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GAMEDAY ROUNDUP: Long-Range Strikes Lead Rowdies Past Atlanta

By Staff, 08/22/20, 9:32PM EDT


Orange County remains undefeated with victory against Los Dos; Alasanne Ates Diouf stars as Bold FC wins against Toros

The Tampa Bay Rowdies maintained their undefeated start with another solid home victory against Atlanta United 2, Orange County SC remained in the ranks of the undefeated with victory on the road against the LA Galaxy II, and Alasanne Ates Diouf led Austin Bold FC with a two-goal night in a win against Rio Grande Valley FC as part of Saturday night’s action in the USL Championship.


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The Rowdies became the first team to pass 20 points this regular season as a pair of outstanding first-half strikes by Jordan Doherty and Kyle Murphy proved enough to defeat Atlanta at Al Lang Stadium.

Looking to continue their undefeated run to start the season, the Rowdies went close six minutes later when Malik Johnson turned a defender inside out on the right side of the penalty area and had his low shot parried by Atlanta goalkeeper Ben Lundgaard. The rebound came to Kyle Murphy, but his effort was cleared off the line by Modou Jadama to keep the game scoreless.

After other close chances, the breakthrough arrived for the hosts in the 21st minute as Jordan Doherty was left in space 30 yards from goal and produced an outstanding long-range strike that found the bottom-left corner of the net. Tampa Bay almost added a second two minutes later when Johnson played Sebastian Guenzatti into the right side of the penalty area, but the Rowdies’ captain powered his finish off the right post.

The Rowdies struck again six minutes before halftime, however, as Yann Ekra plaed a pass to Murphy as he moved across the top of the penalty area, and the forward hit a first-time, turning shot that clipped the right post and found the back of the net. Atlanta tried to pull a goal back with a long-range effort of its own in the 63rd minute but Coleman Gannon was unable to fire his shot past Rowdies goalkeeper Evan Louro.

The Rowdies then had a chance to add to their lead when Guenzatti was brought down in the penalty area with just over 20 minutes to go, but his shot to the left corner was saved by Lundgaard, who punched away to safety. Leo Fernandes also had a chance 10 minutes later after a clever pass by Adam Najem sent him into the penalty area only for Lundgaard to make another good save, but while Atlanta pulled a goal back late from the penalty spot as Phillip Goodrum shot low to the left corner of the net, Tampa Bay was able to hold on in stoppage time to seal all three points. Man of the Match

Yann Ekra, Tampa Bay Rowdies – Ekra was outstanding on the ball all night, recording both assists and completing 39 of 40 passes overall while also winning 6 of 8 duels and completing 2 of 2 dribbles.


CARSON, Calif. – Orange County continued its undefeated start to the season as it defeated Southern California rival Los Dos in a back-and-forth contest at Dignity Health Sports Park.

OCSC took the lead in the 14th minute when Danny Finlayson threaded a pass down the right flank that picked out Cammy Palmer in space, and his cross to the back post was met with a first-time finish by Ugo Okoli to get the visitors rolling.

Los Dos struck back six minutes later, however, as from a free kick about 25 yards from goal to the left of center, Mauricio Cuevas fired a dipping shot over the wall that found the bottom-left corner of the net to equalize. Augustine Williams almost put the hosts ahead as Jorge Hernandez send him through on goal, only for OCSC goalkeeper Aaron Cervantes to make a good one-on-one save.

Just before the hour-mark Orange County struck again to regain the lead as a cross from the left by Nathan Smith was headed out to the feet of Palmer, who strode forward and launched a powerful finish from 20 yards into the left corner of the net. Okoli almost added his second of the night with 10 minutes to go but couldn’t beat Los Dos goalkeeper Abraham Romero with a one-on-one chance, and then eight minutes later Okoli tried again on a counterattack only to be thwarted once more.

Los Dos has one final chance to equalize just as the game ticked into stoppage time, but Hernandez’s shot flew just over the top-left corner of the net, and Orange County was able to see out the result from there and take another big step forward toward the postseason. Man of the Match

Cammy Palmer, Orange County SC – Palmer notched a goal and assist, including an outstanding game-winner, to cap off a performance that also saw him complete 26 of 30 passes and record three key passes.


EDINBURG, Texas – Alasanne Ates Diouf had two goals and one assist to lead Bold FC to a big road victory as the visitors held off a second-half rally by the Toros at H-E-B Park.

Looking to continue its push for the postseason, Bold FC took the lead in the 16th minute when a long pass forward by Xavier Baez was brought down by Diouf and fell nicely for Billy Forbes, who proceeded to rifle home a low shot to the bottom-right corner of the net from the left side of the penalty area. Five minutes later, Diouf squeezed home a finish of his own as Baez found him on the right side of the penalty area, and his quick release to the far post caught out the defense and doubled Austin’s lead.

