USL Week 5 Wrap-Up: Blizzards and Upsets

by ANTHONY J. MERCED
USL Beat Writer

Week 5 in the USL once again proved the unpredictable nature of the league.

Between Sacramento returning to the top of the Western Conference, Tulsa upsetting the undefeated Seattle or Colorado Springs playing in a winter wonderland, there was something for just about everyone in the USL this week.

Top contenders also started to appear as Rochester found its scoring potential and Sacramento has rebounded from a rocky start on the road to show dominance at home.

Colorado and SLC Reenact Soccer’s Version of the Battle at the Wall

With little more than open road and the Rocky Mountains separating them, the Colorado Springs Switchbacks and the Real Monarchs SLC waged soccer war on a snowy field Friday night to a memorable scoreline of 5-2 in favor of Colorado Springs.

What started as simply a cold night turned into a winter mess by the start of the second half, creating confusion in the game and throwing all conventional soccer wisdom out the window.

The first half was exciting with the Switchbacks striking first off the foot of Miguel Gonzalez in the 11th minute. The Monarchs were quick to respond as the score was equalized six minutes later when Eti Tavares found the back of the net. Right before half time a penalty converted by Colorado Springs’ Luke Vercollone gave the Switchbacks the advantage.

From there things got crazy. The snow fell fast and heavy as the play seemed to mimic the frantic weather. The Switchbacks went ahead just after the half with a goal from Saeed Robinson. With the score well in hand for Colorado Springs it seemed like the action had all but gone silent. In the 82nd minute the pace picked up again as the Monarchs scored to make it 3-2 before the Switchbacks added two in the 87th and 89th minute to solidify the victory in a wild night.

Tulsa Topples the Unbeaten

Of all the games over the weekend, Seattle’s visit to Tulsa seemed like a no-brainer. Sounders 2 had been one of the most dominant teams to this point leading the league in goals scored. What transpired over the next 90 minutes was the first major upset of the USL season as Tulsa toppled the MLS 2 side for their first club victory. However, the task wasn’t easy as Seattle dominated most of the first half scoring three goals. Tulsa kept it close with two of their own, setting the stage for a memorable second half.

The crowd of over 4,000 at ONEOK Field watched in amazement as the Roughnecks tied the game in the 69th minute and then took the lead nine minutes later off a goal from Lucas Cordeiro. The game winner came after a throw-in was misplayed by Seattle goalkeeper Charlie Lyon who rushed past the ball in a fit of over aggression. Luckily for Tulsa it fell to the foot of Cordeiro who deposited the ball into the back of the net, sending Roughneck fans home happy. The team will not have a bye week before taking to the road for the first time this season.

Rochester Prove Their Ability With Road Dominance

The most amazing part of Rochester’s start to the 2015 season isn’t that they are undefeated or that they’ve found a way to score goals, a problem that plagued the team and cost them a playoff spot last year. The truly amazing aspect of their game is that it has been done on the road. The Rhinos have yet to have a home game this season but sit on top of the Eastern Conference with three wins and two draws. Their latest 1-0 victory over St. Louis FC continues to prove that their tight defense and timely goal scoring could make them a force in 2015.

The game itself was what you would expect from Rochester. They were tight defensively, giving little opportunity to St. Louis. However, they were not so incredibly successful in the opposition’s end either. Aside from an early opportunity by Christian Volesky, little was done to progress the game’s scoreline. It wasn’t until the 78th minute that Rochester’s patience paid off when Kenardo Forbes played a chip pass to substitute Colin Rolfe for the goal.

The win moves Rochester into first place by one point over the Charleston Battery who had their hands full with New York Red Bull II. The Battery were unable to take three points from a Red Bull team that once thrived with MLS bench players in the starting line up.

Scores for Week 5:

Vancouver White Caps 2: 0
Sacramento Republic FC: 2

Rochester Rhinos: 1
Louisville City FC: 1

Seattle Sounders 2: 3
Tulsa Roughnecks: 4

Real Monarchs SLC: 2
Colorado Springs Switchbacks: 5

Charlotte Independence: 0
Richmond Kickers: 3

FC Montreal: 1
Harrisburg City Islanders: 2

New York Red Bulls II: 1
Charleston Battery: 1

Seattle Sounders 2: 1
Oklahoma City Energy: 2

Rochester Rhinos: 1
St. Louis FC: 2

Arizona United SC: 0
Orange County Blues FC: 3

Portland Timbers 2: 0
Sacramento Republic FC: 3

Louisville City FC: 1
Pittsburgh Riverhounds: 1

Austin Aztex: 1
LA Galaxy 2: 2


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