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Gameday Report: April 13, Week 6

By SCOTT STEWART - scott.stewart@uslsoccer.com, 04/13/19, 4:00PM EDT

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Nashville earns Tennessee Derby bragging rights; Phoenix, RGV win first of the season

Home wins came for Ottawa, Pittsburgh, and Bethlehem, while Red Bulls II stole three points from Charlotte and the Tampa Bay Rowdies and defending champions Louisville City FC played to a one-all draw. In the Western Conference, Phoenix Rising FC and Rio Grande Valley FC both picked up their first wins of the season, while Las Vegas, San Antonio FC, and New Mexico United were also all among those to claim wins on Saturday.

Select a match below...

 

LAS VEGAS LIGHTS FC (5) VS TACOMA DEFIANCE (0)

LAS VEGAS, N.V. – Three goals in the first half by Lights FC helped seal a comprehensive win over 10-man Tacoma Defiance on Saturday night at Cashman Field. The hosts wasted little time in the scoring department with Preston Tabort Etaka putting one away after 11 minutes, assisted by Bryan Arguez. Twelve minutes later, Lights FC added to their lead with Irvin Parra scoring from the spot. Just under ten minutes after his penalty triumph, Parra then scored his team’s third goal of the first half after a brilliant solo run led to a well-placed finish at the far post. Despite scoring three in opening half, Lights FC were quick to find a fourth when Tabort Etaka notched his brace by regaining possession in the opposition penalty area and flicking past Tacoma netminder Trey Muse for the game’s fourth goal. Right on the hour mark, Lights FC put the finishing touches on their performance with Parra securing his hat-trick with a glancing header from a swirling pass by teammate Matt Thomas.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Irvin Parra, Las Vegas Lights FC – Parra was the second player in the Championship to score a hat-trick on Saturday night, and he did so off four attempts on target while also creating one chance in Lights FC’s win.

 

FRESNO FC (3) VS TULSA ROUGHNECKS FC (1)

FRESNO, Calif. – Despite a bizarre lighting issue causing a near 15-minute delay in the middle of the second half, Fresno FC were able to shake off the distraction and defeat Tulsa Roughnecks FC at Chukchansi Park. The hosts scored just after the half-hour mark when forward Juan Pablo Caffa laid off a pass for midfielder Jemal Johnson, and Johnson whipped an effort around to the far corner of the net to beat Tulsa goalkeeper Mason Stajduhar for the first goal of the game. However, six minutes later Tulsa scored an equalizer when Janú Silva headed a Cristian Altamirano pass back across goal and in to beat Fresno netminder C.J. Cochran to level the playing field. Into the second half, Fresno found a spark and scored two goals separated by a break in play to put Tulsa away for good. In the 55th minute, forward Jaime Chávez finished off a cross from Jackson into the center of the area to regain the lead. Following the restart, Jemal Johnson scored his second goal of the night and third for Fresno to keep all three points.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Jemal Johnson, Fresno FC – Johnson scored a brace and created one chance for his side while also winning three of four duels in the win.

 

COLORADO SPRINGS SWITCHBACKS FC (0) VS RENO 1868 FC (2)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – After an initial delay due to weather, Reno 1868 FC defeated Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC in a tight contest at Weidner Field. After a rough and tumble first half, Reno produced the first quality chance of the night just after the break in the form of a shot from Sam Gleadle, but Colorado goalkeeper Abraham Rodriguez was able to stay big and get low at his near post to repel the effort. The game’s only goal came in the 64th minute when Reno’s Seth Casiple settled a headed clearance by the Colorado defense and placed a well-struck effort into the upper left corner to beat Rodriguez. Unable to fully find their way back into the match, Colorado’s best chance of the second half came in the 88th minute when Reno goalkeeper Matt Bersano was forced into a save by midfielder Shane Malcolm only to push it away to safety. Deep into stoppage time, Reno signed off the road trip with a second goal, this time from Brian Brown on an assist by Aidan Apodaca to earn the win.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Brian Brown, Reno 1868 FC – Brown found his way on the scoresheet again this week while also winning three of his four aerial duels and creating one chance along the way.

