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USSF D2 Saturday Action: Islanders Upset Aztex; Rhinos Win Again and Slip into First Place

A full slate of games were played Saturday in the USSF D2 leagues.  The Puerto Rico Islanders came up with a huge win, shutting down the powerful Austin Aztex in Bayamon, Puerto Rico.  The Rochester Rhinos gained the USL Conference lead, inching past Austin by a point in the standings as the Rhinos were victorious over the Montreal Impact, 2-1.  Crystal Palace Baltimore got a rare home win by an identical 2-1 score over the Carolina RailHawks.  In a Florida goalfest, Miami FC and FC Tampa Bay drew 3-3, while MLS-bound Portland and Vancouver each got three points with 1-0 road wins over AC St. Louis and NSC Minnesota, respectively.

The Austin Aztex have been cruising along all season as the best team in USSF D2, buoyed by the league’s most potent offense.  The Aztex hadn’t lost a road game this season, and indeed, haven’t lost a game in two months, but the surging Islanders put those streaks to an end.  English forward David Foley put the Islanders on the board in the 32nd minute as he whistled a low shot past Aztex’ goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo for his seventh goal of the season.  The Islanders held on to the lead through halftime, and were nursing the narrow margin against the high-flying Aztex when midfielder Keon Daniel doubled the advantage in the 68th minute.  Daniel was able to beat a charging Gallardo for his second goal in 2010.  The native of Trinidad and Tobago was assisted by Nicholas Addlery, who also assisted on Foley’s score.  Although the Aztex were without key players Maxwell Griffin, Jamie Watson and Yordany Alvarex, they still outshot the home team , 16-8.  Props to veteran Islanders’ goalkeeper Bill Gaudette on keeping the clean sheet.  Colin Clarke’s Islander squad is peaking at the right time, leveling their league record at 7-7-7.   The Islanders begin group play in the CONCACAF Champions League this Tuesday when the match up with Honduran team CD Olimpia.  The Islanders are the only D2 team in the tournament, and knocked out the LA Galaxy in the preliminary stages recently by a 5-3 aggregate score.

The Rochester Rhinos were able to squeak by Austin for the USL Conference lead with their home win over Montreal in front of over 7,700 Rhinos rooters.  The Aztex have held onto the first place position all year, and Adrian Heath’s squad still have three games in hand over Rochester, as now Rochester is 12-5-6 while Austin has a 12-3-5 record.  Still, quite an accomplishment for Coach Bob Lilley and the Rhinos.   Rochester Captain Frankie Sanfiilippo notched the first goal of the contest, and his first of the season, beating goalkeeper Matt Jordan to the far post in the 36th minute.  Montreal’s veteran forward, Eduardo Sebrango, delivered a first half equalizer for the Impact, as he received a beautiful ball from Brazilian midfielder Leonardo di Lorenzo and shot past Scott Vallow, the Rhinos’ keeper.  Vallow proved to be up to the challenge, though, denying Montreal on several opportunities, including Tony Donatelli’s 78th diving save of a Tony Donatelli strike.  A series of passes from Kenold Verszailles, Darren Spicer and Alfonso Montagalvan found forward Isaac Kissi in the six yard box, and Kissi plunged the dagger in Montreal’s heart with his fifth goal of the seasoni in the 84th minute.

Slumping Montreal have only gained five points in their last six games, while Rochester has won three games in a row.  Montreal is hanging on to the NASL Conference third place spot, only one point ahead of Crystal Palace Baltimore.   These are frustratng times for the Impact, especially losing a rivalry game to Rochester.   “After an even first half, we played better than Rochester in the second half, but they scored,” mentioned Impact head coach Marc Dos Santos. “It’s too bad because we deserved a better result tonight.”  

A better result was certainly gained by Crystal Palace Baltimore, who moved past AC St. Louis with their home win over Carolina.  CP Baltimore was scheduled to debut at their new Paul Angelo Russo Stadium at Calvert College High School, but construction delays forced the team to change venues and the game was played at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute’s Lumsden-Scott Stadium.  The Baltimore squad built a 2-0 lead over the RailHawks on goals by Tsuyoshi Yoshitake in the 21st minute and Gary Brooks in the 49th.  Former RailHawk Santiago Fusilier assisted on Yoshitake’s goal, and Pat Healy had the assist on Brook’s score.  Carolina came back, as Matt Watson halved the deficit with a well-placed shot at the 76 minute mark, but late ;efforts by Cory Elenio, Andrei Budnny and Mark Schulte were off target and Martin Rennie’s men came up empty-handed.  The RailHawks fall to 7-6-7, while Jim Cherneski’s Baltimore squad captured their sixth win of the season.  Much credit goes to the CP Baltimore players, who continue to persevere despite the club’s difficulties establishing a home field.

