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USSF D2 Week 4 Roundup: AC St. Louis, Montreal Capture First Wins

Five league games were scheduled in USSF D2 Saturday.  AC St. Louis secured its first season win with a 1-0 result over Crystal Palace Baltimore.  Montreal won its first game at home, defeating the Puerto Rico Islanders also by a 1-0 score.  The Rochester Rhinos and Carolina Railhawks battled to a 1-1 draw, as did Miami FC and FC Tampa Bay Rowdies in the Florida Coastal Cup.  Finally, the Austin Aztex returned to winning ways with a 2-1 road win over the NSC Minnesota Stars.

AC St. Louis gained its first win in franchise history at AB Soccer Park before a crowd of almost 3000.  AC St. Louis opened the scoring in the first minute of the game, as a Luke Kreamalmeyer corner kick found the head of defender Tim Velten, who kept the ball alive in the box for Frenchman Manuel Kante to head off the crossbar and into the net.   “It was very good because that goal gave us such confidence early in the game,” stated Kante. “I just don’t know what to say, I am so happy we have won three points.”   Crystal Palace Baltimore played well in a physical match, but couldn’t take advantage of scoring chances, including a 38th minute breakaway by forward Randi Patterson, who fired at AC St. Louis goalkeeper Alec Dufty twice, including his own rebound, but was denied.  AC St. Louis coach Claude Anelka chalked up his first win for the new team, and Dufty recorded his first clean sheet of 2010 as AC St. Louis played solid defense and had improved possession and attacking options.  AC St. Louis stands at 1-4-0 while CP Baltimore remains without a point in three games.

At Saputo Stadium in Montreal Saturday afternoon, a crowd of over 11,000 witnessed the Impact’s first win of  2010 to pull their record to 1-1-1 and drop the Puerto Rico Islanders to 2-1-0.  Impact goalkeeper Srjdan Djekanovic had a shutout in his first start of 2010, and the Impact only needed a Filipe Soares goal to get the points.  Soares scored off a rebound from a shot by teammate Rocco Placentino that Islanders’ goalkeeper Bill Gaudette could not coral.  It was a big win for the Impact, as Coach Marc Dos Santos pointed out afterwards. “Three points is good and a win is good, but we can do better than that,” he stated.”One of the positive aspects of this outcome is that last year, we didn’t collect points at home, either against Puerto Rico or Portland, whereas we now have gained four points.”

Miami FC hosted the Coastal Cup derby clash between the two Florida NASL teams, but drew for the third time in three games in the 1-1 tie.  Former MLS MVP Christian Gomez was both the hero and goat for the Blues, as the captain scored in the 40th minute off a backheel pass by Paulo Araujo Jr, who seems to always figure in Miami FC scoring opportunies.  Gomex, however, received a 2nd half red card and FC Tampa Bay drew level on a Julian Valentin header following a Chad Burt corner kick.  The Rowdies are now 1-1-1 as they look forward to their first home game at Steinbrenner Field next Saturday.

In Rochester, a crowd of 7,124 saw the Rhinos draw with the Carolina Railhawks 1-1 in their 2010 home opener at Marina Auto Stadium.  The Rhinos’  Troy Roberts scored the first goal off a rebounded shot by Andrew Hamilton in the 9th minute.  In the 54th minute, Carolina was able to close the gap as Rochester defender Frankie Sanfilippo was called for a foul in the box, setting up an Etiene Barbara penalty kick.  The Maltese striker rang up his third goal of the season as Carolina goes to 1-1-1 while Rochester stands at 2-1-2.

A small crowd in Minnesota watched the Stars’ lose for the second time this week as Austin returned to its winning ways with a 2-1 result.  NSC Minnesota got on the board first, as 6’3” forward Brian Cvilikas found the back of the net.  Stars’ defender Daniel Wasson, however, was red carded in the 44th minute, but veteran goalkeeper Joe Warren kept the Stars’ in the lead as he saved Aztex’ forward Eddie Johnson’s penalty attempt.  The short-handed Stars’ held the lead until the 75th minute, when Johnson atoned by finding the net for the Aztex, assisted by Jay Needham.  Austin’s Joey Worthen also received a red card in the 80th minute, but that did not deter Jamie Watson, who scored the winning goal five minutes later from a Yordany Alvarez assist to take the Aztex to a 3-1-0 season mark while NSC Minnesota fell to 2-4-0.

Also on Saturday, the Portland Timbers hosted Puntarenas FC of Costa Rica in a friendly match before a crowd just under 7,500 at PGE Park.  The Timbers outshot Puntarenas, 23-5, but dropped the match. 3-1, giving many of their reserve players an opportunity to get on the pitch.   Portland leads USSF D2 with 10 points.

This coming Saturday, May 8th, sees NSC Minnesota traveling to Montreal, Rochester hosting AC St.Louis and  FC Tampa Bay opening at home against Austin.  The Carolina Railhawks head south to visit Miami FC and the Vancouver Whitecaps host Crystal Palace Baltimore.  On Wednesday, Montreal hosts Vancouver in the Nutrilite Canadian Championship, a round-robin tournament that also features Toronto FC of MLS.

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