Juan Carlos Obregon Jr. almost pulled a goal back for the Toros five minutes before halftime as he battled to win possession at the top of the penalty area a corner kick and saw his strike be just tipped over the crossbar by Bold FC goalkeeper Diego Restrepo. Austin added to its lead eight minutes into the second half, however, as Ema Twumasi took on his defender in the left side of the penalty area and delivered a low cross to the back post was Diouf slid in to finish for his second of the night.

Rio Grande Valley pulled a goal back five minutes later as a short corner on the left to Robert Coronado set up a chance to deliver an angled cross to the top of the six-yard area that Obregon Jr. was on hand to head home into the left corner of the net. The Toros comeback continued in the 78th minute as Kyle Edwards laid a pass back on the right side for a first-time cross by Carter Manley that picked out Jonathan Jimenez at the back post for a headed finish, setting up a grandstand finish. The Toros couldn’t complete the rally, however, as a free kick by Isidro Martinez in the 90th minute that looped over and onto the roof of the net proved the closest they would come to an equalizer. Man of the Match

Alasanne Ates Diouf, Austin Bold FC – Diouf produced two goals and one assist and finished the night with three shots and two chances created while also completing 18 of 19 passes overall in a stellar night’s production.


SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sacramento continued its undefeated streak, but had to rally back late to earn victory against T2 on Saturday night at Papa Murphy’s Park.

Looking for its first points of the season, T2 opened the game brightly and almost took the lead in the 13th minute when Jorge Gonzalez Asensi fired a shot from the right side of the penalty area that was tipped over by Republic FC goalkeeper Rafael Diaz. Gonzalez Asensi provided the breakthrough for Portland in the 23rd minute, however, as he turned well on a pass by Carlos Anguiano to shake his defender and then fired low into the left corner of the net.

Sacramento almost hit back nine minutes before halftime when Cameron Iwasa was denied at close range by T2 goalkeeper Hunter Sulte, while Portland almost added to its lead a few minutes later when Gio Calixtro found space in the penalty area and had a low shot denied by Diaz.

Republic FC went as close as they could to an equalizer seven minutes into the second half when a low cross deflected to Drew Skundrich, whose first-time shot was palmed by Sulte onto his right post before the rebound dropped back into the goalkeeper’s hands. On the hour-mark Skundrich would have better fortune, though, as Ashkanov Apollon’s low cross from the left reached him at the top of the penalty area for a close-range finish to the left corner of the net.

Nine minutes later Republic FC took the lead as Iwasa struck for a second consecutive game. The Sacramento standout ran onto a fine through-ball by Jordan McCrary and lifted his finish from the right side of the penalty area into the left corner of the net. Portland had a chance to find an equalizer late when Harold Hanson’s inviting cross from the right was sent over at the near post by Calixtro’s header, but the hosts saw out the remaining minutes to keep its playoff drive on course. Man of the Match

Jordan McCrary, Sacramento Republic FC – McCrary provided a slide-rule pass for the assist on Cameron Iwasa’s game-winner and had a good game overall, completing 41 of 51 passes and winning 6 of 8 duels defensively.


OVERLAND PARK, Mo. – Wilson Harris bagged another pair of goals to lead SKC II to a bounce-back victory against OKC Energy FC at Children’s Mercy Victory Field to rejuvenate the club’s playoff prospects.

Hoping to rebound from a midweek defeat, Sporting got out to an ideal start with a goal in the fifth minute. Energy FC goalkeeper Cody Laurendi came off his line to try and clear a through-ball by Fredlin Mompremier, but didn’t get the right contact as the ball looped to Wilson Harris, who quickly looped a finish over the goalkeeper and into the vacant net from 25 yards.  

OKC almost leveled in the 17th minute when a throw-in by Zach Ellis Hayden released Jonathan Brown into the right side of the penalty area, but his finish from a narrow angle was denied by SKC II goalkeeper John Pulskamp. Five minutes later, the hosts doubled their lead as a giveaway in midfield allowed Petar Cuic to quickly release Harris on the counterattack, and the young forward notched his second goal of the night with a low finish to the left corner.

Sporting added a third in the 66th minute as a corner kick by Mompremier from the left floated to the top of the six-yard area and was tucked home by Danny Barbir into the left corner of the net. The hosts then almost added a fourth with a minute to go as a sliding interception of a low cross from the left by OKC’s Christian Ibeagha left the ball for Mompremier to claim possession, but his shot was cleared off the line by Ellis-Hayden. The late chance proved academic, however, as SKC II ran out strong winners. Man of the Match

Wilson Harris, Sporting Kansas City II – Harris grabbed a pair of goals on his two shots for the game to give the hosts the winning boost they needed to remain in the playoff hunt.

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