USL Wrap-Up: Week 19

by ANTHONY J. MERCED
USL Writer

Week 19 of the USL was all about consistency as teams like Seattle, Rochester and LA proved that they are the elite teams in their conferences while a renewed confidence in teams like New York are solidifying playoff aspirations.¬†Teams like Charleston and Richmond who started the season hot have seen a severe regression in performance¬†— something that may continue if adjustments aren’t made.

Seattle Sweeps Season Series Against Portland

The Cascadia rivalry that exists in MLS has carried down to the USL affiliate teams as T2 vs S2 has become one of the most heated fixtures in the league. This year the victories were quite unbalanced as Seattle swept away Timbers 2 with a 2-0 victory on Friday night at Starfire Sports Stadium. What is even worse is that Portland was only able to score one goal in the series way back in their first meeting. That means the rest were shutouts, marking a significant advantage to Seattle in the USL.

The win pushes Seattle to first in the Western Conference, tied with the LA Galaxy II at 36 points. The past few weeks have seen the cluttered table thin out as now there is a four point difference at the top between the shared placeholders and the second place Colorado Springs Switchbacks. The next few fixtures will not be easy for S2 as they will play Sacramento, LA and Colorado Springs. If they survive that stretch they may perhaps be the best team in the Western Conference.

Rochester Continues to Roll

We are now reaching the point where the undefeated streak has to be on the mind of head coach Bob Lilley and his team. They remain the dominant team in the Eastern Conference with 43 points and not a single loss this season. Their latest victory was what you would expect. A 1-0 win over Charleston Battery who appeared to be their closest competition before dropping two games this week. Now with seven of their last nine regular season games being played at home, attention may need to focus on what could be an invincible season.

The Rhinos have continued their success with a lights-out defense. Still having surrendered less than ten goals this season, it has overshadowed the relatively low output of goals from their offense. With no goal scorer in the top ten, it has truly been a team effort, on display against Charleston on Sunday. The schedule was certainly in their favor as the Battery only had one day of rest before traveling up north. Still, Rochester was able to take care of business and continues to be the solid favorite to claim yet another fourth USL league championship.

New York Becoming a Sleeper Favorite

Of all the “2” teams, New York has been the one in the Eastern Conference showing the most promise. Their early season inconsistencies are starting to fade away as the team has only lost two of their last eight games. Their stadium situation has also been solidified as they will remain at Red Bull Arena and not have to adjust to the artificial surface of Columbia University.

Their most recent win over Richmond on Saturday was a good sign of just how far the team has come. Unable to score goals early in the season, the team can now easily match blows with some of the more established powerhouses in the league like Harrisburg and Richmond. Youth players like Tyler Adams are fitting in nicely and replacements for call ups like Leo Stolz and Manola Sanchez have proven to fall into head coach’s John Wolyneic’s team just fine. The team currently sits 5th in the conference and may be poised for a serious run up the table.

USL Week 19 Results:

FC Montreal: 1
Toronto FC II: 0

FC Montreal: 0
Charlotte Independence: 2

Charleston Battery: 0
Toronto FC II: 1

Tulsa Roughnecks: 4
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2: 0

Portland Timbers FC 2: 0
Seattle Sounders FC 2: 2

Richmond Kickers: 3
New York Red Bull II: 4

Louisville City FC: 3
Wilmington Hammerheads: 1

Oklahoma City Energy: 0
St. Louis FC: 0

Real Monarchs SLC: 0
Orange County Blues: 1

Austin Aztex: 1
Arizona United SC: 0

Charleston Battery: 0
Rochester Rhinos: 1

Pittsburgh Riverhounds: 3
Harrisburg City Islanders: 4

LA Galaxy II: 1
Portland Timbers FC 2: 0

 


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