USL Week 2 Wrap-Up: Republic Return to Form

by ANTHONY J. MERCED
Staff Writer

The biggest USL game of the weekend was the rematch of the 2014 USL Championship semi-final between the Sacramento Republic FC and the LA Galaxy 2.

The game didn’t disappoint. Neither did the massive debuts of two other clubs, Louisville City who won their first game 2-0 over St. Louis and Portland Timbers 2 who took it to Real Monarchs 3-1. Charleston and Seattle remained undefeated and the battle of Oklahoma produced a scoreless draw. There was no shortage of storylines in week 2 of the 2015 USL Season.

Sacramento Regain Rodrigo Lopez — and Their Winning Ways

Last week’s shock loss to Seattle may have been a wake up call for Sacramento, but early on against LA Galaxy 2, things were not looking good.

The Republic gave up a goal before the tenth minute and had to claw back with two penalty kicks before the halftime whistle. Feeling good about their aggressive attitude, LA bounced back in the second half and equalized before the seventieth minute, setting the stage for a classic finale.

Rodrigo Lopez, who missed the first game of the season due to injury, returned and Sacramento couldn’t have missed him more. Well into stoppage time, David Estrada did most of the heavy lifting by beating the Galaxy 2 defense and finding Lopez who tapped in the game-winner. The reigning champs repeated their playoff efforts by once again defeating LA Galaxy 2 in Carson and sending LA into week 3 without a win. Sacramento, on the other hand, finally has some momentum going into their week 3 clash with Portland Timbers 2 on Thursday.

Louisville City Takes the King’s Cup

It was a packed Louisville Slugger Field that watched their new USL side dominate St. Louis FC to the score of 2-0.

A back and forth game couldn’t find fluidity until just after the 20th minute when Magnus Rasmussen was barely able to stay onside to beat the St. Louis keeper for the team’s first ever goal. The crowd was electric and they carried that momentum into the second half where Charlie Adams made his debut as a substitute for the team. The much talked about European prospect scored the second goal of the game in the 67th minute, solidifying the win for Louisville in front of over 6,000 fans.

The team was enthused about the result and the reception that the town gave them, hoping to grow from it throughout the season. Next week the team gets a real test when they host the Richmond Kickers, a team with a bit more experience that hopes to stifle the newly minted team’s progress.

A Stalemate in the Battle for Oklahoma

It was a derby in the traditional sense as the Tulsa Roughnecks and Oklahoma City Energy faced off in a tense contest. The sold out crowd of over 8,000 cheered their side as they earned a point in their first outing. Both teams seemed tentative in the first half until Tulsa settled a bit for more sustained pressure just before the half. However, OKC was able to take the lead in stoppage time against the run of play through a header from Michael Thomas.

The second half saw OKC lean on their experience as they dominated play but couldn’t find the cushion needed to solidify 3 points. Tulsa midfielder Brady Ballew became the first Tulsa player to score a goal for the new club as he equalized in the 71st minute. The remainder of the game was far less dramatic as neither said could produce a significant effort on goal but the home side surly appreciates sending the home crowd away with a goal and a point. Tulsa has a lot to work on but the 12th man was there to make opposing teams uncomfortable as ONEOK Field could be one of the tougher places to play all season.


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