USL Week 16 Recap: Cincinnati, Sacramento Drop Points

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by ANTHONY J. MERCED

USL Week 16 was all about dropped points for teams who had an opportunity to make moves in the standings but couldn’t find the proper form. Most notably, FC Cincinnati and Sacramento Republic had chances to establish themselves within their respective Conferences but failed to take full advantage of the loaded schedule.

Sacramento Republic had an opportunity to cement their place as the top team in the West but found themselves taking only one point out of a possible six in week 16. For FC Cincinnati, the game of three-way chicken being played with New York and Louisville sees them pushing lightly on the brakes after a loss to Rochester away from home.

Sacramento Bemoans What Could Have Been

The Republic will look back at week 16 as a major setback should they not win the Western Conference. They had the chance to take control of the standings with a schedule that had them playing teams considered well below their level. However, the miracle team that is the Real Monarchs continued their run of upsets with a win over the Republic at Bonney Field. Three of the team’s four losses have come at home this year and ended a ten game unbeaten streak for Paul Buckle.

The upsetting loss was followed up by a goalfest against OC Blues. The 3-3 draw left the Republic at just 29 points for the season, three points under Vancouver for first place. Had the results gone their way, Sacramento would be looking down at the rest of the Conference and in the driver’s seat — potentially for the rest of the season.

FC Cincinnati Falls Back to Earth

The Eastern Conference is currently being contested between three teams with fantastic records. New York, Louisville and Cincinnati all produced long unbeaten runs in order to grab the top three spots. However, it was only a matter of time before one team’s slip up would open the door for the others to pull away. This weekend, two games for Cincinnati only produced three points after a loss to Rochester midweek guaranteed that Cincinnati would remain behind New York.

The Rhinos, who have been enjoying the roll of spoiler this season, defended their home well with a 2-1 win that sent John Harkes side to the Midwest in desperate need of a win. Luckily, the team reacted well and secured the win through Omar Cummings’ second goal of the season.

Currently, Cincinnati sits just one point under New York Red Bull II but the second place side has a game in hand to push ahead. The coming weeks will be difficult as New York catches up on those games and could be in control of their own destiny while Cincinnati wonders what could have been had the results gone their way in a very busy week.

USL WEEK 16 RESULTS:

Harrisburg City Islanders: 0
Pittsburgh Riverhounds: 0

FC Montreal: 0
Louisville City FC: 2

FC Cincinnati: 1
Rochester Rhinos: 2

Bethlehem Steel FC: 2
Toronto FC II: 3

Seattle Sounders FC 2: 1
St. Louis FC: 1

Real Monarchs SLC: 3
Sacramento Republic: 2

Colorado Springs Switchbacks: 1
Portland Timbers 2: 1

Richmond Kickers: 3
Harrisburg City Islanders: 0

New York Red Bull II: 4
FC Montreal: 2

Charleston Battery: 1
Louisville City FC: 1

FC Cincinnati: 2
St. Louis FC: 1

Wilmington Hammerheads: 2
Charlotte Independence: 1

OKC Energy FC: 0
San Antonio FC: 0

Swope Park Rangers: 1
Arizona United SC: 1

Pittsburgh Riverhounds: 0
Bethlehem Steel FC: 2

Orlando City B: 0
Rochester Rhinos: 0

Toronto FC II: 4
Harrisburg City Islanders: 2

Sacramento Republic: 3
Orange County Blues FC: 3

Tulsa Roughnecks: 0
Rio Grande Valley FC: 0