photo courtesy of Orlando City
By FRANCO PANIZO
Orlando City were the first team to clinch a spot in the USL Pro playoffs this past weekend, but they needed two dramatic goals to do so.
Orlando reached the postseason for the second consecutive season after posting a 2-1 victory over the Charleston Battery last Thursday. Matt Luzunaris and Ian Fuller each scored in the closing minutes of the game to overturn a 1-0 deficit and give the Lions a win that booked their spot in the playoffs.
Orlando City are now 11 points clear of second place and they seem all but likely to finish the regular season atop the league standings. Charleston, meanwhile, are currently in third place with 33 points, 13 behind the Lions.
Here's a look back at all the Week 16 action in USL Pro:
HARRISBURG CITY ISLANDERS 2, PITTSBURGH RIVERHOUNDS 0
An early goal and a late one gave the Harrisburg City Islanders a 2-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Riverhounds on Friday, and that result marked the latter club's first of two losses in two days. Tom Mellor scored the winner four minutes in for Harrisburg and Lucky Mkosana netted an insurance goal five minutes before the death to secure three points for the City Islanders.
WILMINGTON HAMMERHEADS 2, DAYTON DUTCH LIONS 0
A pair of goals within 10 minutes set the tone for the Wilmington Hammerheads to grab a 2-0 win against the Dayton Dutch Lions on Friday. Dylan Riley scored three minutes into the game and that was followed up by a finish from Cody Arnoux six minutes later to lift the Hammerheads to a win at home.
RICHMOND KICKERS 2, DAYTON DUTCH LIONS 0
Goals on each side of halftime gave the Richmond Kickers a 2-0 triumph over the Dayton Dutch Lions on Saturday in a game that marked the second in two days for the latter club. Ryan Heins netted the winner just 11 minutes into the match, and Matthew Delicate converted a penalty kick in the 90th minute to give Richmond three points against a Dayton side hoping not to finish in last place.
ROCHESTER RHINOS 2, PITTSBURGH RIVERHOUNDS 0
The Rochester Rhinos netted on each side of halftime to record a 2-0 win versus the Pittsburgh Riverhounds on Saturday. JC Banks scored 10 minutes in and Andrew Hoxie doubled the lead 13 minutes from time. The loss gave Pittsburgh its second in two days and the three points gained moved Rochester back into second place in the league table.
USL PRO STANDINGS
1. Orlando City SC (14-1-4, 46 points, +25 GD)
2. Rochester Rhinos (10-5-5, 35 points, +7 GD)
3. Charleston Battery (11-7-0, 33 points, +14 GD)
4. Wilmington Hammerheads (8-6-5, 29 points, +1 GD)
5. Harrisburg City Islanders (7-5-6, 27 points, +2 GD)
6. Richmond Kickers (7-6-5, 26 points, +1 GD)
7. Charlotte Eagles (7-8-2, 23 points, +1 GD)
8. Los Angeles Blues (7-8-2, 23 points, -1 GD)
9. Dayton Dutch Lions (3-10-7, 16 points, -11 GD)
10. Pittsburgh Riverhounds (3-12-5, 14 points, -16 GD)
11. Antigua Barracuda FC (3-12-1, 10 points, -23 GD)
What do you think of these results? Impressed with Orlando City clinching a playoff spot with two goals late? Who surprised you more by losing two games, the Dutch Lions or the Riverhounds?
Share your thoughts below.