USL First Division Weekend Round-Up
By Simon Fudge/whitecapsfc.com
Puerto Rico Islanders maintained their position at the top of the United Soccer Leagues First Division standings following the latest weekend of action.
Montreal Impact endured mix fortunes with their latest set of league matches, while Cleveland City Stars played out a couple of entertaining draws at home.
The action started early in the week, with both Canadian clubs in action on Tuesday evening. In Bedford, Ohio, a late strike by captain Martin Nash earned Vancouver Whitecaps a 2-2 draw in their first-ever USL-1 meeting with Cleveland. Meanwhile, in Quebec, a late strike by Impact captain Nevio Pizzolitto gave Montreal a 1-0 home win over Miami FC Blues.
The league's top two clubs met again in South Carolina on Thursday night, with Charleston Battery avenging their two defeats to the Islanders in Puerto Rico earlier this month, as they defeated the Caribbean outfit 1-0 at Blackbaud Stadium. Randi Patterson struck Charleston's winner in the first half.
There were three matches on Saturday, with USL-1 newcomers Cleveland and Austin Aztex playing out a 2-2 draw at Middlefield Cheese Stadium on Ohio. Striker Ricardo Pierre-Louis earned a point late on for the City Stars. In North Carolina, Puerto Rico returned to the summit of USL-1 after coming from a goal down to defeat to hosts Carolina RailHawks 2-1. Jonny Steele and Petter Villegas had the goals for the Islanders. In Minnesota, meanwhile, the Thunder's woes continued, as they suffered a fourth home defeat of the season following a 2-1 reverse versus Rochester Rhinos. Andrew Gregor and Mike Ambersley had the goals for the Upstate New York club.
The lone match on Sunday saw Portland Timbers thrash Montreal 4-0 at PGE Park. Mandjou Keita led the way with two goals, as Gavin Wilkinson's side delighted their passionate home support with this latest result over the Impact.