 

NEW MEXICO UNITED (5) VS REAL MONARCHS SLC (1)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – New Mexico United continued its unbeaten streak when flattening Real Monarchs SLC at Isotopes Park on Saturday night, scoring four goals in the first half. The Monarchs arrived as the more offensive side early with midfielder Jack Blake tallying the game’s first goal in the 16th minute, but then came an onslaught of attacking chances for the hosts. USL Championship Player of the Month and New Mexico United midfielder Santi Moar scored the equalizer after 24 minutes before netting his brace just four minutes later, producing a powerful left-footed strike off a Christopher Wehan pass to go up one. By the 40th minute, Moar completed his hat-trick—again thanks to an assist by Christopher Wehan—before forward Kevaughn Frater added one of his own in the second minute of first half stoppage time. Looking to close the match out strong, Wehan ended up on the scoresheet when forward Devon Sandoval drew Monarchs goalkeeper David Ochoa out of his net leaving Wehan to pick up a loose ball and finish from just inside the box for the game’s final game.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Santi Moar, New Mexico United – Once again the cream of the crop, Moar’s hat-trick was supplemented by his 88 percent passing accuracy as head coach Troy Lesene’s men remain unbeaten.

 

EL PASO LOCOMOTIVE FC (0) VS PHOENIX RISING FC (2)

EL PASO, Tx. – Phoenix Rising FC can add their name to the list of teams to earn their first win of the year this weekend, defeating El Paso Locomotive FC on the road at Southwest University Park. The visitors came out the more eager of the two sides and saw their energy pay off when forward Junior Flemmings reached a pass after a slip by El Paso goalkeeper Logan Ketterer and rolled home an easy goal after only eight minutes. Continuing to pepper the El Paso goal, Phoenix found their second when captain Solomon Asante chased down a pass to produce a cross for substitute Ben Spencer, who was able to tap-in from two yards out. In addition to the two goals, the visitors held El Paso to just one shot on target all night.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Solomon Asante, Phoenix Rising FC – Asante was active all night and provided the assist on Spencer’s goal while also creating three chances in a full 90-minute outing.

 

NASHVILLE SC (2) VS MEMPHIS 901 FC (0)

NASHVILLE, Tn. – The first-ever Tennessee Derby in a competitive setting went the way of Nashville SC thanks to late goals from Matt LaGrassa and Ropapa Mensah in the span of three minutes. Through a scoreless first half that was delayed by a weather break, the first quality opportunity of the night came when Kharlton Belmar had a bouncing effort saved by Memphis goalkeeper Jeff Caldwell in the 54th minute. Busy between the sticks, Caldwell would also an important save on an effort from Nashville’s Michael Reed to keep things scoreless in the 73rd minute. However, Nashville would not be kept at bay and, in the 78th minute, found their first goal. Settling a pass from substitute Ropapa Mensah, midfielder Matt LaGrassa delivered his side their first goal when he danced past a pair of defenders and slotted past Caldwell. Three minutes later, Mensah turned provider to goalscorer when he tapped home a rebound following a point-blank save by Caldwell off a corner to cement the result.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Ropapa Mensah, Nashville SC – Entering the match in the 64th minute, Mensah scored one and assisted on another and created one chance in his cameo.

 

SAN ANTONIO FC (2) VS LA GALAXY II (0)

SAN ANTONIO, Tx. – San Antonio FC dispatched LA Galaxy II with two first-half goals on Saturday to pick up their second victory of the year. The home team’s first goal of the evening came after just 14 minutes and in strange fashion with Bradford Jamieson seemingly knocking home a quick rebound off a blocked shot for the early lead. In the 35th minute, SAFC doubled the lead when forward Brian Gómez put his body on the line to head a long-distance pass across goal to forward Ever Guzmán, who caught LA goalkeeper Justin vom Steeg off his line for an easy finish. With Galaxy II failing to register a shot on target, the two goals were more than enough for San Antonio FC to claim all three points.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Kai Greene, San Antonio FC – Greene won 15 of his 17 duels and six of his seven aerial duels while establishing his defensive presence with six tackles, five clearances, and one interception.

 

SAINT LOUIS FC (2) VS BIRMINGHAM LEGION FC (3)

SAINT LOUIS, Mo. – Saint Louis FC fell for the first time this season as Birmingham Legion FC knocked off the Eastern Conference leaders at World Wide Technology Park on Saturday. Legion FC struck first after 38 minutes when defender Kyle Culbertson’s set-piece delivery saw fellow defender Mathieu Laurent produce a powerful header past Saint Louis FC goalkeeper Jake Fenlason. It would take just past the hour mark, but STLFC found their first after defender Matt Bahner picked out the substitute Joaquin Rivas, who then headed past Legion FC netminder Matt VanOekel. Restoring their lead, though, substitute J.J. Williams scored two goals in six minutes to give Legion FC a two-goal margin. In the 75th minute, Williams found the corner of the net after substitute Daigo Kobayashi rolled a ball across goal. Then, Williams rose to meet Culbertson’s corner for his second goal of the night and Culbertson’s second assist. However, STLFC won a penalty late on with defender and captain Sam Fink stepping up to score from the spot, cutting the advantage. With little time left, Legion FC held onto their lead to defeat the previous table toppers. 

