USL First Division Weekend Round-Up
By Simon Fudge/whitecapsfc.com
Carolina RailHawks are top of the United Soccer Leagues First Division standings after a second weekend of regular season action in the 2009 campaign.
Martin Rennie could not have asked for a better start to life as a USL-1 head coach, as his RailHawks built on last weekend's season-opening win over Minnesota Thunder with a 1-0 home victory over Rochester Rhinos. Sallieu Bundu's second-half strike gave the North Carolina outfit all three points at WakeMed Soccer Park.
That match was one of five to be played on Saturday evening in the league. One of those contests was a rematch of last season's USL-1 Championship Final between Vancouver Whitecaps and Puerto Rico Islanders. Though they lost the final last October, Colin Clarke's Islanders got a measure of revenge with 2-1 home win over Vancouver. Two first-half goals from former Whitecaps striker Nicholas Addlery led the Caribbean outfit to a season-opening victory at the Juan Ramon Loubriel Stadium.
Charleston Battery had to settle for a second-straight goalless draw with another Canadian club on Saturday. After claiming a point in Vancouver on opening night, Mike Anhaeuser's Battery drew 0-0 with Montreal Impact at Blackbaud Stadium. The clash in South Carolina was Montreal's USL-1 season opener and their first competitive match since their stunning CONCACAF Champions League exit to Mexico's Santos Laguna last month.
Saturday also saw two new USL-1 clubs begin their seasons. The 2008 USL Second Division champions Cleveland City Stars were given a baptism of fire to what life may like up a division, as Miami FC Blues defeated the Ohio-based club 3-1. Former Whitecaps striker Alen Marcina was on the scoresheet for the South Florida club, who overcame a shorter than expected preseason to claim three points at Fort Lauderdale's Lockhart Stadium.
Fellow new boys Austin Aztex also embarked on life in USL-1 with a 1-1 home draw versus Minnesota. Lyle Adams put his name in the history books as the first-ever Aztex goalscorer in the league, as his second-half strike canceled out Leonel Saint-Preux's goal for the visiting Thunder in the Texas state capital on Saturday night.
You can watch USL-1 matches live online and for free at USLlive.com. Fox Sports World Canada and Fox Soccer Channel in the United States will also feature USL-1 games on Friday evenings during the season. Check your local listings for time and availability.