Fuego Take Victory in Tucson
Create separation in Southwest Division playoff race
TUCSON, Ariz. – Paul Islas had the only goal as the Fresno Fuego remained undefeated with a 1-0 victory against FC Tucson on Saturday night at the Kino Sports Complex. The victory allowed the Fuego to build a seven-point cushion against Tucson as the Southwest Division season reached its midway point.
The Fuego came close to opening the scoring in the third minute, only for their effort to be cleared off the line. Tucson also came close, with Connor Brandt curling a free kick that came back off the crossbar, but that was as close as it came to finding the back of the net.
Tucson goalkeeper Michael D’Arrigo made a good save to keep the game scoreless before the break, twice making saves to deny breakaway opportunities for the Fuego. Fresno broke through just before the hour mark, however, as Islas tucked away the rebound off a save by D’Arrigo to give his side victory and keep the Fuego on top of the Southwest Division.
K-W UNITED 3, RIVER CITY 2: K-W United recorded a victory in its home opener at Laurier University as it defeated the River City Rovers in a back-and-forth contest in front of 1,080 fans. Evan James scored twice for United, but K-W needed a goal from Tomislav Zadro to earn victory after River City hit back through a pair of goals by Humberto Bertran.
James opened the scoring in the ninth minute, lifting a finish past Rovers goalkeeper Tyler Hafling, and he added a second goal just before the halftime whistle to give United a comfortable lead. The advantage was short-lived, however, as Bertran struck twice in five minutes to pull River City even 10 minutes after the break.
United wrested control back just before the hour mark, though, as Zadro finished from close range to give his side victory in its home opener and move it off the bottom of the Great Lakes Division.
SPRINGFIELD 1, DES MOINES 0: The Springfield Demize claimed their first victory in club history on the road against Des Moines as a late goal by Eric Martin earned the win at Valley Stadium. The Demize were reduced to 10 men midway through the second half, but were able to take their second win of the season.
The Menace had the better of what was a physical encounter, and gained a man-advantage in the 69th minute when Mark Heath-Preston was sent off for his second yellow card. The Demize were able to hold on, while Des Moines was unable to take advantage of its chances, and when Martin scored with four minutes to go it proved enough to earn Springfield victory.
WEST VIRGINIA 3, SC UNITED 1: A pair of goals by Matthew Brown gave the West Virginia Chaos their third consecutive victory, and completed a two-game weekend sweep of the SC United Bantams, as they took victory at Blackbaud Stadium. The victories moved the Chaos to the top of the South Atlantic Division as they reached the midway point of their season.
Having taken a 2-1 win on Friday night at Lander University, the Chaos again grabbed an early lead through Brown on Saturday. Adam Arthur added a second goal before the halftime break before Brown scored again six minutes into the second half to give West Virginia a 3-0 lead. The Bantams pulled a goal back with 10 minutes to go through Hunter Riddle, but were unable to mount any further comeback.
OKLAHOMA CITY 3, LAREDO 2: Oklahoma City FC got a pair of goals from Adam Black as it rallied from a two-goal deficit to defeat the Laredo Heat at Stars Field. The win solidified OKC’s second position in the Mid South Division, five points clear of the third-placed Heat, Houston Dutch Lions and West Texas Sockers.
Laredo took an early advantage with Genaro Hernandez scoring in the 18th minute to give his side a halftime lead. Two minutes after the break, Daniel Garza doubled Laredo’s advantage, putting away a chance created by Juan de Dios Ibarra.
Oklahoma City got back on even terms with two goals in two minutes, however, as Black put away a chance from Chris Taylor in the 68th minute, and Tommy Hubbard found an equalizer a minute later. Black completed the comeback with eight minutes to go as he scored from the penalty spot, giving OKC a vital victory in its pursuit of the playoffs in the club’s inaugural season.
OTTAWA 1, WESTERN MASS 0: The Ottawa Fury moved to the top of the Northeast Division with a victory on the road against the Western Mass Pioneers. Loic Miliani scored the only goal of a feisty game that saw both teams finish with 10 men.
The Fury had the better of possession in the first half, and they made that advantage tell in the 37th minute as Miliani scored his first goal of the season. Yannis Becker had a chance to add to the lead just before halftime, but he was unable to finish, leaving Ottawa with a one-goal lead at the break.
The Pioneers were reduced to 10 men just before the hour mark as Javoni Simms was sent off, but the Fury’s man-advantage was short-lived as Jacob Barron picked up his second yellow card in the 66th minute, leaving both teams down a man. The Pioneers pushed forward to try and grab an equalizer, but Fury goalkeeper Nils Carlson was able to earn his second shutout of the season as Ottawa took all three points.
OCEAN CITY 3, BALTIMORE 1: Early goals by Zoncher Dennis and Ken Tribbett led the Ocean City Nor’easters to victory against the Baltimore Bohemians, keeping the Nor’easters perfect though four games this season in the Mid Atlantic Division.
Juan Correa assisted on both of the opening goals, first setting up Dennis in the seventh minute and then creating the opportunity for Tribbett four minutes later. Baltimore pulled a goal back on the half-hour mark through Geaton Caltabiano, but Ocean City was able to restore its two-goal lead midway through the second half to claim victory.
PORTLAND 1, SOUNDERS U-23 0: The Portland timbers U-23s took sole possession of first place in the Northwest Division as a goal by Zack Foxhoven in the final 10 minutes gave his side victory against the Sounders FC U-23 in front of more than 1,000 fans.
Both teams had opportunities in an open first half, with Timbers U-23s midfielder Zach Barnes testing Zach Lubin with a shot from 20 yards. The Sounders U-23 also went close with Aodhan Quinn almost connecting with Sean Okoli from a free kick. Okoli also went close seven minutes before halftime, shooting over the crossbar with a turning effort.
Both sides continued to press forward in the second half, and Portland again forced Lubin into a good save in the 59th minute when he tipped a shot by Gabriel Cornelian onto the crossbar and out. The Timbers U-23s found the breakthrough with seven minutes to go, however, as Foxhoven was on hand to fire a left-footed shot home off a cross by Nick Palodichuk to give his side victory.
READING 3, NEW YORK 2: Reading United held off a late rally by the F.A. Euro – New York Magic to remain undefeated at the top of the Mid Atlantic Division with a victory at Don Thomas Stadium. Second-half substitute Larry Ndjock scored twice for United.
The game was a quiet one for the opening half, but opened up after both Reading’s Damion Lowe and F.A. Euro’s Viktor Bakkioui were sent off four minutes after the break for an altercation following a tackle. Reading took the lead on the hour mark as Kadeem Dacres found Darius Madison in the penalty area for a finish through traffic.
Ndjock was brought on with 19 minutes to go, and had an immediate impact as Reading doubled its advantage in the 74th minute. Ben Sweat’s cross was flicked on by Fatai Alashe, coming to Ndjock, who settled the ball before slotting home. Ndjock added a second five minutes later as a cross by Manolo Sanchez found him to finish from close range.
F.A. Euro tried to rally, and got a goal back in the 89th minute through Christian Marcel. The goal was the first conceded by Reading in the PDL this season, breaking a 449-minute shutout streak. F.A. Euro was able to add a second goal in stoppage time through Dominik Falanga, but Reading was able to hold on to claim all three points.
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