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

J.J. Williams, Birmingham Legion FC – Coming on in the 52nd minute, Williams scored twice to separate the two sides and also created one chances while winning six of eight aerial duels.

 

RIO GRANDE VALLEY FC (2) VS OKC ENERGY FC (1)

EDINBURG, Tx. – Rio Grande Valley FC earned its first win of the season on Saturday with a win over OKC Energy at H-E-B Park. Through a scoreless first half, RGV forward Michael Salazar got things started in the 54th minute when he curled an effort past OKC goalkeeper Cody Laurendi following a poor back pass for the home team’s first of the game. Energy FC had an opportunity to get back into the match when they were awarded a penalty in the 69th minute, but instead midfielder Alexy Bosetti’s effort from 12 yards out ricocheted off the post and away from goal. RGV would then put the icing on the cake via a thorough team move that eventually saw midfielder Jesús Enriquez dink an effort over Laurendi for the game’s second. However, Energy FC would not go quietly and pulled one back in the second minute of stoppage time when substitute Marco Bustos lifted a cross to the back post for captain Atiba Harris to head in from close despite an onrush of RGV defenders. However, the goal would only prove consolation with RGV keeping three points at home. 

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Jesús Enriquez, Rio Grande Valley FC – Enriquez scored one and created two chances while also putting two efforts on frame in RGV’s first win of 2019.

 

PORTLAND TIMBERS 2 (1) VS SACRAMENTO REPUBLIC FC (0)

PORTLAND, Ore. – A first-half penalty by Portland defender Modou Jadama was the difference maker as Timbers 2 toppled 10-man Sacramento Republic FC at Merlo Field. Just before the half-hour mark, Portland midfielder Brayan Hurtado hit a hard cross into the box that was judged to have struck the arm of Sacramento defender Shannon Gomez for the penalty. Stepping to the spot, the captain Jadama sent Sacramento goalkeeper Josh Cohen the wrong way to go one-up. Hurtado nearly took his team up two in the 68th minute only to see a bullet of an effort go just wide of the far post, and teammate Eryk Williamson’s free kick miss in the 80th minute was the closest either side would get to the game’s second goal.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Moudou Jadama, Portland Timbers 2 – The goalscorer Jadama earns Man of the Match plaudits for also winning three of his four duels and producing three clearances in addition to his goal on Saturday.

 

TAMPA BAY ROWDIES (1) VS LOUISVILLE CITY FC (1)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fl. – A wild match on Saturday night ended with the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Louisville City FC sharing the spoils in an Eastern Conference heavyweight showdown at Al Lang Stadium. One of the pacesetters in the east, the Rowdies stayed true to their form early on with an absolute belter from midfielder Andrew Tinari putting his team ahead after 15 minutes. Rowdies goalkeeper John McCarthy was also in fine form on Saturday, making a number of saves to stave off the LouCity attack, including one in the 36th minute on a Taylor Peay header that the netminder beat away on his goal line. McCarthy would go on to make an additional three vital saves, but City’s persistence in driving forward would see them find a way on the scoresheet in the game’s dying moments. In the 88th minute, Louisville midfielder Magnus Rasmussen was weaving through the Rowdies defense while heading towards goal when City forward Abdou Mbacke Thiam arrived in the penalty area to sweep home an effort from close range to spoil the Rowdies’ party. The goal was Thiam’s second of the season and prevented a third straight loss for Louisville.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

John McCarthy, Tampa Bay Rowdies – McCarthy was outstanding on Saturday, producing an impressive seven saves while conceding just once in the draw.

 

BETHLEHEM STEEL FC (3) VS CHARLESTON BATTERY (1)

CHESTER, Pa. – A flurry of three goals in as many minutes between the two sides in the second half ended up seeing Bethlehem Steel FC over the line against the Charleston Battery at Talen Energy Stadium. The home side was first in front with midfielder Kacper Przybylko scoring the first of his two on the night when he drove home a low effort following a loose ball in the box in the 44th minute. Steel FC took the lead into the break and would go on to double their advantage in the 67th minute off a Fabinho penalty.  However, the tone of the match took a swift turn when midfielder Tah Anunga latched onto another loose ball in the penalty area following a Zeiko Lewis free kick and fired past Steel FC goalkeeper Carlos to pull one back. Almost as quickly as Steel FC’s two-goal advantage disappeared, though, it reappeared with midfielder Michee Ngalina setting away Przybylko, who won the 1v1 battle with Battery netminder Joe Kuzminsky to score his team’s third and seal the victory.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Kacper Przybylko, Bethlehem Steel FC – Przybylko was the most lethal attacker on the field on Saturday night, scoring on both of his attempts on target while also completing over 87 percent of his passes. 

