Thunder surprise champs 4-0

April 24, 2006

Brief reports of United Soccer Leagues play this weekend.

USL First Division

Friday, April 21

Atlanta Silverbacks 1 at Puerto Rico Islanders 3

The Puerto Rico Islanders started off the team's third campaign in fine fashion in the Opening Game of the USL First Division season, building a 3-0 halftime lead on a pair of goals from Canadian Alen Marcina, who joined the club from Denmark's Herfolg BK. Marcina found the net first in the fifth minute and added the third in the 32nd after a strike from Caleb Norkus in the 24th. Liam George found the twine in the second half for Atlanta, but the deficit proved too much.

Saturday, April 22

Toronto Lynx 0 at Virginia Beach Mariners 2

Former Charleston Battery striker Greg Simmonds provided both goals with a strike in each half for the Mariners as the team shutout Toronto. Matt Nelson posted three saves for the clean sheet.

Portland Timbers 0 at Vancouver Whitecaps 1

Jason Jordan, the league scoring champion and MVP a year ago, turned provider for the winner on opening night in Vancouver, setting up Joey Gjertsen for the lone tally of the night 17 minutes in. Josh Wicks made four saves in the shutout.

Sunday, April 23

Montreal Impact 0 at Miami FC 0

The 2004 champion Montreal Impact opened on the road with a mental edge over the expansion Miami FC only to see the two clubs play to a scoreless stalemate. The first-year club was without Romario due to visa delays, but held the Impact's newly bolstered offense off the board with former Charleston goalkeeper Chris Doyle posting four saves. The three-time Goalkeeper of the Year Greg Sutton needed just two stops at the other end.

Seattle Sounders 0 at Minnesota Thunder 4

The defending champion Seattle Sounders were thumped by the Thunder in the team's season opener. Nathan Knox set up two goals, finding Melvin Tarly in the 14 for the first. Leo Gibson added a second a minute later. Knox found Terry Alvino in the 74th to put the game out of reach and Alvino found Aaron Paye for the final tally in the 86th. Joe Warren recorded just one save in the shutout.

Atlanta Silverbacks 1 at Puerto Rico Islanders 1

The Silverbacks' second outing saw improvement while the Islanders were denied the full points courtesy of three shots off the woodwork. After two shots in the first half hit the crossbar Petter Villegas scored the opening strike in the 69th minute and Puerto Rico appeared headed toward the win only to see Liam George, who tallied Atlanta's consolation strike Friday, find the back of the net in the 89th minute to tie the game. A late chance in stoppage time nearly gave the Islanders the win, but a save from Felipe Quintero deflected off the post and out.

USL Second Division

Weather wreaked havoc on opening weekend in the USL Second Division, forcing the Long Island-Pittsburgh opener to be rescheduled and the Cincinnati-Richmond match to be pushed back a day. The second-year Cincinnati Kings were the feature attraction on the road on Opening Weekend, falling 1-0 to the defending USL Second Division champion Charlotte Eagles 1-0 on Friday and topping the Richmond Kickers 1-0 on Sunday.

Two-time league MVP and scoring champion Jacob Coggins picked up right where he left off with Charlotte's strike as Chris McClellan posted four saves in the shutout. On Sunday, defender Derek Smith provided the winner for Cincinnati as Jordan James claimed the clean sheet.

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