USL Pro Week 3: A Look Back

Laurent Courtois

Photo by Michael Janosz/ISIphotos.com

By MIKE GRAMAJO

The LA Galaxy II launched their way back to the top of the USL Pro standings after defeating the Oklahoma City Energy FC, 4-2, on Monday night at the StubHub Center.

Peabo Doue gave the Energy the early lead in the seventh minute when Kyle Greig connected with the midfielder, who converted on the cross. That was short-lived, however, as Los Dos midfielder Laurent Courtois’ free kick from outside the box found its way behind goalkeeper Jon Kempin for the equalizer.

The Galaxy then took the lead in the 35th minute after Chandler Hoffman headed in a cross from midfielder Jack McBean for the 2-1 scoreline. Los Dos then added a third goal before halftime when defender Daniel Steres poked in a ball from close range in the 39th minute to give Curt Onalfo’s men a comfortable lead heading into the break.

Los Dos were quickly dominated by the Energy for much of the second half, and that played a factor when forward Pete Caringi found his way past the Galaxy back line to slot the ball past goalkeeper Cody Laurendi in the 59th minute.

A late counter by Los Dos put the game to bed after forward Raul Mendiola found second-half substitute Aleksandar Djokovic open in the box, leaving the Serbian to strike the ball past Kempin for the 4-2 in the dying minutes of the game.

The Energy entered Monday’s match already having won earlier in Week 3 on Saturday, defeating the Orange County Blues FC, 2-0, courtesy of strikes from Greig and Doue.

LIONS EARN FIRST VICTORY, CRUISE PAST RHINOS

2013 USL Pro champions Orlando City SC earned their first victory on Saturday night, defeating visiting Rochester Rhinos, 3-1, at the ESPN Wide World of Sports in front of 4,776 spectators.

Kevin Molino opened up the scoring for Orlando in the opening minutes after he buried a low-cross from defender Tyler Turner in the third minute. OCSC doubled their lead in the 35th minute after defender Rob Valentino was able to pounce on a failed Rhinos’ clearance from an Orlando corner kick.

With the Lions having a comfortable lead heading into halftime, the Rhinos cut the lead to 2-1. JC Banks capitalized on an Orlando giveaway, rebounding a shot after goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo denied the striker moments earlier in the 54th minute.

Orlando eventually secured their lead when second-half substitute Dennis Chin scored four minutes into his debut, converting on a cross from Molino in the 75th minute for the 3-1 lead.

SAC REPUBLIC ROMP CHIVAS USA RESERVES 

The Sacramento Republic FC continued their unbeaten start, this time with a convincing 3-1 victory over the Chivas USA Reserves on Monday afternoon at the StubHub Center.

Mike Fucito, who’s on-loan from San Jose Earthquakes, wasted no time in giving the Republic the 1-0 lead. He scored in the 12th minute after Goats goalkeeper Tim Melia wasn’t able to secure the ball properly, which allowed Fucito to be able to capitalize on the error.

The Goats found the equalizer in the 24th minute when Luke Moore headed in a cross, but Republic responded moments later when Fucito found forward Justin Braun, who headed in the ball behind Melia for the 2-1 lead.

Thomas Stewart insured Preki’s side the victory during stoppage-time when he was able to chip the ball from outside the box, which bounced off the top crossbar for the 3-1 result.

DUTCH LIONS REBOUND FROM LOSS BY TOPPING EAGLES 

After playing their first USL Pro match last week, which ended in a grueling 3-0 defeat at the hands of the New York Red Bull Reserves, the Dayton Dutch Lions walked away with a 1-0 victory over the Charlotte Eagles on Saturday.

“We created some good opportunities in the first half, but couldn’t take advantage,” Eagles head coach Mark Steffens told the Charlotte Observer. “We should have been up a couple of goals, but that’s the way the game goes sometimes.”

Defender Brock Granger scored the lone goal of the match, heading in a corner kick from Ross Friedman in the 40th minute. Initially, the Eagles could of opened the scoring in the initial minutes when forward Zak Boggs rifled in a cross from Ben Newman, but he was called for offside.

KICKERS TROUNCE RIVERHOUNDS

Kyle Porter’s two goals helped the Richmond Kickers secure their first win of the season as they defeated the Pittsburgh Riverhounds 3-1 at City Stadium with 3,507 in attendance.

