Charleston moves top of table
The Charleston Battery used a pair of goals from Randi Patterson in a pair of 1-0 victories on the week to move into the top position in the USL First Division table while the Portland Timbers played to a pair of draws.
The Battery opened the week with a home fixture Wednesday against the Montreal Impact and secured the first three points five minutes from time when Patterson, who had scored twice in the previous 3-1 win over Miami, Patterson moved to a loose ball, created from an Alfonso Alonso strike that was blocked by defender Stefano Pesoli, and fired into the top-right corner of the goal with a hard right-footed shot.
On Saturday, it was Patterson again providing the winner in the second half, spoiling the home opener of the Rochester Rhinos. As he made a darting run behind the two central defenders, he latched on to a pass from Lazo Alavanja, He then coolly lobbed Rochester goalkeeper Scott Vallow from the edge of the penalty area.
USL First Division
Wednesday, May 14
Rochester Rhinos 1 at Seattle Sounders 1
Winless through the first four of the campaign at 0-3-1, the Rhinos looked to be headed to another defeat in their fifth and final road match to open the season when Seattle defender Zach Scott headed a Josh Gardner corner in at the 76th minute mark. Two minutes from time, however, Rochester defender Scott Palguta broke Rochester's scoreless status on the campaign with the equalizer.
Friday, May 16
Vancouver Whitecaps 1 at Miami FC Blues 0
An Miami turnover in the defensive end led to an Eduardo Sebrango tally in the 18th minute that proved the difference as Vancouver held on despite playing with 10 men after a Nicolas Addlery ejection in the 53rd.
Portland Timbers 2 at Puerto Rico Islanders 2
The league leaders saw the hosts take a stunning two-goal lead with a pair of strikes five minutes apart. Sandi Gbandi gave Puerto Rico the lead in the 20th and defender John Krause doubled the advantage. But the two-goal margin, however, was short-lived as the Timbers answered back immediately with a goal from Lawrence Olum a minute later. Seven minutes from time a cross from the left flank found the head of Chris Brown for the equalizer.
Minnesota Thunder 1 at Atlanta Silverbacks 2
The Thunder were looking to continue their new-found form, but were unable to earn any points in Atlanta as Jason McLaughlin set up Tony McManus in the 35th minute and scored himself in the 50th for a two-goal lead that proved just enough. Minnesota's Melvin Tarley cut the deficit in the 70th, but the equalizer would not be for the visitors.
Sunday, May 18
Portland Timbers 0 at Miami FC Blues 0
The Timbers played to a fourth consecutive draw in Miami with goalkeeper Ray Burse earning his fifth shutout in seven games. Former Timber netminder Josh Saunders had the clean sheet for Miami.
Minnesota Thunder 0 at Carolina RailHawks 0
Delayed by over an hour by lightning, the match proved to be a thriller despite no scores. Minnesota goalkeeper Nicolas Platter and RailHawks netminder Chris McClellan each was forced into some great saves to record their clean sheets on the night.
Atlanta Silverbacks 2 at Seattle Sounders 4
In the second meeting of last year's finalists, it was defending champions who again came out on top, having previously won 2-0 in Atlanta. Reigning league MVP Sebastien LeToux, who came in with his only goal having come against Atlanta, opened the scoring immediately two minutes into the match. McLaughlin scored in his third straight game in the 25th to level the score. Josh Garner put the Sounders up again in the 35th only to see Atlanta answer immediately with a goal from Ansu Toure at the other end. Halftime proved critical as Atlanta substitute Zach Kirby only saw three minutes of action, seeing red for an elbow in the box that led to a Leighton O'Brien penalty in the 50th minute. Gardner scored his second to put the game away in the 70th.
USL Second Division
The Real Maryland Monarchs registered the big win of the week, knocking off the unbeaten Cleveland City Stars in dramatic fashion 3-2. Cleveland built a two-goal lead just 16 minutes into the match, but El Salvadorian international Dennis Alas cut it in half in the 29th minute. In the second half, William Brindley found Nilson Perez for the equalizer in the 51st and Alas for the winner in the 87th to secure a berth in the US Open Cup for the first-year club courtesy of Wilmington only earning a draw, 1-1, against the defending champion Harrisburg.
Crystal Palace Baltimore remained perfect on the year at 4-0-0 with a 1-0 win at Bermuda Saturday on a fourth minute goal from defender Ibrahim Kante, pulling within a point of 4-0-1 Charlotte, who played Harrisburg to a 1-1 draw Friday. Richmond ended a rare two-game skid with a 1-0 win at Western Mass.
Premier Development League
Perfection is nearly mandatory in qualifying for the US Open Cup out of the PDL. Among those leading the charge for berths heading into the final weekend of play are St Louis, Cleveland, Chicago and Michigan in the Central group, which sends two. Brooklyn and Fredericksburg are the lone two who can finish perfect in the Eastern group (two berths), but New Hampshire currently leads in points at 2-0-1. Laredo, Austin and Mississippi can all finish with 10 points for the Mid South's lone berth while Central Florida is the lone perfect team in the Southeast (one berth) at 3-0-0, leading Bradenton, who can finish with 10 points.
In the Northwest group, BYU sits at the top at 2-0-0, but Yakima and Ogden are also in the chase for the lone berth with 1-0-1 records. Only two teams remain alive for the Southwest's lone spot with San Jose having finished 3-0-1 and Los Angeles (2-0-1) needing a victory to force tiebreakers.
The Atlanta Silverbacks proved why they were finalists last season with a textbook showing in a 5-0 victory Friday over the expansion Carolina RailHawks, who rebounded to defeat Richmond Sunday 3-0. On the opposite coast, the Ventura County Fusion rebounded from a similar drubbing in their opener to narrowly fall 1-0 in Seattle Thursday before surprising Vancouver Saturday with a 2-2 draw. FC Indiana won in their debut, posting a 2-0 victory on the road against Kalamazoo.
Tampa Bay rebounded from a loss in their inaugural match to win a pair on the road, downing Hampton Roads and West Virginia by the same 3-0 scoreline.