USL PRO log: Week 8
Week 8: May 8-14, 2013
5/8: VSI Tampa Bay announces the departure of head coach Matt Weston
5/9: Riverhounds capture first win at Highmark
5/10: Rochester Rhinos finally get first win of season
5/11: Dayton gets back on track against Phoenix
5/11: Hammerheads drop fifth straight decision
5/12: Dwyer continues to shine as Orlando City beats Sounders Reserves
5/14: Charlotte remains undefeated and ends winning streak for Battery
5/14: Three of four USL PRO teams win in first round of U.S. Open Cup
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
There were several outstanding performances this week that could have merited our award for player of the week. Jose Angulo’s brace gave Pittsburgh their first win of the season. Dom Dwyer lit up the scoreboard again this week. Joseph Ngwenya’s hat-trick earned him player of the week honors from the league.
With a little help from some of my Reckless colleagues, I’ve decided to go with a player that didn’t score a single goal. Kristian Nicht was spectacular in the net for the Rochester Rhinos against the Wilmington Hammerheads. It might be hyperbole, but one of our contributors suggested that it was Nicht’s singular effort that lifted the Rhinos to their first victory in 2013. The Rochester goalkeeper only had to stop three shots, but it took a herculean effort to do so.
5/9: Phoenix FC Wolves 1-2 Pittsburgh Riverhounds
5/10: Antigua Barracuda 0-4 Harrisburg City Islanders
5/10: Rochester Rhinos 1-0 Wilmington Hammerheads
5/11: Antigua Barracuda 1-4 Richmond Kickers
5/11: Phoenix FC Wolves 3-4 Dayton Dutch Lions
5/11: Wilmington Hammerheads 2-4 Charleston Battery
5/12: Orlando City 2-0 Seattle Sounders Reserves
5/14: Charleston Battery 0-1 Charlotte Eagles
Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup
5/14: RWB Adria 1-1 (3-5 PK) Pittsburgh Riverhounds
5/14: River City Rovers 0-3 Dayton Dutch Lions
5/14: Phoenix FC Wolves 1-2 FC Tucson
5/14: VSI Tampa Bay 1-1 (5-3 PK) Orlando City U23
PLAYER TO WATCH
Gibson Bardsley isn’t exactly a grizzled veteran, but this isn’t his first time around the block, either. This is his third season in USL PRO and second with the Dayton Dutch Lions. Last season, the winger tallied 5 goals in 23 appearances with the Dutch Lions. He was among the league leaders in shots (54) and fouls (35), which are a testament to his aggressive approach to the game.
Bardsley has already scored 3 goals through 5 games for Dayton this year, and it looks like he might be on the verge of a breakout season. There are two reasons to be optimistic about the production the Dutch Lions will get out of him. First, if the recent game against Phoenix is an indication of things to come, changes in the Dayton midfield are going to get him better opportunities to score. Second, he is finishing better than he did a season ago. These two things probably go hand in hand.
Dayton heads to Pittsburgh this weekend to play an important match with possible playoff implications. Bardsley notched a goal against the Riverhounds in the Dutch Lions’ season-opening victory. Look for him to be involved in more scoring at Highmark Stadium on Saturday night.
A LOOK AHEAD
Unlike last week’s slate of games, many of which featured teams in the upper echelon of the USL PRO standings squaring off against clubs in the lower tier, this week offers matches that pit teams that are in similar positions against one another. One such game, the Blues at the Kickers, is the Reckless Challenge game of the week. The Los Angeles Blues currently sit one spot below the fourth-place Kickers, but will have a chance to trade positions with Richmond on Friday night in City Stadium. If Los Angeles manages to beat Richmond, they’ll be the first team to do it this season. The Blues are out to prove that they can win on the road and belong in hunt for a playoff spot. The Kickers seem to be on a mission to exercise some of the demons from last season’s finish.
The other game scheduled for Friday night is an intriguing match in the Keystone State between Orlando City and the Harrisburg City Islanders. Orlando is an offensive juggernaut. Harrisburg has limited its opponents to less than a goal per game on average. Will Orlando City keep the goals flowing, or will the City Islanders shut down the scoring pipeline? A Harrisburg win would put them within one point of the first place club from central Florida. An Orlando victory would widen the gap between themselves and the rest of the league.