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Wednesday USSF D2 Action

On Wednesday night, six of the twelve USSF D2 teams were in action as Crystal Palace finished their five game roadtrip in style, taking down the Rochester Rhinos, 1-0, while the red-hot Austin Aztex hosted FC Tampa Bay in a match that ended in an exciting 3-3 draw,, and the visiting Montreal Impact downed the Portland Timbers, 1-0.  The Vancouver Whitecaps were involved in another scoreless draw, this time with Toronto FC, in the Canadian Nutrilite Championship.

After dropping their first two 2010 season games at home, Crystal Palace Baltimore found going on the road a healthy tonic, as they went 2-2-1 on their five game trip.  Wednesday night, before a crowd of 4,500 at Marina Auto Stadium, the Eagles recorded their second win, knocking off the Rhinos on a 55th minute Randi Patterson goal, which was partially blocked by Rochester defender Frankie Sanfillippo and squirted by keeper Neil Kitson.  Patterson was assisted by midfielder Yankiel Perez.  Baltimore’s Evan Bush recorded the clean sheet, as the Rhinos, who have been playing well this season, seemed to lack urgency and couldn’t string together a consistent offense against Baltimore’s stingy defense.  Rhino Isaac Kissi got a header on goal in stoppage time, but it went directly at Bush.

A crowd of over 6,000 at House Park in Austin welcomed the in-form Aztex and were treated to an exciting match.   Former St. Louis Lion and Missouri Baptist University star Lawrence Olum was in the starting lineup for the Aztex, who took a 29th minute lead on a header by Yohance Marshall, assisted by Leonard Griffin.  Six minutes later, Aaron Wheeler tied the score for FC Tampa Bay.   Both teams scored in stoppage time at the end of the first half.  Eddie Johnson tallied for the Aztex and Joe Donoho quickly tied it back up for the Rowdies.  After halftime, Johnson scored again for the Aztex, taking advantage of a long throw in by Jamie Watson.   The Aztex held the lead until the 88th minute, when Gordon Kljestan’s free kick eluded Aztex keeper Miguel Gallardo and FC Tampa Bay got a point on the road. “It was a real exciting game, maybe too exciting from both coaches’ point-of-view.  It was real end to end stuff and they had a good crowd here,” said Rowdies’ Head Coach Paul Dalglish.

In Portland, the Montreal Impact broke a four game winless streak against the Timbers, 1-0.  Montreal’s Tony Donatelli lashed a wicked volley in the 31st minute for the only goal of the game, from a pass  from Rocco Placentino, who scored twice last weekend.  Montreal keeper Matt Jordan kept a clean sheet last weekend. Wednesday night  it was Srjdan Djekanovic’s turn to record a shutout.   Portland had a chance to gain a point as they almost scored in the 82nd minute as James Marcelin deflected a Ryan Pore free kick, but it hit the crossbar.  Montreal moves into first place in the NASL Conference, while Portland must rebound from a frustrating week in which they dropped 8 out of 9 points at home.   Still, Portland is one of the quality teams in USSF D2, according to Impact coach Marc Dos Santos.  “Portland isn’t just any team. This is the same club that played 25 consecutive matches without losing last year,” stressed Dos Santos. “It’s never easy to win here. The objective was to come back home in first position and we can say mission accomplished.”

This Saturday, Portland will try to get back to winning ways as they travel to Crystal Palace Baltimore hoping to avenge last week’s loss to Baltimore;   NSC Minnesota go south to take on Miami FC;  AC St. Louis hosts FC Tampa Bay and the Rochester Rhinos head west for a contest with the Vancouver Whitecaps.  The Puerto Rico Islanders, having only played three league games, are idle until May 26, as they have been involved in the Caribbean Football Union Club tournament.  The Islanders took the CFU crown on May 9 with a win over San Juan Jabloteh.  The Montreal Impact play a friendly against Serie A side Fiorentina at Saputo Stadium on Sunday.

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