Backed by a sellout crowd at Bonney Field, Sacramento Republic FC shook off the shock of conceding a goal in first-half stoppage time to beat Orange County Blues FC,
2-1, and nail down a playoff spot.
Sacramento took the field knowing that a 1-1 tie between Real Monarchs SLC and Tulsa Roughnecks earlier in the day had opened the door to clinching a
spot. The Blues started the game tied with San Antonio FC for the bottom playoff slot in eighth place, and after two shots by Akwafei Ajeakwa
rebounded off the woodwork took a 1-0 lead when
their top scorer, Didier Crettenand
, curled home a free kick off the inside of the post just before halftime.
Crettenand’s eighth goal of the season didn’t dissuade
Republic FC, which responded to the roars of 11,569 fans by equalizing in the 48th
minute and bagging a winner five minutes from time. Matt LaGrassa
tied the game by sliding in at
the back post to tuck away Danny Barrera
(his team-high ninth assist), and Elliot Hord
marked his first Republic FC start by serving up a ball that Harry Williams
drove into the net.
At 13-6-8 (47 points), Sacramento leads the Western Conference by two points over Rio Grande Valley FC (12-5-9, 45 pts.), which holds a game in hand. Orange County
Blues FC (10-13-4, 34 pts.) is still a point behind eighth-place San Antonio.
GOAL SPREE PROPELS INDEPENDENCE.
A big week of
eight goals and six points lifted Charlotte two spots (sixth to fourth) in the Eastern Conference.
The Independence scored early, late, and in-between Sunday to rout Toronto FC II by a
5-1 score at the Ontario Soccer Centre. Patrick Slogic
struck in the fourth minute to trigger Charlotte’s highest goal output of the season. Alex Martinez
and David Estrada
scored either side of halftime, and Aly Hassan
and Norberto Ochoa
tallied in the final minutes. A goal by Brian James
58th minute reduced the deficit to 3-1 but
TFCII could get no closer.
Charlotte’s other Martinez, Enzo
, scored twice in a rousing 3-2 defeat of FC Cincinnati on Wednesday, but the Independence needed a late winner
from Jorge Herrera
to prevail after Andrew Wiedemann
and Sean Okoli
netted equalizers for FC Cincy.
Cincinnati (13-6-7, 46 pts.) bounced back to beat Saint Louis FC,
2-1, and regain its hold on third place. Charlotte (13-7-6, 45 pts.) is fourth. TFC II’s heavy loss was its fifth in a row and dropped its record to 6-17-5 (27 pts.).
RED BULLS ROMP TO SIXTH STRAIGHT.
A 2-0 defeat of Bethlehem Steel FC at Goodman Stadium extended the Red Bulls II winning streak to six games and
maintained a six-point lead atop the Eastern Conference. Jordan Allen
converted a penalty kick for his
13th goal and fifth in the last seven games to provide a 1-0 lead
Red Bulls II held until Derrick Etienne Jr.
added a second goal in stoppage time. The victory improved RBII’s remarkable road record to 11-1-1 and overall mark to 18-3-5 (59 pts.).
Sub Konrad Plewa
drew applause from players, coaches, and fans when he stepped onto the field. Plewa suffered a stroke after playing against Richmond July 30 and his return lifted the
mood of the entire organization.
“It’s amazing, because he’s part of our family,” said
Red Bulls midfielder Sacha Kljestan
during a U.S. training session Monday in Jacksonville.
“We’re a tight-knit group from the USL team all the way up to the first team, and Konrad trains with the first team quite often, so he’s been around the guys for the last two years
now, and he’s also a Seton Hall boy so we have that connection.”
For a game against the Galaxy last month at StubHub Center, Red Bulls players walked onto the field for
pregame introductions wearing T-shirts that read, “two teams, one voice” in a tribute to Plewa. EDU STARTS COMEBACK.
Union Designated Player Maurice Edu
made his first appearance of the season and wore the captain’s armband for Bethlehem Steel against RBII as he works his way back from a stress fracture
in his left tibia. He was cautioned in the 30th minute and substituted right after NYRBII took the lead. USL Leading Scorers: G PLAYER,
15 Jack McBean
, LA Galaxy II 14 Chandler Hoffman
, Louisville City 14 Sean Okoli
, FC Cincinnati 13 Brandon Allen
, NY Red Bulls II 12 Corey Hertzog
, Pittsburgh 11 Irvin Herrera
, St. Louis FC 11 Kyle Greig
, Whitecaps FC 2 11 Cameron Iwasa
, Sac Republic FC 10 Sammy
, Tulsa 10 Michael Cox
, Orlando City B 10 Christian Volesky
, Rochester 9 Yudai Imura
, Richmond 9 Romario Williams
, Charleston 9
, Charlotte 9 Long Tan
, Arizona United
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