USL Wrap: Battery, Islanders trade places
A week after seeing the Puerto Rico Islanders move to the top of the table with a pair of 1-0 victories in the Caribbean over Charleston, the Battery got their revenge with a 1-0 win of their own in South Carolina over those same Islanders to move back to the top of the USL First Division table. Randi Patterson delivered the deciding strike on the half-hour mark as Dusty Hudock registered his ninth shutout of the campaign.
The lead was short-lived, however, as Puerto Rico traveled to North Carolina two days later and came from behind 2-1 victory to reclaim first against the third-place Carolina RailHawks, who after leading most of the season were looking to grab a share of the lead with Charleston. Amir Lowery put Carolina on the board in the 40th minute only to see Jonathan Steele answer right back two minutes later. Petter Villegas struck the winner in the 63rd when he put away a loose rebound.
A little bit later on Saturday, the Rochester Rhinos went up two in Minnesota on goals from Andrew Gregor and Mike Ambersley en route to a 2-1 victory, pulling themselves in reach of the foursome at the top of the table.
Three points in front of Rochester were the Portland Timbers, who on Sunday extended their league unbeaten streak to 12 games with a decisive 4-0 victory over the visiting Montreal Impact to jump to third in the table over Carolina. Mandjou Keita scored nine minutes in and surprised the Impact two minutes into the second stanza for a brace. After setting up the second goal, George Josten connected with Brian Farber to put the Timbers up 3-0 in the 56th. Keita nearly completed a hat-trick, but trying to prevent it was Simon Gatti, who inadvertently sent a back pass past an onrushing Matt Jordan and into the back of his own net for an own goal in the 64th. Earlier in the week on Tuesday, the Vancouver Whitecaps played to a 2-2 draw in Cleveland. Martin Nash found Marcus Haber to give Vancouver the lead 18 minutes in, but Leo Gibson leveled 10 minutes later and Pato Aguilera converted a penalty just before the break. Nash would strike himself, though, for the equalizer in stoppage time to avoid the upset. Meanwhile, defender Nevio Pizzolitto gave Montreal a 1-0 win Tuesday with an 80th minute tally.
In a showdown of two of the three bottom teams, the Austin Aztex appeared to have a victory in hand on goals from Josh Alcala and Jeff Harwell only to see Ricardo Pierre-Louis strike in the 90th minute on Israel Sesay's second assist of the night. He previously set up the go-ahead goal from Joshua Boateng.
USL Second Division
In a quiet week in USL-2, the big headline was Wilmington's 3-2 victory over the league-leading Harrisburg City Islanders, who played to a scoreless draw in Charlotte the night before. Three different players scored for the second-place Hammerheads in the win. In other results, Matthew Delicate scored both to lead Richmond to a 2-1 win in Pittsburgh while Bermuda struck late to tie visiting Western Mass 2-2.
Premier Development League
In the PDL, the biggest match of the week was unbeaten Ottawa versus division leading Long Island, who was a win away from clinching a playoff spot. The Fury took a narrow 1-0 decision to inch closer to the division lead. Forest City London, the Des Moines Menace and the Kitsap Pumas also kept their unbeaten status in tact for the season.
Perfection came to an end in the W-League this week as the Ottawa Fury suffered their first loss of points in a 1-1 draw at Laval. Meanwhile, the Atlanta Silverbacks saw a perfect season spoiled in Tampa for a second straight year, falling 1-0 to the Hellenic.