Brief reports of United Soccer Leagues play this weekend.
The Vancouver Whitecaps became the fourth team to win a second W-League championship by downing the Ottawa Fury 3-0 Sunday in Vancouver in front of 4,218 at Swangard Stadium.
Two years after edging New Jersey in penalties for their first championship, the Whitecaps won their second in dominating fashion, advancing from Friday's semifinal against rival Seattle 5-0 with a flawless second half performance that netted four goals.
Canadian superstar Christine Sinclair, who was named Championship MVP, scored three times, netting the opening goals in both games and the closer in the semi. Former US international Tiffeny Milbrett scored in the semifinal and set up Sinclair's championship winner with a brilliant flick over her head with her back turned to the goal at the near post.
Vancouver's defenders played a critical role with two shutouts, but also offensively. Martina Franko scored in both matches and Sasha Andrews got in the mix with a header off a free kick in the final. Andrews also stopped Ottawa's best chance in the match, clearing a shot off the line from Amy Vermeulen, who came into the game with seven playoff tallies, to keep the match scoreless in the early going.
Seattle rebounded from their thumping Friday with a 1-0 win over Charlotte, who fell 2-1 to Ottawa in the semifinals, to finish third. Lindsey Patterson provided the lone goal.
USL First Division
Friday, August 4
Toronto Lynx 4 at Atlanta Silverbacks 2
A 1-0 lead for the home side evaporated in the second half courtesy of Kevin Jeffrey, who scored four minutes in and again in the 67th for the lead. Two minutes later he set up Osni Neto for what proved the game-winner as both teams would go on to add one more.
Montreal Impact 1 at Virginia Beach Mariners 1
Antonio Ribeiro scored in the 31st minute to give the Impact the lead, but it would not be enough as Greg Simmonds notched an equalizer in the 71st. Ribeiro would be sent off for a second caution in the 80th, leaving the Impact short-handed for the final 10.
Vancouver Whitecaps 3 at Puerto Rico Islanders 1
Less than a minute in Joey Gjertsen stunned the home side with the opening marker and David Testo provided a second for the Caps four minutes before the break. Kormac Valdeberito converted a penalty in the 57th to cut into the lead, but it was not enough as Sita-Taty Matondo would put the match away in the 80th.
Minnesota Thunder 1 at Portland Timbers 0
Minnesota kept pace with Toronto at the bottom of the table as they inch toward passing the Timbers, who are spiraling down the table on an 11-game winless run of 0-8-3. Thunder midfielder Matt Schmidt provided the winner in the 51st minute while Joe Warren recorded the shutout without needing to make a save.
Saturday, August 5
Toronto Lynx 1 at Charleston Battery 2
Ben Hollingsworth moved the Battery to second in the table with a goal and an assist in the win, scoring in the 26th minute and setting up Ugo Okoye in the 50th. Neto scored his second of the weekend for Toronto 10 minutes from time to spoil the shutout for Dusty Hudock.
Atlanta Silverbacks 0 at Rochester Rhinos 1
Headed toward a scoreless draw and a share of the points, halftime sub Greg Howes stunned everyone in the stadium with the Rhinos winner in the 90th minute to sit level with Charleston at second on the league table. Scott Vallow posted nine saves for the clean sheet.
Sunday, August 6
Montreal Impact 1 at Virginia Beach Mariners 1
In a case of déjà vu, the two sides played to another 1-1 draw on the weekend only with the scoring in reverse. Steve Shak put the home side on the board first with a 44th minute penalty only to see Mauro Biello notch the equalizer eight minutes from time.
Vancouver Whitecaps 3 at Miami FC 2
In a thriller, Mario Rodriguez put Miami up 18 minutes in only to see Jay Alberts set up Joey Gjertsen for his second of the weekend four minutes later and David Testo for his second in the 31st. Rodriguez had a chance at an equalizer in the 41st on a penalty only to miss the spot kick. Gjertsen put the visitors up 3-1 with Francisco Gomez adding a penalty for Miami in the 67th.
USL Second Division
The Richmond Kickers downed second-place Charlotte Eagles 2-1 to secure the regular season championship. Cincinnati fell 3-1 at New Hampshire via a Almir Barbosa hat-trick Wednesday, but rebounded with a 1-0 win at Harrisburgh on a goal from Sam Fiore in the third minute that was upheld by an eight-save performance from Jordan James. Elsewhere, Long Island downed Western Mass 2-0 and Pittsburgh won 3-1 at Wilmington.
Premier Development League
The Michigan Bucks blanked Orange County 2-0 Saturday night to advance to the PDL Championship next Saturday in Laredo, where the Heat rallied from 2-0 down to edge Westchester 3-2 in the other semifinal. Kenny Uzoigwe scored in the 45th and three minutes into the second half to guide the Bucks to a second shot at winning the league title after finishing runners-up in 2000. Facing elimination, Juan Ibarra set up Daniel Galvan in the 40th and netted the equalizer two minutes later to send their semi to the half level. Defender Dionisio Infante struck the game-winner in the 90th to send third-year Laredo to the final. The Heat will host the championship Saturday, August 12.