USL Playoffs: Three of four 2016 finalists return to conference finals

The defending champion New York Red Bulls II, who entered the playoffs as No. 8 seeds, returned to the Eastern Conference with a 2-1 win at Tampa. They will face Louisville City in a rematch of the 2016 Eastern Conference final. The defending Western Conference champion Swope Park Rangers will play OKC Energy FC in the other conference final.

Stefano Bonomo scored on a penalty kick in the 58th minute and scored again just three minutes into overtime to give the defending USL champions a 2-1 win at Tampa Bay and move into the Eastern Conference final at top seed Louisville City.

Oct. 28 in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Tampa Bay 1 NY Red Bulls II 2. Goals: Hristov 26; Bonomo 58, 93.
Tampa Bay -- Pickens; King, Gorskie, Collins, Portillos; Vingaard (Morrell 97), Schaefer; Restrepo (Nanchoff 68), Cole (Paterson 96), Hristov; Guenzatti.
NY Red Bulls II -- Louro; Najem, Ndam, Scarlett (Schmoll 71), Kutler; Metzger, Tinari (Abidor 119); Flemmings, Basuljevic (Mines 89), Valot; Bonomo.
Att.: 5,119.

Louisville City advanced to the league semifinals for the third straight year since starting play in 2015 with a 1-0 win over the Rochester Rhinos.

Louisville City coach James O’Connor: "To get to the Eastern Conference (Final) is great but, equally, we’ve been there twice and we haven’t won. There’s no point in getting there if you aren’t going to win.”

Oct. 28 in Louisville, Ky.
Louisville City 1 Rochester 0. Goal: Ownby 78.
Louisville City -- Ranjitsingh, Smith, Morad, Totsch, Craig, Jimenez, DelPiccolo, Williams, Spencer, McCabe (Kaye 46), Davis (Ownby 46).
Rochester -- Gomez, Pratzner, Farrell, Felix (Campbell 78), Dover (Buescher  83), Lee, James,  Francois, Forbes, Fall (Tergou 82), Graf.
Att.: 7,117.

Kharlton Belmar scored his 15th goal of the season less than a minute into the second half to give the No. 4 seed Swope Park Rangers a 1-0 victory over Sacramento Republic FC and move into the Western Conference final against OKC Energy FC, which they will host next Saturday.

Swope Park Rangers coach Nikola Popovic:
"Playoff games are a little different than regular season games. During the first half, we had a bit more possession and in the second half there were times where we lost possession. But I think, whenever we have the ball, we have a lot of quality and we created some good chances to score more goals."

October 28 in Kansas City, Kan.
Swope Park Rangers 1 Sac Republic FC 0. Goal: Belmar 15.
Swope Park Rangers -- Zendejas; Storm, Barnathan, Didic, Maher; Musa, Hernandez (Kamal 84), Duke, Belmar, Moloto, Pasher (Selbol 66).
Sac Republic FC -- Newton; Hord, Kiffe, Christian, Klimenta; Cazarez (Suma 84), Hall, Espino (McGlynn 55); Kneeshaw (Blackwood 77), Ochoa, Bijev.
Att.: 1,248.

C.J. Cochran made two saves in the shootout to give No. 6 seed OKC Energy FC a 4-1 shootout victory at No. 2 seed San Antonio FC after their game ended in a 1-1 draw. With San Antonio FC leading 1-0 in the 85th minute, Jose Angulo sent a cross that Wojciech Wojcik headed past San Antonio keeper Diego Restrepo to even the score.

October 28 in San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio FC 1 OKC Energy FC 1. Goals: Elizondo 8; Wojcik 85.
San Antonio FC -- Restrepo; O’Ojong, Ibeagha, McCarthy, Cochrane; Roushandel (Reed 66), Pecka, Gordon, Elizondo (Castillo 101), Forbes; Guzman.
OKC Energy FC -- Cochran, R.Dixon, Daly, Wallace, Hyland, Bond (Gonzalez 82), A.Dixon (Brown 64), Barril, Gonzalez, Angulo, Wojcik.
Att.: 7,032.

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