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USSF D2 Weekly review: Austin continues to roll, TB and Montreal do the opposite.

Austin continues to look like the best team out there.

With between nine and eleven games left in the season (depending on what team you follow), the playoffs are rapidly approaching us. While some teams are making a strong statement for the USSF D2 title, others are still fighting for the last playoff spots.

On Saturday, Montreal, who have been struggling the last few weeks in D2 play, traveled to Carolina, who was only one point ahead of Montreal in the standings. Even so, Montreal was unable to get points on the road, and dropped yet another game by the score of 2-0.

While both teams did well with controlling the ball, the RailHawks opened the scoring in the 45th minute. After receiving a pass from Matt Watson, midfielder Josh Gardner let a solid shot off from the top of the box to beat Impact goalkeeper Matt Jordan to his right.

The RailHawks then doubled their lead in the 83rd minute. After a pass behind the Montreal defense, two players went on a breakaway. Étienne Barbara gave the ball to Cory Elenio, who then scored in an open net.

“The RailHawks were lucky to go into the locker room with a 1-0 lead,” stated Impact head coach Marc Dos Santos. “It’s unfair because we did well. In the second half, we had to play catch up and we still had chances. We clearly saw that the second goal was offside.”

“We have to keep are heads up because we played well tonight,” said defender Nevio Pizzolitto. “We were unlucky. It’s too bad to have lost tonight, but we have to continue to work. It’s not over.”

Impact goalkeeper Matt Jordan faced 11 shots. In the 22nd minute, Jordan deflected a shot from Floyd Franks by the tips of his fingers that hit the post. Jordan again was put to the test in the 85th minute blocking the powerful free kick by Daniel Paladini.

Of course, confidence was much better int he Carolina locker room after the match.

“We’re in a good position and we’re starting to play better at the right time,” said RailHawks head coach Martin Rennie. “It was a good win for us tonight, and getting that win gives us some confidence.”

“We fought for the ball at midfield and the ball popped to me,” added Josh Gardner. “I took kind of a long touch but I was able to get there, touch to Matt [Watson], and he gave it back. I saw [Matt] Jordan cheating to his left, so I went near post.”

In Austin, the Aztex also looked to take advantage of a team that seems to be struggling in the last few weeks, the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Even with their strong defenses, Austin was able to take advantage of a 10-man Rowdies side, which saw the D2 leaders take another victory at home by the score of 4-2.

Aztex defender Jay Needham scored in the 16th minute after a Jamie Watson corner kick.  Lance Watson gave the Aztex a 2-0 lead with a goal in the 18th minute.  This was Watson’s seventh foal of the season.

Only a few minutes later, Aaron King was brought down in the 18-yard box by Kevin Sakuda, giving Tampa the PK.  Ricardo Sanchez scored on the kick, bringing the game within one.

Sanchez picked up the assist on the second goal just four minutes later.  He slipped a pass through the Aztex defense and into the path of Tan.  Tan was put into a one-on-one situation with Aztex goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo and beat him to level the score at 2-2 in the 25th minute.

Austin went ahead in the 35th minute when Jay Needham’s corner found Jamie Watson found Jay Needham, giving him his second goal of the game.  Tampa argued that the ball had not crossed the goal line, but the goal was allowed anyway.

In  the 38th minute when Tan was shown a straight red card for a challenge near midfield.  The Rowdies were reduced to 10 men and will be without Tan due to suspension on Wednesday in Puerto Rico.

Austin continued their offensive attack when Max Griffin scored in stoppage time in the first half to give Austin a 4-2 lead.

Even with one less player in the second half, the Rowdies where able to take more control of the ball. But even with better position, Tampa Bay was unable to convert their possession into and real, solid chances on goal. Austin did enough defensively to keep the ball out of the net, and went ahead with their 7th consecutive game without a loss.

In the third of Saturday’s match, Miami FC and the Puerto Rico Islanders, both who are at the bottom of the tables in their respective conferences, played to a 1-1 draw, not giving either team and more of a boost into a playoff spot.

Abe Thompson scored Miami’s goal, while Jonathan Fana scored the Puerto Rico goal.

(Some reports compiled from official team websites)

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4 Responses

  1. Austin is the best team in USSF D2….they haven’t even had a slump…they had a 3 game hiccup where they only scored a couple of goals….but still managed to get points.

  2. Their offense is just sick! They are so damn good!

  3. @ Dave Trotter and Gary Wittmann

    HELL TO THE YEAH!!!

    MON THE RAW!!!!!!
    UP THE AZTEX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Forza Montréal

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