Brief reports of United Soccer Leagues play this week.
Premier Development League Championship
Saturday, August 13
Des Moines Menace 0 at El Paso Patriots 0 (PK 6-5)
Des Moines wins championship on penalties 6-5 in seven rounds. Despite numerous dangerous chances, the 2005 PDL championship between the Des Moines Menace and El Paso Patriots was decided in a dramatic seven-round penalty kick showdown with the visiting Menace prevailing in the tiebreaker 6-5 in front of 6,792 after a scoreless 120-minute game.
El Paso's Rodrigo Morin had his shot from the spot stopped by Menace goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum in the second round to give Des Moines the advantage. Des Moines' Cody Kother stepped up in the fifth round with the score level and sent his potential winner off the crossbar, banging down on the wrong side of the goalline to send the the tiebreaker into sudden death tied 4-4 after five rounds. Both sides saw their sixth round shots find net but Daniel Casteneda's shot in the seventh was not far enough to the left for a diving Gruenebaum, who made the critical stop. Luke Frieberg knocked home the winner to give the Menace, in their 12th season, the championship.
The closest chances of the game were by Des Moines. At the hour mark Justin McGeeney ripped a long shot from just inside the 18 on the left that just struck off the front of the crossbar and down on the wrong side of the goalline. A minute into stoppage time at the end of regulation, a long ball forward from Gruenebaum was punched out by El Paso's Jimmy Garcia, who collided with a pair of players awaiting the ball in the box. The ball fell to Armin Mujdzic, whose shot to the near post was cleared off the line by Carlos Dominguez at the left post.
Two minutes into overtime Gruenebaum made a nice aggresive play, coming out to knock the ball off 2005 PDL MVP Daniel Frias' feet 12 yards from goal as he was driving in on the attack. Two minutes later Frias found himself once again in all alone after stealing the ball from Frieberg at the top of the box only to see his shot stopped by Gruenebaum, who was named the PDL Championship Most Valuable Player.
USL First Division
Wednesday, August 10
Portland Timbers 1 at Montreal Impact 0
The Timbers pushed their unbeaten run to four games by handing the defending champions just their second loss of the campaign. Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar connected with Dan Antoniuk in the 73rd minute for the win as Josh Saunders posted eight saves in the shutout.
Vancouver Whitecaps 0 at Minnesota Thunder 0
Vancouver's Mike Franks and Minnesota's Joe Warren posted seven and six saves, respectively, in their shutout performances. The Thunder outshot the visitors 13-9 on the night.
Friday, August 12
Toronto Lynx 1 at Rochester Raging Rhinos 3
Kirk Wilson put the Rhinos on the board three minutes in the match, but the lead did not hold as the visitors equalized on a goal from Jamie Dodds in the 31st. Five minutes later, new addition Juninho DaSilva, from the Puerto Rico Islanders, found Rene Rivas to restore the lead. DaSilva then added an insurance tally in the 41st
Charleston Battery 1 at Atlanta Silverbacks 2
Ivo Ilarionov gave the Silverbacks the early lead with a goal 19 minutes in and defender Adilson DeLima made it 2-0 two minutes before the break. Charleston's Jason Kutney pulled one back for the visitors in the 71st who were unable to equalize.
Saturday, August 13
Portland Timbers 1 at Minnesota Thunder 1
Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar found Byron Alvarez in the 52nd minute to break the scoreless stalemate. Minnesota's Kevin Friedland spoiled a potential win for the Timbers, however, with the equalizer three minutes from time.
Richmond Kickers 1 at Seattle Sounders 1
The Kickers broke their run of five games without a goal, but needed nearly the entire game to do so. The Sounders took the lead early with a strike from Brent Whitfield six minutes in and with a victory in sight, defender Peter Luzak netted the equalizer for Richmond in the 89th minute.
Sunday, August 14
Puerto Rico Islanders 1 at Montreal Impact 2
Scoreless through the first half, defender Lars Lyssand gave the Impact the lead 10 minutes into the second frame. Puerto Rico's Caleb Norkus tied the match back up in the 78th. With a crucial road point in their grasp, the Islanders watched Montreal's Mauro Biello score his fifth winner in the 89th minute.
Rochester Raging Rhinos 1 at Toronto Lynx 0
Greg Howes provided the lone strike on an assist from Juninho DaSilva 12 minutes in as Scott Vallow recorded six saves for the clean sheet, including a save on a penalty kick attempt by Jamie Dodds in the ninth minute.
Richmond Kickers 1 at Vancouver Whitecaps 1
Vancouver's Steve Klein had a penalty stopped by Ronnie Pascale in the 34th minute in a stalemate that was broken in the second half with back-to-back blasts. Ian Fuller gave the Whitecaps the lead in the 64th minute only to see Tim Brown level the game three minutes later for Richmond.
USL First Division Standings (points, W-L-D)
Montreal 44 (13-2-5)
Rochester 43 (13-6-4)
Richmond 37 (10-7-7)
Vancouver 36 (9-4-9)
Seattle 36 (9-4-9)
Portland 28 (7-7-7)
Atlanta 27 (8-12-3)
Puerto Rico 25 (7-9-4)
Charleston 25 (7-13-4)
Minnesota 25 (5-8-10)
Virginia Beach 21 (5-11-6)
Toronto 15 (3-13-6)
USL Second Division
With the postseason participants already determined, all that was left to settle was the seeding between the four playoff-bound clubs. The Western Mass Pioneers moved to the top of the table in their finale Wednesday with a 2-0 win over Long Island. Saturday, the Pioneers were given the regular season title by the Wilmington Hammerheads, who posted a 3-0 win over the visiting second-place Charlotte Eagles. Wilmington, however, finished fourth with Harrisburg also winning in their finale, 2-0, over Pittsburgh. In other games, Northern Virginia fell 7-0 to Pittsburgh Tuesday and 4-1 to expansion Cincinnati Saturday. New Hampshire topped Long Island 2-1 Saturday. The two-leg semifinals begin Wednesday with the Western Mass-Wilmington series. The Charlotte-Harrisburg series begins Thursday.
At the Super Y-League U-18 and U-19 North American Championships a week ago in West Windsor, New Jersey, the HC United downed the MetroStars 6-5 on penalties after a 1-1 draw for the U19 Boys title and the Northern Virginia Majestics blanked Seacoast United 3-0 for the U19 Girls crown. The MPS Boston Bulldogs downed the MPS Cape Cod Crusaders 2-1 for the championship in the U18 Boys bracket and Black Watch SC topped FC Westchester 2-0 to take the U18 Girls title. The remaining age brackets will compete for their respective championships November 17-22 in Tampa, Florida.