USL FIRST DIVISION WEEKEND ROUND-UP

Seattle Sounders are the new leaders of the USL First Division after taking their unbeaten streak to seven games over the weekend.

Brian Schmetzer’s side have made the most of a three-game home stand to win the Cascadia Cup with a victory over arch-rivals Portland Timbers on Wednesday before seeing off another in-form club in Puerto Rico Islanders on Saturday.

It was Colin Clarke’s Islanders that started the weekend by claiming a creditable 1-1 draw at USL-1 champions Vancouver Whitecaps on Thursday night. Fabrice Noel gave Puerto Rico the lead with a fine strike, but substitute Alfredo Valente earned the Whitecaps a share of the spoils with his first goal of the season.

The USL-1’s two expansion sides met at in Cary, North Carolina, on Friday evening, with Carolina RailHawks snapping an eight-game winless streak after a 2-0 win over California Victory. Former Whitecaps striker Joel Bailey scored the winner in his first start for the RailHawks following his move from Vancouver late last month.

There were three games on Saturday, with Atlanta Silverbacks claiming a 2-1 Southern Derby Cup victory over Charleston Battery at the RE/MAX Greater Atlanta Stadium. Last-place Minnesota Thunder recorded the surprise result of the weekend by earning a 1-1 draw against a Portland Timbers side that have not won in their last four games. That allowed Seattle to leapfrog Portland and move into top spot in USL-1 following a 1-0 victory over Puerto Rico at Qwest Field. Roger Levesque struck the winner five minutes before halftime.

The lone game on Sunday saw a new-look Montreal Impact build on Wednesday’s 4-1 win over Carolina with a 1-0 home success over Rochester Raging Rhinos. Former Whitecaps striker Joey Gjertsen earned his third assist since moving to Montreal, as he set up strike partner Charles Gbeke’s winner on a beautiful day for soccer at the Claude Robillard Sports Complex.