Brief reports of United Soccer Leagues play this weekend.
USL First Division
Friday, July 14
Portland Timbers 2 at Charleston Battery 3
Charleston had to rally twice at home for the victory, negating Luke Kreamalmeyer's go-ahead goals at the 21st and 46th minute marks. Gavin Glinton scored his eighth of the campaign in the 26th and Ben Hollingsworth leveled the second time with a penalty in the 55th. Stephen Armstrong tallied the game-winner in the 78th minute on an assist from Omar Daley, who had two on the night.
Miami FC 4 at Rochester Rhinos 5
In a complete thriller that had an even more dramatic finish, the visitors took the lead 31 minutes in courtesy of Brazilian Zinho. Rochester reeled off three to open the second half from Delicate (49), Edozien (52) and Howes (59). Mario Rodriguez put the game back on level terms with the next two strikes, scoring in the 73 and 74th. A minute later Edozien put away his second of the game to retake the lead for Rochester. Romario converted a penalty, his 10th goal, in stoppage for what appeared to be a draw only to see the Rhinos fire right back with a winner from defender Ricky Lewis.
Vancouver Whitecaps 2 at Minnesota Thunder 1
The Whitecaps picked up their second victory away from home on the strength of a two-goal lead. Defender Anthony Noreiga put the Caps up in the 22nd minute and Steve Kindel pushed it to 2-0 10 minutes from time. Matt Schmidt's 90th minute strike gave Minnesota some last second hope that proved insufficient.
Saturday, July 15
Portland Timbers 0 at Atlanta Silverbacks 4
Four different players helped the Backs take advantage of a road-weary Timbers squad. Machel Millwood set up Warren Ukah for the opener 23 minutes in and tallied himself in first half stoppage. Defender Omar Jarun made it 3-0 on the hour mark and Adilson Delima rounded out the scoring in the 84th while Felipe Quintero posted three saves in his sixth shutout.
Montreal Impact 2 at Seattle Sounders 1
Rivals born from their 2004 championship and 2005 semifinal clashes, the Impact came into Seattle and rallied for three points to move into a tie for first. Rookie sensation Cam Weaver re-claimed sole possession of the scoring lead with his 11th in the 31st minute only to see Joel Bailey register his first of the season six minutes later. Veteran Mauro Biello came on in the second half and provided the winner in the 72nd minute.
Sunday, July 16
Virginia Beach Mariners 1 at Puerto Rico Islanders 2
Kormac Valdeberito gave the home side the early lead nine minutes in with Allen Marcina pushing it to 2-0 in the 23rd. John Barry Nusum cut the deficit in half five minutes before the break and a red card issued in the 45th minute left the Islanders at a man disadvantage for the second half. Dan Kennedy needed only one save on the night, however, as the Mariners could not find the target.
Atlanta Silverbacks 0 at Toronto Lynx 1
The Lynx captured their third victory in four outings to pull level with Minnesota for 11th in the table. Robbie Aristodemo connected with Matt Palleschi in the 57th minute for the winner as Theo Zagar recorded the shutout without having to make a save on Atlanta's 10 shots.
Montreal Impact 1 at Vancouver Whitecaps 0
The Impact have become Vancouver's bogey team at home, registering the only victories for a visiting side at Swangard the last two seasons. Joel Bailey doubled his goal output for the weekend and season with the winner in the 55th from Mauricio Salles as back-up goalkeeper Andrew Weber made three saves for his sixth shutout to send Montreal into first at the close of the week's action as the league takes a break for the USL First Division All-Star Game Wednesday night at 2007 expansion Carey, North Carolina. The 18-man squad headed by 2005 Coach of the Year Nick DeSantis of Montreal, will face Sheffield Wednesday of England's Coca-Cola Championship.
USL Second Division
Richmond's nine-point lead over Charlotte held after a 1-1 draw between the two as several teams saw improvement this week. The biggest jump was from Harrisburg, who downed Pittsburgh 2-0 to move into a tie for third with the Riverhounds.
Cellar-dwelling Long Island tied the Hounds earlier in the week 1-1 and registered their first win of the year 1-0 over New Hampshire Saturday. It was a rough week for the Phantoms, who lost the night prior 6-0 at Western Mass after losing a player to a red card already trailing 2-0 in the 38th minute. Jeff Deren had a hat-trick for the Pioneers in the win.
Premier Development League
In the second to last week of the season, it was all about the playoffs. The unbeaten Carolina Dynamo clinched the South Atlantic title in a close 1-1 draw against Atlanta two days after becoming the lone PDL club to advance to the Fourth Round of the US Open Cup with a surprise 3-2 overtime win over the USL-1 Sounders. Bradenton won the other division title in the Southern Conference Saturday with a 2-1 win over second-place Central Florida, joining Laredo and Augusta, who claimed the wild card on other results Saturday.
The defending league champion Des Moines Menace joined the postseason party officially with a 2-2 draw against the late-charging St Louis Lions, who extended their unbeaten run to 10. Unfortunately, the Lions needed maximum points for a shot at passing the Menace. Ocean City's first loss at home Sunday (2-1 to Ottawa) since 2003 gave Westchester the Northeast title.
With one week remaining in the season, the playoff picture is completely open. Only five of the 13 teams heading to the second season have been determined, including championship host Vancouver, who finished unbeaten at 11-0-1. Their Western Conference rival Seattle await their playoff opponent while in the Eastern Conference's Northeast Division, the Western Mass Lady Pioneers, Long Island Lady Riders and defending champion New Jersey Wildcats have booked their playoff tickets. It is a three-team race in the Northern Division while four teams are still alive for the two spots in both divisions of the Central Conference.