USL First Division Weekend Round-Up
By Simon Fudge/whitecapsfc.com
Charleston Battery remain top of the United Soccer Leagues First Division standings following the latest weekend of action.
Mike Anhaeuser's side remain undefeated after their first 12 matches in USL-1, despite drawing with Portland Timbers. Second-place Carolina RailHawks stay a point behind their Southern Derby Cup rivals after a draw and a defeat over the weekend. There were also key victories for strugglers Cleveland City Stars and Minnesota Thunder.
League action began on Thursday night, with Carolina claiming a goalless draw at home to Portland, with the RailHawks playing much of the second half with ten men after John Cunliffe was sent off at WakeMed Soccer Park.
There were two matches on Friday, with Puerto Rico Islanders hammering the expansion Austin Aztex 4-1 at the Juan Ramon Loubriel Stadium. Two Cristian Arrieta penalties led the Caribbean club to a comfortable home victory. Meanwhile, in Vancouver, the Whitecaps ended a three-match losing streak with an eventful 3-2 victory over Miami FC Blues at Swangard Stadium. Charles Gbeke and Marco Reda scored the goals for the home side in a match that had three players sent off. Match referee John Oliva issued red cards to Miami's Leo Inacio Nunes and Vancouver's Gbeke and Wesley Charles during the contest.
The two matches on Saturday saw Cleveland claim their first-ever home win in USL-1 with a convincing 3-0 drubbing of Rochester Rhinos. Goals by Godfrey Tenoff, Julian Valentin, and Josh Boateng gave the Ohio-based club their first three-point haul from Middlefield Cheese Stadium. In South Carolina, Charleston were held to a 1-1 draw by Portland at Blackbaud Stadium. Timbers substitute Mandjou Keita canceled out Randi Patterson's opening goal for the Battery.
The weekend action ended with two matches on Sunday. Minnesota finally got in the win column after a 2-0 home victory over high-flying Carolina. A pair of first-half goals by Brian Cvilikas gave the Thunder their first set of maximum points of the season. In South Florida, Miami FC ended a six-match winless streak in the league with a 2-0 home win over Austin. First-half goals by Diego Serna and Connally Edozien extended the Aztex's winless run in the league to four games.