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USSF D2 Weekend Roundup: Vancouver Regains its Scoring Touch

This Saturday in USSF D2 action, Crystal Palace Baltimore defeated the visiting Portland Timbers, 2-1; Miami FC got its first victory (after five draws in five games) at home against NSC Minnesota;  the Vancouver Whitecaps rediscovered their scoring touch in a 2-0 victory over the Rochester Rhinos and AC St. Louis lost, 3-0, to the FC Tampa Bay Rowdies at AB Soccer Park.

The Portland Timbers came to UMBC field to avenge their loss to the then winless Baltimore squad ten days ago, but it was not to be.  After a scoreless first half, USSF D2 leading scorer Ryan Pore put the Timbers up top with a penalty kick at the hour mark, after his teammate Mandjou Keita was fouled by Andrew Marshall.  Marshall, however, atoned for his mistake (he was yellow carded) by scoring in the 72nd minute off a corner kick, and then Crystal Palace Baltimore’s Randi Patterson scored a stoppage time goal to give the Eagles the victory in front of 1100 fans.  Portland have now fallen to 3-3-2 after a fast start, while Crystal Palace Baltimore seem to have righted the ship and are almost at .500 with a 3-4-1 record.  Great credit goes to Crystal Palace Baltimore coach Jim Cherneski for turning his team around.

Miami FC finally got a result that wasn’t a draw as they dropped NSC Minnesota at Lockhart Stadium.  Paulo Araujo, Jr., the Brazilian who seems to be a factor in every goal that FC Miami scores, put the ball past NSC Minnesota’s Joe Warren in the 71st minute, assisted by Christian Gomez.  The Araujo  Jr. – Gomez combination is potent, and FC Miami fans had to be happy to get three points after gaining five from five games.  Caleb Patterson kept the clean sheet for the Blues, and NSC Minnesota missed a chance to grab a point as Daniel Wasson’s header in stoppage time didn’t find the back of the net.  Miami FC climbs to 1-0-5 while the Stars drop to 2-6-1.

The Vancouver Whitecaps maintained a slim one point lead in the NASL Conference over the Montreal Impact with a 2-0 win over the Rochester Rhinos before almost 5000 fans at Swansgard Stadium.  Vancouver, which had only scored 4 goals in its previous 6 games, have stayed in contention because of their outstanding defense and the goalkeeping of Jay Nolly.  Coach  Teitur Thordarson, a proficient scorer during his playing career in France, must have been very frustrated with the Whitecaps’ inability to put the ball in the back of the net.  They have led USSF D2 in corner kicks, showing that their offense was working to a large degree, and finally got two goals to down the Rhinos.  Vancouver midfielder Cornelius Stewart opened the scoring in the 17th minute, and Greg Janicki added insurance in the 51st.  Bob Lilley’s Rhinos drop to 3-3-2, while Vancouver goes to 3-1-3 with the win before traveling to Montreal for a clash with the Impact in the Nutrilite Canadian Championship Wednesday night.

In St. Louis, over 3400 fans showed up to support their beleaguered team, but FC Tampa Bay was too fast and strong and came away with the three points in a 3-0 win.  AC St. Louis opened brightly, but Mike Ambersley, the hero of AC St. Louis’ last game with his stoppage time goal in Portland, shot wide after a nice through ball by midfielder Gauchinho.  In the 37th minute, however, the Rowdies’ Pascal Millien found the back of the net after a cross from midfielder Long Tan.  USL veteran defender Tim Velten received a red card five minutes later, leaving AC St. Louis playing a man down.  but FC Tampa Bay’s Kwame Adjeman-Pamboe slotted home past AC St. Louis goalkeeper Alec Dufty at the 64 minute mark, and FC Tampa Bay rounded out the scoring late in the game after AC St. Louis’ Jack Traynor fouled Long Tan, and Tan took the penalty kick himself.  Good news for AC St. Louis was the 2010 second half debut of MLS legend Steve Ralston, who took a free kick late in the game that forced FC Tampa Bay goalkeeper Daryl Sattler into a deflected save that resulted in an AC St. Louis corner kick.  The game was closer than the score indicates, but FC Tampa Bay were undoubtedly the better team.  AC St. Louis now falls to 1-6-1, while the Paul Dalglish’s Rowdies have passed the Portland Timbers to move into second place in the USL Conference, two points behind the idle Austin Aztex, with a 3-1-3.  Tampa Bay is now second to Austin in the league in goals scored with back to back three goal games.

USSF D2 has several games during midweek, including the Austin Aztex travelling to Miami FC and the Puerto Rico Islanders hosting the Carolina RailHawks on Wednesday evening.  Thursday FC Tampa Bay hosts Manny Lagos’ NSC Minnesota squad.  There are five league games over the Memorial Day Weekend.

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