USL Week 4 Recap

Another week done and dusted, with several teams collecting their first wins of the season. In our Game of the Week, Seattle Sounders 2 continue their roll through the Western Conference as Portland was saddled with their first loss of the season.

Game of the Week

Old USL rivalries were renewed as the Sounders 2 and Portland Timbers 2 met in the lower divisions for the first time since 2008. Both teams entered the match undefeated in the young season, but it was the Sounders who came out on top, powered through by Giuliano Frano’s 88th-minute chipped goal over Timbers 2 keeper Jake Gleeson.

Despite having the bulk of the chances in the first half, including two gilt-edged chances that were mishit by Aaron Long and Darwin Jones, the Sounders were unable to find the breakthrough in the first half. It was the Timbers who drew first blood off a set piece by Blair Gavin that perfectly found the head of Harrison Delbridge for a rocket of a header into the top right corner. It was the first time all season the Sounders had trailed.

It wouldn’t take long for the Sounders to get back into the game on the restart, as the Andy Craven was taken down in the box by Andy Thoma. Pablo Rossi was the man tasked with taking the penalty kick. Even though Gleeson rightly dove to his left, he was unable to match Rossi’s kick which found the upper left corner of the goal to draw the teams level.

As the game wore on, it looked like Portland would have the better chance of taking all three points, but shots by Kharlton Belmar and Rundell Winchester went wide of the mark. After connecting on several passes, an brilliant chipped ball over the backline by Andy Craven broke Frano for the chipped shot over a charging Gleeson to give the Sounders their only lead and enabling the Seattle side to record their third straight win.

Around the League

– Colorado Springs picked up their first win of the season after getting past a Real Monarchs side that had played their second game in three days. Mike Seth provided the game’s only goal in the 29th minute of action. It was the first road goal in Switchbacks’ history.

– The Orange County Blues also found the win column for the first time this season with a 2-0 victory over Vancouver Whitecaps 2. Both goals came in the second half, with Didier Crettenand providing the opener in the 58th minute and Amani Walker notching the late insurance goal in the 93rd minute.

– Some might say justice was served as the New York Red Bulls II were trounced by the Wilmington Hammerheads 3-0 on Sunday afternoon. Nick Zimmerman bagged a brace in the first half and Andres Mendoza provided the exclamation mark in the 88th minute. It was Wilmington’s second game in three days.

– In an early rematch, Sacramento once again downed Los Angeles Galaxy II 3-1 as the Republic looks to be getting health. Rodrigo Lopez continued to terrorize Los Dos, opening the scoring in the 22nd minute before Emrah Klimenta doubled the lead five minutes later. David Estrada also scored for Sacramento in the first half. Los Dos finally found the back of the net in the second half courtesy of Ariel Lassiter.

Goal of the Week

Frano’s chip was fantastic against the Timbers. All it took was the deftest of touches, but the focus it required with Gleeson storming off his line to meet him made this goal what it was. Never mind the fact that it was in a derby match.

Assist of the Week

This goes to none other than the man who set up this week’s Goal of the Week, Andy Craven. The composed nature of the 2014 Hermann Trophy Finalist in the dying seconds of an emotionally-charged match was commendable, and he collected a point in his third straight game with the fantastic chipped through ball. I hope to have paid enough lip serve to the Pacific Northwest at this point…

Save of the Week

Any time you face a penalty as a keeper, you are at a disadvantage. Richmond’s Travis Worra didn’t care about that fact as he pushed Sonny Jane’s well-taken penalty onto the post and out to preserve the clean sheet in the 79th minute.

The 91st Minute

– The Sounders, Arizona United and Charleston are the only remaining teams yet to drop points this season. Each has gone 3-0-0 to begin the season. Charleston had a bye during Week 4 after playing the soft opening on Week 1.

– On the other end of the table, just two teams are still searching for their first points of the season and both are in the Eastern Conference. FC Montreal and the Harrisburg City Islanders are both 0-2-0. I won’t say I called the Islanders struggling before the season began, but well… I kind of did. Don’t worry though, surely one of them will record a win when they meet each other this weekend…

About Jordan Beech

You can follow Jordan at @JBeech13 or @TotalUSL