Photo by Jon Lorentz/Orlando City SC
By FRANCO PANIZO
Orlando City SC are the kings of the USL Pro regular season once again.
Orlando claimed a second consecutive league title last Friday after picking up a commanding 4-0 victory over the Charleston Battery. Orlando benefited from two early tallies, an own goal from Kyle Hoffer and a strike from Matt Luzunaris, and two second-half finishes from Dennis Chin to lift the regular season trophy in front of their home crowd at the Florida Citrus Bowl a day before they lost to Stoke City in a friendly inside the same venue.
The victory also guaranteed the defending champions homefield advantage through the 2012 postseason, and it gave them 50 points with three games remaining in the regular season. The Lions are now 15-1-5 on the year.
Here's a look back at all the Week 17 action in USL Pro:
CHARLOTTE EAGLES 1, RICHMOND KICKERS 0
Playing in their home leg of a two-games-in-two-days stretch this past weekend, the Eagles topped the Kickers, 1-0, on Friday to extend their winning streak to six games. Darryl Roberts scored the winner with 10 minutes left in the match, and goalkeeper Eric Reed made four saves to post the clean sheet.
PITTSBURGH RIVERHOUNDS 4, ANTIGUA BARRACUDA FC 1
Led by a brace from Matt Kassel, the Riverhounds routed last-place Antigua Barracuda, 4-1, on Friday. Kassel scored the opener before assisting on Jeremy Deighton's first-half finish in a Man of the Match-worthy performance. Antigua Barracuda pulled one back through Tamarley Thomas in the second half, but Kassel and Mike Seth put the game out of reach with two goals a minute apart.
ROCHESTER RHINOS 1, LOS ANGELES BLUES 0
The Blues suffered a loss in the cruelest of ways on Friday. Matheau Hall netted an own goal at the hour-mark and that doomed the Blues to fall at the hands of the Rhinos, 1-0. Los Angeles looked for an equalizer to pick up a point on the road, but they never found one.
HARRISBURG CITY ISLANDERS 2, LOS ANGELES BLUES 0
Playing in their second match in two days, the Blues fell again by suffering a 2-0 loss to the City Islanders. Morgan Langley and Lucky Mkosana both scored in the second half, and City Islanders goalkeeper Nicholas Noble made four saves to help preserve the shutout. Langley netted the winner and then set up Mkosana's finish.
RICHMOND KICKERS 2, CHARLOTTE EAGLES 1
The Eagles' winning streak came to a close a day after they had prolonged it. The Kickers defeated the Eagles, 2-0, in their home leg of the two-games-in-two-days stretch for the two teams on Saturday. William Yomby scored on each side of halftime for the Kickers before Jorge Herrera pulled one back for Charlotte before they ultimately failed to find an equalizer.
DAYTON DUTCH LIONS 3, ANTIGUA BARRACUDA FC 1
Three unanswered goals by the Dutch Lions saw them bounce back from going down 1-0 early and see off Antigua Barracuda, 3-1, on Sunday. The Dutch Lions fell behind in the 12th minute due to a goal from Darrelle Russell, but they equalized two minutes later through Nixon Dias. Dayton then scored twice in the second half to pick up the three points and hand the last-place Barracudas their second loss in three days.
USL PRO STANDINGS
1. Orlando City SC (15-1-5, 50 points, +29 GD)
2. Rochester Rhinos (11-5-5, 38 points, +8 GD)
3. Charleston Battery (11-8-0, 33 points, +10 GD)
4. Wilmington Hammerheads (8-6-6, 30 points, +1 GD)
5. Harrisburg City Islanders (8-5-6, 30 points, +4 GD)
6. Richmond Kickers (8-7-5, 29 points, +1 GD)
7. Charlotte Eagles (8-9-2, 26 points, +1 GD)
8. Los Angeles Blues (7-10-2, 23 points, -4 GD)
9. Dayton Dutch Lions (4-10-7, 19 points, -9 GD)
10. Pittsburgh Riverhounds (4-12-5, 17 points, -13 GD)
11. Antigua Barracuda FC (3-14-1, 10 points, -28 GD)
What do you think of these results? Are Orlando City destined to win in the playoffs? Surprised the Blues lost both of their games this weekend?
Share your thoughts below.