USL Week 6 Recap: Tough Week for New York and Sacramento

USL

by ANTHONY J. MERCED

Week six is in the books and major shake-ups took place in the standings for each conference¬†— the biggest story being that there is no longer any undefeated team in the Eastern Conference.

New York Red Bull II fell to the Charlotte Independence at home on Sunday night. Despite Louisville opening up the door for New York to take first place with a win, the home side faltered and even surrendered second place to the surging Independence.

Out west we’re continuing to follow the fall of Sacramento. Yet another loss at home sees the Republic falling down the standings, opening up questions about their lackluster offense in 2016.

Meanwhile, MLS 2 sides surge in the west as the only undefeated teams in the league are LA Galaxy II and Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2. If Sacramento is not careful, they may be digging an early hole that will be difficult to climb out of in the summer months.

NEW YORK FALTERS, LOSES GRIP ON TOP SPOT IN THE EAST

A lineup change and formation shift showed that New York was sticking to its guns when talking about their team being a developmental side. However, this week, the experiment yielded unsatisfactory results.

Several key players to NYRB II’s success in previous week were forced to ride the bench while others in desperate need of minutes and fitness tests took the field. The most striking example was the return of Gideon Baah who looked rusty to say the least. His mistakes were key to two of the goals conceded by New York.

The experimentation didn’t stop in the first half either. When Gideon Baah exited the game, he was replaced in the backline by Stefano Bonomo. If that seems odd, it is. Bonomo has been a strong striking option since joining the team last season and suddenly has been shifted to the opposite end of the field. The final result saw New York fall to Charlotte and passed in the standings.

The battle between results and development will constantly be an issue, especially with New York who has shown to have a very strong group of players in their academy. However, confusion continues to circle around what the team’s overall purpose will be. A strong group of USL and academy players are playing hard in these games but constant shifting could lead to mixed results.

SACRAMENTO NEEDS SOLUTIONS FAST

Republic fans are left shaking their heads in disbelief. A two game home stand has returned negative results and no goals.

Sacramento hosted Orange County Blues this week and gave up a goal early. Pavle Popara scored in the 16th minute when a turnover was converted. From there, the Republic pushed but couldn’t find any dangerous opportunities against the opposition.

This loss is especially disheartening given that it was yet another crowd over 10 thousand looking to cheer on the 2014 USL Champions. Paul Buckle will see a considerable amount of scrutiny coming his way for the team’s lackluster offense but should be commended for his team’s defensive play. The team did lose three straight 1-0 games but refused to concede further. In fact, the team has not surrendered multiple goals in any appearance this season.

Sacramento will have no chance to rest as they travel to LA to play the conference leading LA Galaxy II this coming week. A rivalry game may be what the Republic needs to get back on track.

Following that game, they will be at Bonney Field for three consecutive games. A road win may give them the boost they need to get their season back on track.

USL WEEK 6 RESULTS:

Orlando City B: 1
Harrisburg City Islanders: 2

Seattle Sounders FC 2: 0
Real Monarchs SLC: 0

Pittsburgh Riverhounds: 2
Louisville City FC: 2

Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2: 2
Swope Park Rangers: 1

Harrisburg City Islanders: 1
Rochester Rhinos: 2

Toronto FC II: 0
Richmond Kickers: 1

Wilmington Hammerheads: 1
FC Cincinnati: 1

Pittsburgh Riverhounds: 1
Charleston Battery: 1

Tulsa Roughnecks: 1
San Antonio FC: 3

LA Galaxy II: 2
Rio Grande Valley FC: 0

Portland Timbers 2: 1
Arizona United SC: 1

Orange County Blues FC: 1
Sacramento Republic FC: 0

Louisville City FC: 0
Bethlehem Steel FC: 0

Charlotte Independence: 2
New York Red Bull II: 0

FC Montreal: 0
Orlando City B: 1

OKC Energy: 1
Seattle Sounders FC 2: 1


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