In the first week of USSF D2 action, the Vancouver Whitecaps blanked the NSC Minnesota Stars 2-0, the Austin Aztex triumphed at home over the Montreal Impact by the same 2-0 score, Miami FC drew at home 1-1 with the Rochester Rhinos and our new AC St. Louis team dropped their road game against the Carolina Railhawks, by another 2-0 score, on two first half goals by Carolina’s Etienne Barbara.
Vancouver, slated to join the MLS for the 2011 season, drew a crowd of almost 5,000 for their game against NSC Minnesota. Although Minnesota had a USL-1 franchise, the Minnesota Thunder, the Stars are a new team under new ownership, although they did sign some nine former Thunder players. According to the WhiteCaps Fan blog, ” the game was very shapeless at first, and it looked like a bunch of guys kicking a ball around in the park rather than a professional football match.” Minnesota keeper Louis Crayton, formerly of DC United, was injured in the first half in a collision with Whitecaps’ forward Dever Orgill, and had to be replaced by 35-year-old keeper Joe Warren, who hadn’t seen game action in four years. Vancouver picked up the pace in the second half, with midfielder Martin Nash (brother of NBA star Steve Nash) playing well. Vancouver’s Luca Bellismo scored off Nash’s free kick, and forward Marlon James added another goal in the 76th minute. Although Minnesota had a few chances on set pieces, Vancouver’s depth and experience was too much for the new Minnesota squad.
In Miami, the Blues fell behind in the first half, as Rochester Rhino’s Ryan Heins scored in the 21st minute after Miam had missed two earlier scoring opportunities. But Miami FC came on strong in the second half, energized by Brazilian substitute Paulo Araujo Jr. who scored off a corner kick two minutes after intermission. Former MLSer Abe Thompson missed a scoring chance to give Miami FC three points, so the Rhinos and BLues each settled with a point apiece from the Lockhart Stadium match.
The Austin Aztex scored a big victory over the defending champion Montreal Impact. Playing the season opener at their House Park turf field, the Aztex scored in the 18th minute on a goal by former St. Louis Lion and Missouri Baptist University midfielder Lawrence Olum. The 6’2″ Olum had a shot deflect off the Montreal crossbar and buried the rebound, although he subsequently received a yellow card for celebrating. Austin added a 77th minute goal from Jamie Watson set up by defender Leonard Griffin. Montreal coach Marc Dos Santos stated on the Impacts’website that “this match brings us back to reality. We won the championship last year and we have to start winning again this year.” The Aztex visit AB Soccer Park this Saturday in AC St. Louis’ home opener.
Finally, AC St. Louis dropped its first ever game at WakeMed Park to the Carolina Railhawks, 2-0. Playing with only 10 men for the first thirty plus minutes due to Manuel Kante’s missing ID, Railhawks newcomer Etienne Barbara took full advantage and scored twice before Kante returned to the game. From that point on, the match was played evenly, with AC defender John Lesko narrowly missing a headed goal off a Ryan Moore corner kick. AC also missed several other opportunities during the second half as Carolina’s experience held off the newcomers and goalkeeper Eric Reed kept his clean sheet.
The Portland Timbers, Puerto Rico Islanders, FC Tampa Bay and Crystal Palace Baltimore were idle on the season’s first weekend.
Filed under: AC St. Louis, Carolina Railhawks, Miami FC, Minnesota, Montreal Impact, NASL General News, Rochester Rhinos, USSF Division 2 News, Vancouver Whitecaps | Tagged: AC St. Louis, Austin Aztex, Carolina Railhawks, Miami FC, Montreal Impact, NSC Minnesota Stars, Rochester Rhinos, Vancouver Whitecaps |