Richmond wins USL Second Division title
Brief reports of United Soccer Leagues play this weekend. USL Second Division Championship The Richmond Kickers won their third championship in team history, claiming the USL Second Division title 11 years after claiming the double of the league and U.S. Open Cup titles in 1995 with a 2-1 win over Charlotte. Charlotte had the first quality chance on goal in the second minute of play. The ball skirted out to Andy Guastaferro at the top right corner of the six yard box. Guastaferro hit a one-timer on the volley, blasting it inside the right post, but Pascale was there to make a quality save. Richmond took the lead in the ninth minute on a penalty kick. Michael Burke, advancing in on goal from the left side was taken down by Aaron Faro. Robert Ssejjemba took the awarded penalty shot and beat Dan Benton on the right side, as Benton went opposite. Burke, who was dangerous all night as he drove at the Charlotte defense was named the USL Second Division Most Valuable Player. In the 33rd minute Richmond extended their lead to two goals. Kevin Knight set up the goal with a beautiful cross from the left corner. Knight's service found Chris Carrieri in the middle. Carrieri controlled with his chest and fired a volley shot to the lower right corner, beating the dive of Benton. Mike Burke had one last quality chance for Richmond before the first half whistle. Burke's shot from the top of the box was saved by Benton, but continued to trickle toward the goal. Ben Johnson cleared the ball away from danger as Ssejjemba was charging in to put it away. The Eagles had a close chance to cut the lead in half in the 60th minute off the corner kick from Dustin Swinehart. Kevin Knight cleared the ball at the goal line with a bicycle kick to preserve the 2-0 lead. The Richmond Kickers dropped back for most of the second half, protecting the lead with tight defense and looking for chances to advance on the counter-attack. Charlotte possessed the ball well in Richmond's half, but had trouble penetrating in the final third to create and capitalize on scoring chances. The Eagles really began to pressure in the final minutes of play in desparation. In the 89th minute, Ross Spencer pushed down the right side and made a low pass across to Sam Casey at the top of the six yard box. Casey's shot was sent over the cross bar. In the 90th minute Charlotte's pressure finally paid off with a goal as Spencer proved to be Charlotte's top player in the game. Andriy Budnyy made a great through pass onto the run of Spencer. He then maneuvered around Pascale and scored with a left-footed shot to the right side. Richmond held onto the lead through a frenzied period of stoppage time to cap off the 2-1 victory, earning the 2006 USL Second Division Championship. USL First Division Wednesday, August 23 Montreal Impact 1 at Toronto Lynx 1 The Toronto Lynx extended a home unbeaten run to seven games by recording their third straight draw against one of the league's top sides. Jamie Dodds opened the scoring three minutes into the second half with Montreal's Ze Roberto tallying the equalizer in the 70th for the visitors. Friday, August 25 Virginia Beach Mariners 1 at Montreal Impact 0 The league-leading Impact suffered their second straight loss at home, extending a winless run to four games. Felix Brillant's strike in the 70th proved the difference as Matt Nelson made nine saves for the clean sheet for the Mariners. Miami FC 2 at Atlanta Silverbacks 1 Romario scored 22 minutes in to give Miami the lead and Diego Walsh doubled it in the 65th as the South Floridians avenged a 2-1 loss from the week prior. An own goal by JP Rodrigues was Atlanta's lone score in the 78th. Minnesota Thunder 0 at Seattle Sounders 1 An Andrew Gregor tally nine minutes in was enough as the Sounders held the visitors to five shots for the victory. Chris Eylander made four saves for the shutout. Saturday, August 26 Puerto Rico Islanders 1 at Rochester Raging Rhinos 1 Chasing a playoff spot, the Islanders grabbed a point at second-place Rochester despite being outshot 17-3 in the match. The visitors got on the board first with an own goal two minutes before the break and Connally Edozien provided the home side's equalizer in the 71st. Minnesota Thunder 2 at Vancouver Whitecaps 2 Joey Gjertsen put the Whitecaps up 2-0 with a score 35 minutes in and an assist to Steve Kindel in the 59th. But Minnesota, in desperate playoff hopes, charged right back with back-to-back goals set up by Matt Schmidt. Schmidt found Nathan Knox in the 67th and two minutes later connected with Ansu Toure for the equalizer. Sunday, August 27 Virginia Beach Mariners 0 at Montreal Impact 2 Fresh off clinching a playoff berth the night before with the Islanders draw, the Impact snapped their four-game winless run by avenging Friday's defeat with a 2-0 win in Sherbrooke. Mauricio Salles provided both scores, finding the back of the net in the 22nd and the 69th. Greg Sutton needed just two saves for the shutout. Puerto Rico Islanders 0 at Toronto Lynx 1 The Lynx continue the good form, extending their home unbeaten run to eight games. Defender Marko Bedenikovic provided the loan strike in the 16th minute and helped his side shutout the visitors, limiting the Islanders to seven shots. Theo Zagar recorded the clean sheet on two saves. Atlanta Silverbacks 1 at Miami FC 7 No misprint, Miami registered the most stunning result in some time in the league by hanging seven on the Silverbacks without any red cards or penalties. Romario led the way with a hat-trick on the night to move within one of league leader Cam Weaver of Seattle. Diego Walsh opened the scoring in the 14th minute and closed the scoring in the 72nd. Sean Fraser scored the first of his two goals and two assists in the 31st with his second coming in the 49th to make it 4-0. Romario's first came in the 34th with Fraser setting him up in the 55th and 59th to push the lead to 6-0 with his 17th of the year before Rodrigo Rios spoiled the shutout in the 64th.