Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By MIKE GRAMAJO
Orlando City SC’s dream USL Pro season continues to shimmer.
Back-to-back road matches didn’t mean much for Orlando City as they extended their unbeaten run to nine games after defeating the winless Pittsburgh Riverhounds 1-0 on Friday, which continued with a 1-1 draw at Rochester Rhinos the following day.
Kevin Molino was the catalyst for the Lions on Friday, scoring the lone goal of the match in the 14th minute when Dennis Chin found him unmarked to slot the ball behind the net. However, Saturday displayed Orlando fielding a rather B-side in a match where the Rhinos failed to take advantage of.
Despite a rather slow start, Rochester took the lead in the 34th minute after JC Banks found Tyler Rosenlund, who headed the ball past goalkeeper Carl Woszcynski. Adrian Heath soon inserted most of his usual starters in the second half, which evidently resulted into Orlando leveling the match after Luke Boden executed on a failed clearance in the 62nd minute.
The Lions remain in first place in the USL Pro standings with 21 points, three points clear from second place LA Galaxy II.
Here’s a closer look at the rest of week eight action in the USL Pro:
RICHMOND DISMANTLE ARIZONA AT CITY STADIUM
George Davis IV’s opener in the 50th minute paved the way, as the Richmond Kickers cruised to a 4-0 victory over Arizona United SC on Friday night at City Stadium.
With the match scoreless in the first half, The Kickers took advantage of a 10-man Arizona side after Bradless Baladez received a red card in the 26th minute. Davis broke the deadlock in the 50th minute after his strike from close range beat goalkeeper Evan Newton.
Matthew Delicate doubled the lead in the 62nd minute before Christiano Francois’s 84th minute strike made it 3-0. Arizona would help Richmond cap the match before the final whistle after Tyler Ruthven’s own-goal made it 4-0.
Arizona responded back the following day, winning 1-0 at Harrisburg City Islanders after Brandon Swartzendruber’s first-half goal proved the difference.
LOS DOS SQUANDER LEAD, SETTLE FOR DRAW AT DAYTON
Chandler Hoffman looked to have scored the winner for the LA Galaxy II, but Aaron Schoenfeld’s equalizer salvaged the Dayton Dutch Lions a 1-1 draw on Saturday at the DOC Stadium.
Hoffman, who co-leads the league in scoring with five goals, gave Los Dos the lead in the 41st minute after Jamieson Bradford’s through-ball found the forward who slipped the ball behind goalkeeper Matt Williams. However, the lead was short lived as Dayton was awarded a penalty kick after a handball was whistled, leaving Schoenfeld to deliver the equalizer before halftime.
Despite the draw, the LA Galaxy II remain unbeaten in six games. Meanwhile, Dayton extends their winless streak to three games.
HAMMERHEADS EDGE BATTERY AT BLACKBAUD
After an impressing two-game road stretch, which saw the Charleston Battery score a combine six goals while also shutting out the opponent, things were rather different once they returned home.
Paul Nicholson’s third minute strike was all the Wilmington Hammerheads needed to clinch a 1-0 victory over the Charleston Battery on Saturday night at Blackbaud Stadium in front of 4,497 in attendance.
Omar Salgado’s return to the Vancouver Whitecaps earlier in the week played a heavy factor in the Battery’s defeat, after the 2011 MLS SuperDraft No. 1 pick scored twice on the road during week seven.
ENERGY FALL TO OC BLUES, EXTEND LOSING STREAK TO FOUR GAMES
Gibson Bardsley’s stoppage-time winner lifted the Orange County Blues to a 1-0 victory at Oklahoma City Energy FC on Saturday night at Pribil Stadium with a sell-out crowd of 3,860 in attendance.
The Energy are now riding a four-game losing streak, and have yet to win at home this season after opening their home season to a 2-1 defeat against Orlando City. Meanwhile, the Blues snapped their three-game losing streak and are back on the road on Sunday when they visit the Seattle Sounders Reserves during inter-league play.
What did you think of Week 8? Who do you think can stop Orlando City? Can the Kickers continue their quest for the top? Do you think Los Dos will ever reach first place? What do you think of the Energy’s current losing streak?
Share your thoughts below.