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USSF D2 Week 5 Roundup: Crystal Palace Baltimore Gets Its First Point

In week 5 USSF D2 action Saturday, Crystal Palace Baltimore gained its first point of the season with a scoreless draw in Vancouver. FC Tampa Bay opened at home before a crowd of over 8,000 in a 2-2 draw with Austin.  Miami FC played its fourth home game and recorded its fourth draw they played Carolina to a 1-1 draw.  Montreal celebrated the announcement of its 2012 entrance into MLS with a 2-1 win over NSC Minnesota before 12,000 at Saputo Stadium, and the Rochester Rhinos defeated AC St. Louis 2-1 at a wet, windy Marina Auto Stadium.

The Vancouver Whitecaps’ stingy defense again shut down the opposition, but the team’s lack of scoring punch resulted in a scoreless draw with Crystal Palace Baltimore at Swansgard Stadium.  After an early chance for Vancouver’s Marcus Haber that CP Baltimore goalkeeper Evan Bush was able to snatch away, CP Baltimore had two chances involving Mathew Mbuta, but the Cameroonian missed a shot that fell at his feet after Whitecaps’ goalkeeper Jay Nolly punched a shot away, and then in the 16th minute Mbuta’s crossed to Yankiel Perez, who was able to whirl and get off a wide shot.  In the 68th minute, the Whitecaps’ Randy Edwini-Bonso chipped a shot at the Baltimore goal that just missed, and CP Baltimore Coach Jim Cherneski had to be happy to get his first point of the season.  Nolly claimed his fourth clean sheet of the season as Vancouver is now 2-1-2 and Crystal Palace Baltimore stands at 0-3-1.

FC Tampa Bay played their first home game Saturday night as George M. Steinbrenner Field was sold out.  Former Rowdies NASL greats like Rodney Marsh were celebrated before the game, but FC Tampa Bay couldn’t make the celebration complete as they drew with the Austin Aztex 2-2.  All goals in the game were from set pieces.  FC Tampa Bay opened the scoring in the 9th minute on an Aaron King penalty kick, but Austin’s Eddie Johnson’s scoring touch continued as he knotted the score on a free kick over the wall.  Austin gained the lead in the second half off an 80th minute penalty kick by Jamie Watson after the Rowdies’ Rob Valentino was sent off.   Down a man, FC Tampa Bay were awarded a penalty kick six minutes later which Jeremy Christie converted for the tie.  FC Tampa Bay Coach Paul Dalglish commented afterwards that “the crowd was unbelievable tonight. It was brilliant.  I’m sure they’re going home happy. They’re going to come here and see more goal scoring next time, but I’ll tell you what, they’re never going to go anywhere and see more heart from a team. The fitness level, effort and desire were incredible.”  FC Tampa Bay is  now 1-1-2 while the Aztex are at 3-1-1.

Further south in Florida, Miami FC played its fourth home game and continued its unbeaten (and winless) streak with its fourth draw, 1-1 against the Carolina RailHawks.  After a scoreless first half in which Carolina’s Etienne Barbara could not convert on chances in the 24th and 37th minute, Miami FC opened the scoring.  Paulo Araujo Jr, again was involved in the goal, beating two Carolina defenders in the corner to assist former MLSer Abe Thompson, who put the ball past RailHawks’ keeper Eric Reed.  Carolina went down a man in the 78th minute as John Gilkerson received two consecutive yellow cards and was ejected.  Carolina, though down a man, was able to get the equalizer in the 83rd minute on a Josh Gardner free kick that Blues’ keeper Caleb Patterson was unable to stop.  “I am pleased with the point earned on the road against a well-organized Miami team,” said RailHawks head coach Martin Rennie. “They are still undefeated but we showed great character and fought back from a goal down two weeks in a row.” Miami FC added to their depth as midfielder Bryan Arguez arrived for the game.  The 21 year-old Arguez has over 40 caps for the US U-17, U-20 and U-23 teams, though like Freddy Adu, the Miami native has had difficulty finding playing time in Europe as his appearances with Bundesliga side Hertha Berlin and Estoril in Portugal were almost non-existent.  Miami FC goes to 0-0-4 and Carolina now is 1-1-2

Over 12,000 Montreal fans celebrated this week’s announcement of the Impact’s selection by MLS as a 2012 expansion team with a big home win against the NSC Minnesota Stars.  The match was scoreless when the Stars’ Kevin Friedland received a controversial red card in the 69th minute and Montreal was awarded a penalty kick.  For the second week in a row, Stars’ keeper Joe Warren stopped a penalty kick as the Impact’s Nevo Pizzolitto was denied.  Down a man, NSC Minnesota turned around and scored the opening goal nine minutes later as Brian Cvilikas netted for the Stars.  The lead was short-lived, however as Rocco Placentino scored a minute later for Montreal.  He added a second goal deep in extra time to send the Montreal fans home happy in a game dominated by the Impact, who tallied 8 corner kicks to the Stars’ one.    Montreal is now 2-1-1 while NSC Minnesota falls to 2-5-0.

In Rochester, AC St. Louis put up a game effort but Coach Claude Anelka’s team again fell on the road. 2-1.  With a wet field and wind gusts up to 50 mph, the game was tough but AC St. Louis got up to 200 consecutive minutes of shutout ball before allowing a 43rd minute Rochester goal to Andrew Hamilton, who was assisted by Canadian Tyler Rosenlund.  With the wind at their backs in the second half, AC St. Louis were able to create a goal on a long free kick by defender Dillon Barna which bounced past Rhinos’ keeper Scott Vallow to tie the score.  But Rochester kept its composure and got the game-winner in the 74th minute as second half subs Darren Spicer and Ryan Heins worked together and Heins shot past AC St. Louis’ goalkeeper Alec Dufty.  Bob Lilley’s Rhinos go to 3-1-2 while AC St. Louis’ road woes continue and they fall to 1-5-0.

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