USL wrap: Charleston moves into first
The lone remaining unbeaten in the USL First Division, the Charleston Battery, finally found themselves atop the league table as they posted a victory and a draw in a two-game series on the road against the expansion Austin Aztex.
Upon his return with the Canadian national team, Tyler Hemming helped guide the club to a 2-0 win Friday night, and on Sunday, the Battery drew a 10-man Aztex squad 1-1 to move to 6-0-5 on the season, one point ahead of the 7-2-1 Carolina RailHawks, who were idle on the week.
Charleston started well Friday and opened the scoring in only the 11th minute. Midfielder Tyler Hemming forced his way through the middle then slipped a pass forward to Darren Spicer who finished neatly at the near post. The Battery sealed the win in the 66th minute as Matt Bobo scored his first goal for the club. Hemming drove in a corner kick and Bobo snapped a header under the crossbar to make it 2-0.
Charleston goalkeeper Dusty Hudock got the night off Sunday, but reserve netminder Keith Wiggans went relatively untested as the Aztex were forced to play a man down following an immediate first-minute sending off of midfielder Michael Callahan for a reckless tackle.
Charleston scored 10 minutes into the second half after midfielder Kenji Treschuk volleyed home into the empty net. Austin eventually stole a point thanks to a Lyle Adams cross that found Jeff Harwell in the 76th minute.
USL First Division
Thursday, June 4
Puerto Rico 2-1 Cleveland
Puerto Rico defender Cristian Arrieta put the hosts on the board 23 minutes in when he converted a penalty kick. The lead was doubled in the 35th as Petter Villegas connected with Sean Fraser for the Islanders. Pato Aguilera found Ryan Stewart for Cleveland in the 72nd to cut the deficit, but it was not enough.
Portland 1-0 Montreal
Locked in a stalemate, the Timbers found the winning strike in the 90th minute when late second half substitute Keith Savage , on an assist from Cameron Knowles, beat Matt Jordan for the winner.
Saturday, June 6
Puerto Rico 2-2 Cleveland
For the second straight game, the Islanders took the lead on a Cristian Arrieta spot kick, going ahead in the 36th minute. Four minutes later Kendall Jagdeosingh made it 2-0 for the hosts. Then, on the rain-soaked pitch, Cleveland fought back with Ricardo Pierre Louis scoring in the 51st and Pato Aguilera four minutes later to draw them level. The comeback looked to be unraveling though when Troy Roberts was sent off in the 65th, but Puerto Rico's Sandy Gbandi would also hit the showers early just two minutes later to leave them both with 10 men.
Rochester 0-0 Minnesota
The winless Thunder had an excellent chance at finding their first win as Nic Platter kept the Rhinos scoreless with six saves, but the offense was unable to produce a winner as Rochester back-up goalkeeper Tim Melia matched the effort on the other end with six saves of his own.
Sunday, June 7
Vancouver 1-2 Montreal
After being swept in their two Nutrilite Canadian Championship matches, the Impact exacted some revenge in league play. Leading the way was former Whitecap Eduardo Sebrango, who tallied 20 minutes in to give Montreal the lead. Marcus Haber leveled the match three minutes before the break for Vancouver only to see David Testo restore Montreal's advantage two minutes later with what held as the winner.
USL Second Division
The last-place Western Mass Pioneers were the story of the week, posting two victories at home to move off the bottom of the table. They downed Crystal Palace Friday 2-1 and blanked Real Maryland 2-0 the following night. The other top headline of the week was Richmond's dismantling of the league-leading Harrisburg City Islanders to the tune of 5-0 Saturday. Also winning big on the week was Charlotte, who blasted Bermuda 6-0 Saturday after the Hogges came off a narrow 1-0 defeat the night before in Wilmington.
Premier Development League
The Kalamazoo Outrage moved to 5-0-2 on the week with a 6-1 win over Fort Wayne and a 3-1 victory over Michigan. In the other half of the Central Conference, the Heartland Division leaders exchanged blows as St Louis won at home Saturday 2-0 against Real Colorado before the Foxes returned the favor Sunday with a 3-1 road win over the Lions. After a late start, the Ottawa Fury are quickly gaining ground in their division, handing Ocean City their first loss 2-0 Friday and blasting Westchester 9-0 Sunday. In the Northwest, Kitsap moved to 5-0-2 with a 2-2 draw at Cascade Wednesday and a 1-0 victory over Portland Saturday. Ventura County made a big move to catch Hollywood at the top of the Southwest with a 3-2 road victory over the division leaders Thursday, but could only muster one point Sunday in a scoreless draw against Los Angeles.
The biggest headline of the week was easily the Pali Blues road trip. After finishing with a perfect record en route to the championship last year, the Blues opened their second campaign with two wins, but suffered their first loss of points in team history, playing to a 2-2 draw in Seattle Friday. Then the Vancouver Whitecaps repeated the feat with a 1-1 draw Sunday, severely damaging the Blues' hopes of a repeat regular season title. Ottawa jumped past Toronto with a 5-1 victory over the Lady Lynx while Quebec City moved to 3-1-0 with a 3-0 win over Toronto. A little further south, Hudson Valley went to 4-0-0 with a 2-1 victory Saturday over Boston, who rebounded with a 2-0 win at New Jersey Sunday.