Kickers forward Michael Seaton gave his side the early lead in the 19th minute after he converted off a Riverhounds deflection for the 1-0 lead. Kyle Porter doubled the lead for the Kickers in the 56th minute when he slotted in a pass from midfielder Samuel Asante.

The Riverhounds looked ready to make a comeback when they cut the lead to 2-1 in the 82nd minute, when Joseph Ngwenya’s cross found John Collins in the box. However, it was Porter who delivered the dagger in stoppage-time when he squeezed through the Pittsburgh defense, sending the ball toward the bottom right corner for the 3-1 result.

HAMMERHEADS AND ISLANDERS SETTLE FOR SCORELESS DRAW 

Both the Wilmington Hammerheads and Harrisburg City Islanders kicked off their 2014 campaign, but settled for a scoreless draw on Saturday night at Legion Stadium with 3,256 fans in attendance.

City Islanders forward Clesio Baque could of given the Harrisburg side the lead, but his shot before halftime hit off the post after poor defending from Wilmington.

The Hammerheads, however, returned with waves of attacks of their own in the second half, which included forward Cody Arnoux sending the ball wide of the post and Steven Miller placing the ball over the crossbar in the 75th minute.

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What did you think of Week 3? Surprised to see Los Dos on top? What did you think of the Energy’s debut? Does Orlando City have anything to worry about? What did you think of the Eagles losing to the Dutch Lions?

Share your thoughts below.

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8 Responses to USL Pro Week 3: A Look Back

  1. Ian says:

    Anyone made it to a Galaxy II match yet? I’m sure I’ll get to one or two this season, but these Monday night games are not the way to bring in a crowd. Reported attendance was about 550. Playing these games on Sunday afternoon or Friday evening might be a better way to go.

    • takethelongview says:

      I was there last night actually.* And while I’m sure the Monday night scheduling has something to do with a minor league economizing to reduce traveling costs, I wouldn’t expect the Monday night matches to be terribly competitive if they routinely feature one time playing on 9 days’ rest while the other competes on 46 hours’ rest. (OKC played OC Blues Saturday, while Galaxy II was idle. It’s about a 45 minute drive between venues.) So I hope that all teams traveling from afar don’t have to run that gauntlet. At the first half whistle, OKC looked to be playing on dead legs.

      That said, OKC’s second half showing was all the more impressive for the tired legs. (What did Jimmy Nielsen say at halftime?) They thoroughly dominated three of the four halves they played here. And aside from set piece defense (three goals allowed!), OKC played the first half of last night’s game pretty even. I presumed (just because) that LAG II would have the deeper, more experienced side, and given OKC’s impressive mastery over OC Saturday, it would have been fun to see these clubs on an even basis.

      *–the LAG II keeper was Brian Rowe.

      • FSegaud says:

        thoughtful, informative and well written…thanks.

      • Ian says:

        Agree with FSegaud. Thanks for the report.

        I also noticed OKC Energy had a game vs. the Blues two days before, which KC won 2-0, I believe. Given that result, I assume the 4-2 loss to LAGII isn’t a fair representation of KC’s quality. That’s the life of third division soccer in the US, I guess: Travel on a shoe-string and play multiple games with very little rest. I’m sure Los Dos will have similar situations when they travel cross-country.

        • Worthless human being says:

          BOOMSMASH!. Please keep us apprised of any developments involving the Jozy Altidore Sunderland-to-LA-Galaxy II rumors. While I think it may be difficult to convince Jozy to give up the limelight of playing in front of 1,140 yawning/eating fans for the relative obscurity of 550 of his teammates’ friends and family members, I think he will do well in the academy system and perhaps get some Open Cup time with the first team, if Zardes goes down hurt

      • Neuwerld says:

        Yeah, the scheduling definitely isn’t ideal. Sacramento is in an even worse situation this weekend, with game kickoffs 20 hours apart. At OC at 7pm on Saturday, then at LA II at 3pm on Sunday.

        • Ian says:

          Whaaaat? Sac Republic is supposed to play two games in 24 hours? That’ll end well, I’m sure…

          • Neuwerld says:

            Yeah, it’s pretty crazy. Should be interesting to see how Preki deals with player management with practically back-to-back games.