USL First Division Weekend Round-Up
Puerto Rico Islanders moved three points clear at the top of the United Soccer Leagues First Division standings after a productive weekend of results.
Colin Clarke's side took their unbeaten run to five games after visits to Seattle Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps, while the race to reach the USL-1 playoffs heated up during the latest round of league action.
Things started on Wednesday night in Quebec, with former Whitecaps midfielder Tony Donatelli scoring the only goal for Montreal Impact in a crucial 1-0 victory over Rochester Rhinos. Following the match, Darren Tilley's side were penalized one point in the standings after playing Andrew Gregor in the midweek game at Saputo Stadium, despite the midfielder not having served a one-game suspension for collecting five yellow cards.
The two games on Friday saw Carolina RailHawks end their nine-match winless streak after a vital 3-2 win at home to fellow strugglers Miami FC Blues. In Washington State, Puerto Rico showed their intent to finish top of the table after a convincing 3-0 victory over Seattle Sounders. Edson Elcock scored twice for the Islanders at the Starfire Sports Complex.
The three games on Saturday saw Rochester recover from defeat in Montreal to see off Minnesota Thunder 3-1 at PAETEC Park. Luke Kreamalmeyer had a goal and an assist for the Rhinos. Charleston Battery missed the chance to close the gap on the league frontrunners after a goalless draw at Southern Derby rivals Atlanta Silverbacks. In Oregon, Portland Timbers claimed a valuable 2-1 home win over Montreal. All the goals came in the second half at PGE Park, with on-loan striker Bryan Jordan and Chris Brown securing the points for Gavin Wilkinson's side, while Donatelli made it two goals in as many games for Montreal in consolation.
The lone game on Sunday was a clash of the league's top two, with Puerto Rico the happier to claim a goalless draw with the Whitecaps in Vancouver. The home side had a frustrating end to the game at Swangard Stadium, with striker Eduardo Sebrango shown two yellow cards for arguing with match referee Geoff Gamble over a disallowed Omar Jarun goal. Assistant coach Todd Wawrousek was also ejected after showing his displeasure at the game official.