 

ATLANTA UNITED 2 (2) VS NORTH CAROLINA FC (1)

KENNESAW, Ga. – Off the back of a win in the ESPN Game of the Week on Wednesday in Memphis, Atlanta United 2 followed up with a second-straight victory, a home win over North Carolina FC. Rotation forced ATL UTD 2 head coach Stephen Glass into a few changes from midweek, but two of these changes combined for Atlanta’s first goal when midfielder George Wild produced a calm finish following a chipped pass by fellow midfielder Andrew Carleton in the 25th minute. Getting a grip in the game, NCFC did not need much time to retaliate with forward Marios Lomis doing well to settle a D.J. Taylor cross and score his fourth goal of the season. Atlanta had a goal disallowed in the 52nd minute after forward Jackson Conway thought he had given his side the lead, but he would get his name on the scoresheet just after the hour mark instead. Taking advantage of a giveaway deep in their attacking third, substitute midfielder Laurent Kissiedou picked out Conway in the middle of the area where he had no problem beating NCFC netminder Alex Tambakis for the eventual winner. 

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Wesly Decas, Atlanta United 2 – The defender Decas completed just over 88 percent of his passes while winning 13 of 16 duels and collecting four tackles in two interceptions in his team’s win. 

 

PITTSBURGH RIVERHOUNDS SC (3) VS HARTFORD ATHLETIC (1)

PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Riverhounds SC put three past Hartford Athletic to earn a resounding win in the first match at Highmark Stadium in 2019. Steevan Dos Santos was first on the scoresheet in the 14th minute when he rose to meet a cross from Kevin Kerr out wide and head past Hartford netminder Jon Kempin early on. Riverhounds SC would take that lead into the halftime interval, but Hartford would find an equalizer in spectular fashion in the 54th minute when forward Jose Angulo fired a rocket from distance directly off a goal kick, giving the goalkeeper Kempin an assist. However, long-time Pittsburgh midfielder Kevin Kerr took the game back into his team’s hands with a curling effort off a Ryan James pass to restore a narrow advantage in the 74th minute. Seven minutes later, Pittsburgh then earned a penalty when Dos Santos was tripped in the area, which left midfielder Neco Brett to step up and bury the spot kick for the home side’s insurance goal. 

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Kevin Kerr, Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC – Kerr’s influence was felt heavily with a goal and assist adding to a handful of chances created by “Mr. Riverhounds” in 77 minutes of action. 

 

CHARLOTTE INDEPENDENCE (1) VS NEW YORK RED BULLS II (2)

MATTHEWS, N.C. – New York Red Bulls II continued their winning ways with two goals in the span of three minutes making the difference away to Charlotte. It was the hosts who were off the mark first, though, with Andrew Gutman skipping to the byline following a one-two pass and delivering a low, driven ball to the near post for forward Niki Jackson to get a flick on and beat Red Bulls II goalkeeper Evan Louro. However, eight minutes later New York struck back with forward Marcus Epps sending in an inch-perfect pass to the head of Tom Barlow, who looped an effort over Charlotte’s Brandon Miller and in. Three minutes later, New York capitalized on more momentum their way and found an eventual winner with midfielder Jared Stroud picking out Barlow in the center of the box, where he would convert past Miller for his second of the night. Charlotte would create a few more chances as the game wore on, but Louro was equal to every effort to help preserve three points for his side. 

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Tom Barlow, New York Red Bulls II – Barlow scored his fourth and fifth goal of the season while registering three shots on target to lead Red Bulls II in attack. 

 

OTTAWA FURY FC (2) VS LOUDOUN UNITED FC (0)

OTTAWA – Goals from forwards Mour Samb and Kevin Oliveira in separate halves helped Fury FC pick up their first win at TD Place this season. The hosts enjoyed more of the possession and more of the chances in the first half, and after the half-hour mark they scored the first home goal of 2019 through forward Mour Samb. As a ball came across the Loudoun goal, Oliveira and Samb were in place though neither could produce a clear effort on goal. Instead, Oliveira’s contact settled the ball for Samb, who powered home from a few yards out to beat Loudoun goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jr. Taking their lead through and into the second half, Fury FC found its second quickly when Oliveira pounced on a back pass left short for the netminder Edwards Jr. and finished calmly to double his side’s lead. Late into the match, Fury FC earned a free kick just outside the area with a chance to add a third. Stepping up, captain Carl Haworth fired a low effort that just missed the near post, with Ottawa’s two-goal lead still enough to claim all three points.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Kevin Oliveira, Ottawa Fury FC – Oliveira scored one goal on three attempts on target and tallied an assist off three chances created with involvements in both of Ottawa’s goals.

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