USL First Division Weekend Round-Up


By Simon Fudge/whitecapsfc.com

Charleston Battery are two points clear at the top of United Soccer Leagues First Division standings after the latest weekend of league action.

The South Carolina outfit made the most of their latest home match to move back to the summit of USL-1, as Portland Timbers dropped out of first place following their weekend match in Minnesota. Vancouver Whitecaps moved back into the playoff places after claiming a productive set of away results in the Great Lakes region of North America.

The action began on Thursday night, with Charleston taking their unbeaten run to four matches after a 1-0 win over the struggling Austin Aztex at Blackbaud Stadium. In a match that was delayed for half an hour because of thunder and lightning in the area, Scott Buete struck the Battery's winner shortly after halftime to give Mike Anhaeuser's side all three points.

Friday saw the Whitecaps earn their second away win of the season after an important 3-1 victory over Rochester Rhinos at Marina Auto Stadium. Marlon James became the USL-1 joint goalscoring leader after striking twice in Upstate New York.

There were four matches on Saturday, with the Whitecaps having to settle for a goalless draw with the struggling Cleveland City Stars in Bedford, Ohio. In North Carolina, goals by Joseph Kabwe, Sallieu Bundu, and Andriy Budnyy gave Carolina RailHawks a convincing 3-0 home win over Austin. The win took Martin Rennie's side into a tie for second place with Portland, who had to settle for a 1-1 away draw with struggling Minnesota Thunder. A very late Ricardo Sanchez penalty cancelled out Ryan Pore's opening goal for the Timbers at the National Sports Center Stadium. There was also a last-minute equalizer in South Florida, as Miami FC Blues earned an important 1-1 home draw with Montreal Impact. Former Whitecaps striker Alen Marcina struck the leveler for Miami after Mauro Biello had given Montreal a halftime lead at Florida International University Stadium.