USL Week 15 Recap: Charleston and Sacramento Surge

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by ANTHONY J. MERCED

USL Week 15 confirmed the ascension of certain teams in the standings and noted the stark decline of others. Most notably, FC Cincinnati and the Charleston Battery have improved significantly and made themselves major players in the Eastern Conference with big wins over the holiday weekend.

Sacramento has inserted themselves, once again, into the conversation in the Western Conference. LA Galaxy II and Vancouver continued to win but the Republic have newfound momentum and look to bring some order to a chaotic table.

CHARLESTON AND CINCINNATI HAVE FOUND THEIR FORM

The Charleston Battery have become one of the more consistent teams in the Eastern Conference after a rough start both on and off the field. Marred in controversy in the press, the Battery didn’t produce enough on the field with only two wins in their first seven games. Now, the Battery have pulled themselves into fourth place with three straight wins and a decisive one over rival Richmond this weekend.

Goals from Taylor Mueller and Heviel Cordoves gave the Battery the lead before the half and despite a strong effort from Richmond, Charleston was able to hold on. This puts Charleston five points ahead of Rochester and just two away from second place.

FC Cincinnati also won big to keep Charleston away from third place with a 1-0 win over Bethlehem Steel FC. It was yet another jam-packed crowd of 17 ,000 to watch the game where Jimmy McLaughlin’s 69th minute goal was the decider. Cincinnati gained ground on New York who drew against Rochester this week and now sit just four points away from Louisville at the top of the table.

SACRAMENTO REPUBLIC ARE BACK

After a stumble or two to start the season, Paul Buckle and the Sacramento Republic are back near the top of the Western Conference. The 2014 USL champions have a nine game unbeaten streak with four wins in their last five games. This week’s 2-1 win against Seattle in front of over 11,000 fans was just another example of the team’s return to form.

The scoring started early for the Republic as Harry Williams netted his second of the season in the fifth minute. That lead held until the 70th minute when Andy Craven assisted in Zach Mather’s equalizer. It appeared that the game was headed for a draw until defender Mike Da Fonte scored his first goal of the season in the 78th minute.

The Republic’s schedule doesn’t get any easier. After a home game against the Monarchs next week, they will be away from Bonney Field for five weeks. The team hasn’t had a problem on the road with only one loss coming early in the season. Over this stretch we may find out just how legit the resurgence is, and whether or not they can overtake the dominant Vancouver Whitecaps 2.

USL WEEK 15 RESULTS:

Real Monarchs SLC: 0
Colorado Springs Switchbacks: 1

Arizona United SC: 2
Tulsa Roughnecks: 3

Rochester Rhinos: 0
New York Red Bull II: 0

Richmond Kickers: 0
Charleston Battery: 2

Rio Grande Valley FC: 0
OKC Energy FC: 0

Bethlehem Steel FC: 0
FC Cincinnati: 1

Charlotte Independence: 1
Orlando City B: 1

Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2: 2
Real Monarchs SLC: 1

Toronto FC II: 0
Wilmington Hammerheads: 3

St. Louis FC: 0
Swope Park Rangers: 1

Orange County Blues FC: 1
LA Galaxy II: 2

Seattle Sounders FC 2: 1
Sacramento Republic FC: 2

San Antonio FC: 2
Tulsa Roughnecks: 1