In Florida, Miami FC and FC Tampa Bay each gained a needed point with their 3-3 draw, with the Rowdies winning the Coastal Cup series between the teams. As both teams have strengthened their rosters for the playoff stretch, several of the newcomers had an impact on the game.  Young Chivas USA loanees Chukwudi Chijindu and Gerson Maysen started for Miami FC, along with newcomer Aaron Holbien from the Kansas City Wizards and Traffic Sports Brazilian forward Danilo Martins.  Chijindu opened his USSF D2 scoring account in the 19th minute, converting a cross from Mr. Offense, Paulo Araujo Jr.  FC Tampa Bay came back to level on a goal by another Chivas USA loanee, veteran Maykel Galindo, who’s fine shot beat the Blues’ Caleb Patterson.  Danilo Martins netted at the 42nd mark, but Galindo again made his presence felt, ricocheting a shot off of Maysen into the Miami FC goal right before halftime.   The goal was credited as an own goal, and the teams stood 2-2 at half.

In the 56th minute, former Vancouver midfielder Jonny Steele found Aaron King, and the Rowdies’ leading scorer worked his way around defenders to give FC Tampa Bay the lead.  But in the 82nd minute, Miami FC substitute Martin Nunez, who had replaced Chijindu in the 70th minute, was able to beat Rowdies’ keeper Daryl Sattler, who charged out to take on Nunez.  The draw left Paul Daglish’s expansion Rowdies with a 6-8-8 record, while Miami FC are now 3-8-11, including a 1-1-1 mark under recently appointed coach Daryl Shore.  Both teams face an uphill battle to gain a playoff spot, but kudos go to each club’s front offices for acquiring some very talented and exciting individuals.

In Blaine, Minnesota the Vancouver Whitecaps widened their first place NASL Conference lead over Carolina to ten points as the Whitecaps downed NSC Minnesota 1-0.  (The RailHawks have played three less game, however).  Vancouver’s goal came early on , as Cornelius Stewart did some good work in Stars’ territory before passing back to captain Martin Nash, who one-timed a shot that beat Joe Warren.  Jay Nolly recorded another clean sheet in what has been an outstanding individual season,.   The Stars made him earn the honor, as he had to punch away a Simone Bracalello blast at the 21st minute mark after the Stars’ slow start.  Assistant Coach Carl Craig, replacing suspended Coach Manny Lagos, got some momentum going for the Stars late in the second half, but a 30-minute delay caused by lightning shifted the momentum back to Vancouver.   Newcomers Ridge Mobolu from Switzerland and Canadian Terry Dunfield made appearance for Coach Teitur Thordarson’s side. The Whitecaps are 9-3-11, while the Stars slip to 7-10-7.

The Portland Timbers defeated AC St. Louis 1-0.  Sixteen year-old American midfielder Luis Gil, on loan from Real Salt Lake, made his St. Louis debut as a second half substitute.  For more on that match, see the previous post on the Fanatic https://acstlfanatic.wordpress.com/

On Wednesday, Crystal Palace Baltimore will try to build on Saturday’s win in their contest against Rochester, while the Carolina RailHawks host Miami FC.   Thursday evening the Vancouver Whiteaps take on FC Tampa Bay in Florida, as everyone jockeys for a spot in the playoffs.  This is an exciting time for USSF D2 with all new talent being brought into the league the last few weeks.


One Response

  1. […] USSF D2 Saturday Action: Islanders Upset Aztex; Rhinos Win Again and Slip into First Place — The NASL Fanatic Although the Aztex were without key players Maxwell Griffin, Jamie Watson and Yordany Alvarex [sic], they still outshot the home team , 16-8. Props to veteran Islanders’ goalkeeper Bill Gaudette on keeping the clean sheet. Colin Clarke’s Islander squad is peaking at the right time, leveling their league record at 7-7-7. The Islanders begin group play in the CONCACAF Champions League this Tuesday when the match up with Honduran team CD Olimpia. […]

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