USL Rewind: Battery's Williams takes scoring lead

Romario Williams took over the league scoring lead by netting twice and teammate Dante Marini matched that output for his first two goals of the season in a 6-1 Charleston demolition of Toronto FC II at MUSC Health Stadium.

The Battery needed some time to charge up its attack but after Williams opened the scoring in the 31st minute with his 12th goal, it quickly rang up five goals in 40 minutes of playing time. After scoring again to take over the league lead, Williams picked up an assist on Marini’s second tally. Williams has already exceeded his 10-goal season of 2016 and leads Dane Kelly, formerly of Charleston and now of Reno 1868 FC, by one goal.

USL Leading Scorers:
13 Romario Williams (Charleston)
12 Dane Kelly (Reno)
8 Chandler Hoffman (Real Monarchs)
8 Brandon Allen (NY Red Bulls II)
7 Seku Conneh (Bethlehem Steel)
7 Djiby Fall (FC Cincinnati)
6 Georgi Hristov (Tampa Bay)
6 Corey Hertzog (Pittsburgh)
6 Billy Forbes (San Antonio FC)
6 Enzo Martinez (Charlotte)
6 Forrest Lasso (Charleston)
6 Sebastian Velasquez (Real Monarchs)

The victory improved Charleston’s record to 9-2-4 (31 points) and widened its lead over pursuers Louisville City FC (25 pts.) and Tampa Bay Rowdies (24), both of which lost last weekend. The schedule presents the Battery with a great opportunity to put even more distance between those teams. Charleston hosts Tampa Bay this weekend and Louisville City July 8.

Sergio Camargo scored the only goal for TFC II, which is tied with Richmond for last in the Eastern Conference at 2-8-5 (11 points).
ISLANDERS STOP THEIR SKID. Perseverance by Pedro Ribeiro and his Harrisburg City teammates ended a 10-game winless drought by stunning Louisville City, 1-0, at FNB Field.

Ribeiro scored his first goal of the season early in the second half after he’d squandered two earlier opportunities. In the fifth minute he stepped up to a penalty kick awarded for a foul on Jamie Thomas, but LCFC keeper Greg Ranjitsingh reacted sharply to make a fine save. In the first minute of the second half Ribeiro crashed a header off the crossbar from the edge of the goal area.

Finally Ribeiro and the Islanders broke through in 53rd minute when he collected a ball from Rasheed Olabiyi and from outside the penalty area fired a shot into the bottom corner. Luke Spencer misfired on a good chance that would have tied the game and in stoppage time keeper Brandon Miller snuffed another Louisville City shot to nail down a result that ended more than two months without a victory.

By winning Harrisburg City (3-7-4, 13 points) climbed out of the Eastern Conference cellar and is just six points out of the playoff slots.

USL 2017:
Scoreboard | Standings
PHOENIX HALTS MONARCHS’ RUN. The first USL goal for Mexican star Omar Bravo and a staunch effort across the board earned Phoenix Rising a 1-1 tie that ended the league-record winning run of Real Monarchs SLC.

A crowd of 6,365 fans at the Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex watched the Monarchs, winners of nine straight games, grab a 1-0 lead in the 12th minute when Demar Phillips’ cross to the near post was volleyed home by Daniel Haber. Phoenix, driven forward by Didier Drogba, threatened several times before equalizing.

Bravo nearly poked home a rebound after Drogba’s header from a corner kick was blocked on the goal line, but just before halftime he slid in at the back post to polish off some nice combination play between Drogba and Matt Watson.

Chances for both teams in the second half failed to change the score. The Monarchs (12-1-1, 37 points) maintained a three-point lead atop the Western Conference over San Antonio FC (10-1-4, 34 pts.), which lost its first game of the season to Colorado Springs Switchbacks, 1-0. Phoenix (5-5-2, 17 pts.) is in 10th place, one point out of the playoff zone.

REPUBLIC HOLDS ON TO EDGE LOS DOS. Sacramento Republic FC is well behind the top two Western Conference teams in third place, and it needed to hang on desperately to beat Galaxy II, 3-2, after taking a 3-0 lead.

Three goals within seven minutes opened up the lead at StubHub Center Track and Field Stadium. Tyler Blackwood headed a goal three minutes after Jeremy Hall converted a penalty kick, and after another four minutes Trevin Ceasar fired home a low shot. When keeper Republic goalkeeper Evan Newton saved Adonis Amaya’s penalty kick, the outcome seemed assured.

Not so. In the 53rd minute, Los Dos launched an attack that Justin Dhillon capped with his fourth goal of the season, and 20 minutes later Galaxy II struck again with a goal by Adrian Vera. Los Dos kept it close when Jean Engola cleared a shot from Gabe Gissie off the goal line, but it could not produce an equalizer.

By winning its third straight game Sacramento (7-6-3, 24 pts.) stayed a point in front of fourth-place Colorado Springs (6-5-5, 23 pts.). Galaxy II (3-9-2, 11 pts.) has lost four of its last five and is 14th of the 15 Western teams.
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