USL First Division Weekend Round-Up
By Simon Fudge/whitecapsfc.com
Vancouver Whitecaps are the new leaders of the United Soccer Leagues First Division following their latest league victory.
The Whitecaps moved to the summit of USL-1 after a third-straight win during the latest weekend of league action. Following in their footsteps were Rochester Rhinos, who also took their winning run to three matches in Montreal. There was also a second straight league victory for Charleston Battery, while Cleveland City Stars earned their first point as a USL-1 club.
The weekend action began in the state capital of Texas on Friday night, with Austin Aztex claiming a third draw in their first-ever season as a USL-1 club after a 1-1 result with Puerto Rico Islanders. Yordany Alvarez's second-half strike canceled out Cristian Arrieta's opening goal for the Islanders at Nelson Field.
There were three matches on Saturday, with Montreal Impact continuing to struggle in these early stages of the USL-1 season. Despite taking an early lead through Rocco Placentino, first-half goals by Chris Nurse and Tiger Fitzpatrick gave Rochester a 2-1 victory over the Impact in Montreal's home opener at Stade Saputo. The Impact remain winless in USL-1 after their first four games of the season.
In Bedford, Ohio, Cleveland earned a hard-fought goalless draw at home to Portland Timbers, while in Cary, North Carolina, Charleston took the upper hand in the Southern Derby Cup after a 2-1 away win over Carolina RailHawks. Former RailHawks players Daniel Antoniuk and Frankie Sanfilippo had the goals for the Battery at WakeMed Soccer Park. Both clubs also finished the match with ten men after Carolina's Amir Lowery and Charleston's John Wilson were shown red cards during the derby clash.
The final weekend match took place on Sunday night, as the Whitecaps went top of the league standings after a 1-0 victory over Puerto Rico Islanders. Charles Gbeke repeated his heroics of last year's USL-1 Championship Final versus La Tropa Naranja (Orange Troop) by scoring the winner in the late stages at Swangard Stadium. It was Gbeke's first goal of the season.