CITY FC (1), OTTAWA FURY FC (0)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – LouCity broke a three-game winless streak as Lucky Mkosana’s second-half finish lifted the side past Fury FC at Slugger Field. Louisville pushed the game from the start and Speedy Williams almost put the hosts ahead in the ninth minute only for his shot to go just wide of the right post. Abdou Mbacke Thiam might have scored for the hosts just before the half-hour mark only to spoon his finish over the net from close range, while Williams forced a big save by Fury FC goalkeeper Callum Irving before Thiam’s rebound chance bounced wide. LouCity’s pressure continued, and Irving came sharply off his line to deny a chance for Shaun Francis a few minutes later before making a tremendous low save on Thiam five minutes into the second half that saw him narrowly edge the ball wide of the right post. The breakthrough finally arrived for LouCity on the hour-mark when Mkosana tucked home a near-post finish off Niall McCabe’s low cross from the right into the bottom-left corner of the net, and the hosts almost doubled their advantage with 20 minutes to go when Oscar Jimenez rang the crossbar from 25 yards. Ottawa almost equalized when Wal Fall found space on a quickly-taken free kick only for his shot to be denied by LouCity goalkeeper Ben Lundt and for Thomas Meilleur-Giguere’s rebound chance to go wide of the right post, but from there the hosts saw out their first win since March 23.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Lucky Mkosana, Louisville City FC – Mkosana scored the decisive goal for the hosts and also notched two key passes as he linked play in the attacking half well.

 

BIRMINGHAM LEGION FC (0), SWOPE PARK RANGERS (0)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Neither Legion FC nor the Rangers could break down their opposing defenses in a scoreless draw at BBVA Compass Field. Swope Park almost stole a lead inside the opening minute, but Ethan Vanacore-Decker’s shot was saved by Legion FC goalkeeper Matt Van Oekel after the visitors won possession in the attacking half. Van Oekel was called on again in the 31st minute as he turned wide a low shot from 25 yards that was headed to the bottom-left corner by the Rangers’ Ayyoub Allach, while four minutes later Birmingham’s Daniel Johnson fired just wide of the right post as the game went to the break scoreless. The hosts had a chance to take the lead with 19 minutes to go when a long ball forward fell nicely for Prosper Kasim, but his shot deflected off teammate Edward Opoku and spun wide of the net. The Rangers threatened again when Allach tested Van Oekel with 11 minutes to go, while Jerome Ngom Mbekeli and Allach both almost grabbed a stoppage-time winner with efforts that were kept out by the Legion FC shot-stopper. The game ended scoreless, however, as neither side found a breakthrough.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Mathieu Laurent, Birmingham Legion FC – Laurent put together a strong defensive performance, winning 9 of 11 duels, all seven aerial duels while recording three interceptions and two tackles.

 

BETHLEHEM STEEL FC (0), INDY ELEVEN (3)

CHESTER, Pa. – Indy claimed its fourth consecutive victory to continue its surge up the Eastern Conference as it defeated Bethlehem Steel FC at Talen Energy Stadium. Indy struck twice in three minutes midway through the first half to take control of the game, with the first coming in the 26th minute when Trinidad & Tobago international Neveal Hackshaw swept home a finish off a corner kick. Two minutes later Dane Kelly scored the 70th regular-season goal of his Championship career when he picked out the top-right corner after being played into the right side of the penalty area by Ayoze. The Eleven almost made it three in the 36th minute but Tyler Pasher’s breakaway chance was denied by Bethlehem goalkeeper Carlos Miguel Coronel. Steel FC got onto the front foot more in the second half, and Michee Ngalina flashed a shot from just over 20 yards narrowly wide of the left post in the 56th minute, but Coronel had to come up big again to turn over a shot by Pasher 13 minutes later. Indy sealed its victory in the 73rd minute, however, as Pasher got in behind the defense and rounded Coronel before finishing into the open net.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Tyler Pasher, Indy Eleven – Pasher consistently challenged Bethlehem’s back line as he finished with three shots on goal and was rewarded with the Eleven’s third goal of the game.

 

NEW YORK RED BULLS II (1), LOUDOUN UNITED FC (3)

MONTCLAIR, N.J. – Loudoun United FC rallied from an early deficit to earn its first victory in club history and hand the Red Bulls II their first loss of the 2019 campaign at MSU Soccer Park. The Red Bulls II took the lead in just the fourth minute when Mathias Jørgensen flicked home a near-post finish off Janos Loebe’s low cross from the left. Loudoun rebounded strongly and almost leveled when Kyle Murphy headed off the crossbar from a corner in the 11th minute, but three minutes later Orlando Sinclair found the net for the visitors at the second attempt after his first shot had been saved by Red Bulls II goalkeeper Evan Louro. United then took the lead in the 22nd minute when Andy Lubahn fired home a low finish after a corner deflected to the top of the penalty area. Both teams hit the woodwork before halftime, Loudoun’s Jack Jean-Baptiste first hitting the crossbar with a header before a deflected shot by Jared Stroud hit the left post. Stroud then shot over from eight yards when he seemed set to level the score nine minutes before halftime, and the hosts had more chances to level after the introduction of Tom Barlow in the second half. Stroud had a powerful shot turned away by United goalkeeper Calle Brown with 18 minutes to go, and Brown tipped a header by Barlow onto the crossbar and over moments later. Loudoun added to its lead in the 78th minute, however, as Murphy headed home from Akeem Ward’s cross sealed a historic win for the visitors.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Calle Brown, Loudoun United FC – Brown recorded six saves, including a pair of big stops when his side held a one-goal lead – to key United’s first victory..

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