USL Week 7 Wrap-Up: Resiliency Around the League

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by ANTHONY J. MERCED
USL Beat Writer

The theme of week 7 was certainly resiliency as Seattle, New York, Orange County and SLC showed just how tough it is to get max points in the USL this season.

Leads were not easily held across the league as teams were not willing to concede. The standings also continue to sway as teams thought to be favorites lack production at key moments. And big game match-ups like Charleston and Richmond leave both sides stagnant, looking up at a far more consistent team in Rochester.

Orange County’s Tour of Cascadia

After three consecutive wins and one that handed Sacramento their second home loss in club history, Orange County Blues ventured further north to play both Seattle and Portland in the same week. The first game at Starfire Stadium proved to be a difficult prospect as the team jumped out to an early lead from a Christofer Ramirez goal in the 23rd minute. That lead would last until the 66th minute when Sam Garza equalized and in the 83rd minute when Paolo Rossi scored the game winning penalty kick.

Their trip wasn’t a complete loss however as the team rebounded to defeat the Portland Timbers 2 by two goals, shutting out the Timbers at home. It was just one example of team resiliency that seemed to permeate through everyone in the league this weekend. The Blues find themselves in second place, leapfrogging Sacramento who suffered a shocking loss to the Real Monarchs at Bonney Field.

Red Bull II Show Signs of Life

It wasn’t easy but New York stopped the bleeding by getting a late winner against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds at Red Bull Arena. MLS loanee Anthony Wallace provided an early goal of the year nominee with his howler from outside of the box in stoppage time. The win gave New York their first victory since week 2 but it wasn’t without frustration. Head coach John Wolyniec expressed his displeasure with the team’s play after they surrendered two leads in short time.

To put it into a bit of perspective, New York is certainly learning to cope with new league adjustments and finding the right balance between development and results. Despite a rocky start they are still performing better than other MLS 2 sides such as FC Montreal, Real Monarchs SLC and Vancouver Whitecaps 2. New York will certainly look to make adjustments ahead of a visit from Harrisburg next week.

Richmond and Charleston Fail to Impress

The Battery and Kickers had a real chance to keep up pace with Rochester in a clash of the early season titans. Unfortunately neither side could separate themselves and must now chase a Rhinos team that sits two points clear at the top.

The game wasn’t without excitement. Richmond took a lead just before halftime after weathering an offensive storm from Charleston. That lead didn’t last long as two goals before the 50th minute gave the Battery the lead. Back and forth action eventually led to Matthew Delicate, all-time leading Kickers scorer, equalizing in the 79th minute. The game remained that way as neither side could pull out the win.

Week 7 Results:

Oklahoma City Energy: 2
Austin Aztex: 2

Orange County Blues: 1
Seattle Sounders 2: 2

Rochester Rhinos: 2
FC Montreal: 1

Harrisburg City Islanders: 4
Wilmington Hammerheads: 0

Charleston Battery: 2
Richmond Kickers: 2

Louisville City FC: 0
Charlotte Independence: 1

Colorado Springs Switchbacks: 3
Arizona United SC: 2

Pittsburgh Riverhounds: 2
New York Red Bull II: 3

Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2: 1
LA Galaxy 2: 2

Orange County Blues: 2
Portland Timbers 2: 0