USL Rewind: Kelly powers Reno to first victory

A crowd of 6,067 gathered at the Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex hoping to see the debut of legendary striker Didier Drogba, but instead witnessed a virtuoso performance by all-time USL leading scorer.

Dane Kelly rattled in a trick as expansion team Reno 1868 rolled over Phoenix, 4-0, to record its first USL victory. Kelly stunned the home team by scoring twice in the first six minutes and after Reno rode out some spirited Phoenix attacks Kelly completed his hat trick in the 63rd minute. Chris Wehan, who had assisted on Kelly’s opening goal, tacked on a fourth goal from the second assist of the night for Lindo Mfeka.

Kelly’s trio increased his take this season to five goals and his all-time USL figure to 53. Phoenix head coach Rick Schantz elected not to include Drogba, who joined the team in late April, among his game-day squad of 18. The team’s other two offensive stars, Omar Bravo and Shaun Wright-Phillips, have yet to net for Phoenix.

ORANGE COUNTY DOMINATES IN DERBY. The first game for Orange County SC at its new stadium was worth the wait. Jerry van Ewijk scored two goals within three minutes of a 4-0 rout of Galaxy II at Orange County Great Park in the first meeting since the home team formally changed ownership during the offseason.

Van Ewijk converted a penalty kick in the 28th minute and scored again three minutes later to put OCSC in command. After another three minutes an own goal had dropped Galaxy II further in arrears and early in the second half van Ewijk played a ball into the attacking third for substitute Wulito Fernandes, who swept past keeper Eric Lopez to score the fourth.

USL 2017:
Scoreboard | Standings
RED BULLS ENJOYING THEIR NEW HOME. A move from Red Bull Arena to the Montclair State University Soccer Park is working out just fine for Red Bulls II, which is 3-0-0 at the new venue after thumping Harrisburg City Islanders, 3-1.

A pair of penalty kicks by Brandon Allen, sandwiched around an Aaron Wheeler goal for the Islanders, provided NYRB II a 2-1 lead. The clinching goal was scored by Honduran U-20 international Douglas Martinez, who debuted for the club as a sub for Allen and scored just four minutes after coming into the match. He will be leaving the team soon to represent his country in the FIFA U-20 World Cup.

Red Bulls II avenged a defeat inflicted by Harrisburg City just last month. Former Red Bulls draft pick Manolo Sanchez scored for the Islanders in a 1-0 victory at Red Bull Arena April 5.
GUERRA GOAL POWERS BATTERY. Missing its leading goal scorer, Romario Williams, who sat out with an illness, Charleston got just enough offensive juice to edge Bethlehem Steel, 1-0.

Williams, scorer of six goals so far this season, gave way to Ataulla Guerra, and the Trinidad & Tobago international got the job done. In the 17th minute, Quinton Griffith crossed from the left and a flicked header by Heviel Cordoves dropped for Guerra to fire into the net. Guerra’s goal was his third of the season, which ties him for second on the team with Forrest Lasso.

Bethlehem Steel threatened twice on free kicks in the first half. Just before Guerra scored, Seku Conneh curved a shot around the defensive wall but it cleared the far post as well. In the 27th minute, James Chambers took aim from a good position but the wall deflected his shot.

In the second half, Bethlehem applied some pressure but could not prevent victory for Charleston, which leads the Eastern Conference at 5-1-1 (16 points).

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