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Clubs gear up for 2012 openers
March 22nd, 2012 7:02PM

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[USL PRO PRESEASON] USL PRO clubs are gearing up for the 2012 season scheduled to begin on April 6. In preseason action, the Richmond Kickers battled 2011 NCAA Division I champion North Carolina to a 1-1 draw. Defending champion Orlando City made it four wins in a row against college opposition, while former New York Red Bulls homegrown player Matt Kassel had the winning goal for the Charleston Battery.

CHARLESTON. Former New York Red Bulls homegrown player Matt Kassel scored to give the Battery a 1-0 win over the College of Charleston, and Charlie Romero and Moses Aduny had the goals in a 2-0 victory over Clemson in a pair of scrimmages as part of a round-robin triple-header. Next up: Wilmington Hammerheads on Saturday at Blackbaud Stadium.

CHARLOTTE. The Eagles knocked off the NASL's Carolina RailHawks, 1-0, Thursday afternoon in the third of six preseason games. Next game: at Gardner-Webb on Monday.

HARRISBURG. The City Islanders open preseason play when they host LIU Friday at Millersville University and play St. Francis at Lower Dauphin Middle School on Saturday. They'll play seven friendlies before opening their season on April 20 at the Charlotte Eagles.

LOS ANGELES. In their third scrimmage in less than a week, the Blues had to settle for a 2-2 tie with Cal State Fullerton. Los Angeles twice took the lead through goals by Israel Sesay and Bryan Burke. Its next game will be Saturday at Loyola Marymount.

ORLANDO CITY. Orlando City made it four straight wins against college opposition on Wednesday night with a 1-0 win over Tampa. Dennis Chin scored Orlando’s lone goal in the 61st minute on an assist from Jamie Watson. Watson had led Orlando with two goals while Chin had two assists in City’s 3-0 victory over Stetson. The Lions next face UCF Sunday at the UCF Soccer Stadium.

PITTSBURGH. The Riverhounds opened training camp with wins over Robert Morris (3-0), Duquesne (2-1) and the Rochester Rhinos (1-0). Trialist Darren Amoo had two goals against Robert Morris, while another trialist, Dave Leon, had two assists in the second half to lead Pittsburgh to the comeback win over Duquesne.

RICHMOND. The Kickers battled 2011 NCAA Division I champion North Carolina to a 1-1 draw Saturday in front of a capacity crowd in the third annual Pro-Am Challenge at Ukrop Park. The visiting Tar Heels took an early lead on an Alex Walters tally in the 34th minute before Kickers forward Matthew Delicate evened the score early in the second half. The Kickers play William & Mary Friday at Ukrop Park in a benefit game to support Ian Stowe’s battle with cancer.

ROCHESTER. Only four returning players -- goalkeeper Joe Marino, midfielder Drew Cost and defenders Tyler Bellamy and Michael Tanke -- were in the starting lineup when the Rhinos fell to the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, 1-0.

WILMINGTON. The Hammerheads opened preseason play with a 2-1 win over Campbell Wednesday night on goals by Steven Beattie and Andriy Budnyy.

Note: No preseason information has been released by Antigua Barracuda FC or the Dayton Dutch Lions.



1 comment
  1. Ken Jamieson
    commented on: March 25, 2012 at 12:59 p.m.
    USL-Pro 2012 starts out with one glaring absence, FC New York. While the NASL has been wise to steer clear of MLS territory, USL-Pro, with it usual arrogance and lack of foresight, placed two clubs in MLS cities last season. Neither drew particularly well and, seeing the writing on the wall, FC New York packed it in after last season. How long before LA Blues, averaging a couple hundred fans a game, succumbs to the same fate? Another point worth noting is the performances of Orlando City. In one sense it is good for USL-Pro to have such results, particularly against MLS and NASL opponents, however Orlando City seems to be intent on proving they belong in MLS both in the stands and on the field. Without promotion-relegation in US Soccer, Orlando will continue to be a big fish in a small pond for the foreseeable future. If Orlando doesn't get MLS franchise #20, the players they are developing will soon be lured away and, if results wane, the fans will also dwindle away. My question is whether Orlando is helping or harming USL-Pro?


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