USL Rewind: Monarchs win sixth straight

Real Monarchs SLC dominated the first half and after scoring twice on corner kicks, held on to beat Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 for their sixth consecutive win, 2-1.

Corners from Charlie Adams set up goals for Monarchs SLC in the sixth and 22nd minutes at McLeod Athletic Park. On the first goal, Nick Besler knocked back Adams’ delivery for Taylor Peay to nod into the net and midway through the second half another Adams serve to the back post dropped perfectly for a stooping Besler to head home. Those were two of seven chances created by Adams during the match.

The goals punctuated the Monarchs’ utter control of a first half in which they rolled up a 15-0 edge in shots, seven of which were on target. They had narrowly missed another goal, this time from the run of play, when Andrew Brody’s volley hit the crossbar and VWFC2 keeper Paolo Tornaghi saved a follow-up attempt from Sebastian Velasquez.

WFC2 rallied in the second half thanks in part to substitute Nazeem Bartman, who sparked several promising attacks. Terran Campbell cut the deficit in half when he banged in Nicolas Apostol’s cross in the 78th minute, and with five minutes to play Apostol slipped an inviting ball that Bartman drilled over the crossbar.

Real Monarchs SLC (9-1-0, 27 points) is just two points behind Western Conference leader San Antonio FC and an astonishing 12 points in front of third-place Tulsa Roughnecks (5-5-0, 15 pts.) Vancouver is 11th at 3-5-2 (11 pts.) but just one point out of the playoff sector.

USL 2017:
Scoreboard | Standings
THE FIVE AND THE FURY. Richmond Kickers forward Alhaji Kamara enters the USL history books as one of a very few players to score a hat trick for a losing team.

Ottawa Fury couldn’t contain Kamara, who scored three but came out on the losing end of a wild 5-3 game. Sito Seoane scored twice for Ottawa in the first half to provide a 2-1 lead for his team, which conceded two more goals to Kamara before staging a furious comeback. Four minutes after Lance Rozeboom equalized, Tucker Hume tallied the winning goal, and Jimmy Shammar Sanon tacked on the fifth goal in stoppage time to clinch Ottawa’s first home victory in league play this season.

Ottawa has won back-to-back games for the first time this season and both have been high-scoring shootouts. It beat Red Bulls II in a 4-3 barnburner last weekend.

The victory raised Ottawa into eighth place at 3-3-3 (12 points) on tiebreakers, though three other teams have as many points. Richmond (2-5-4, 11 points) is 14th of the 15 Eastern teams and is winless (0-3-2) on the road this season.
DEFENDING CHAMP ENDS LOSS SKID. Red Bulls II snapped a three-game losing streak by beating Eastern Conference leader Charleston Battery, 2-1, with goals by Junior Flemmings and Derrick Etienne.

Red Bulls II bounced back from conceding a goal in the final minute of the first half. Battery playmaker Justin Portillo had been blunted by the Red Bulls II defending but from a free kick in the penalty arc he curled a shot that RBII keeper Ryan Meara could not reach.

RBII responded with a set play of its own in the 54th minute. Vincent Bezecourt swung a corner kick from the left side that Flemmings headed into the top corner. The winner in the 75th  minute resulted from a set piece as well. Bezecourt and Etienne both stood over a free kick; Etienne stepped forward to a strike a right-footer that eluded Battery keeper Odisnel Cooper.

The victory edged New York into a playoff slot. It is sixth at 4-5-2 (14 points). Charleston holds a two-point lead over Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference at 7-2-2 (23 pts.) after losing on the road for the first time in 2017.
ROUGH WEEK FOR ROWDIES. Tampa Bay managed just one goal and one point in a busy week. It lost to Rochester, 1-0, and tied Saint Louis FC, 1-1, yet still holds a six-point edge on the teams tied for third, Louisville City FC and FC Cincinnati.

They needed a late goal at home by Neill Collins to get that point. SLFC took the lead in the 59th minute with a goal by Jose Angulo but the Rowdies replied in the 87th when Collins leaped to head in Michael Nanchoff’s corner kick.

Keeper Adam Grinwis appealed to the referee, claiming that Rowdies forward Joe Cole had illegally blocked his path to the ball as he tried to reach it, but the goal stood. SLFC is winless in its last five games and returns this weekend to Toyota Stadium, where cleanup work and minor renovations have repaired damage from floods that struck the area four weeks ago.

USL Leading Scorers:
10 Dane Kelly (Reno)
8 Romario Williams (Charleston)
6 Billy Forbes (San Antonio FC)
6 Brandon Allen (NY Red Bulls II)
6 Sebastian Velasquez (Real Monarchs)
6 Chandler Hoffman (Real Monarchs)
6 Djiby Fall (FC Cincinnati)
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