USL First Division Weekend Round-Up
Charleston Battery went four points clear at the top of the United Soccer Leagues First Division standings after claiming their seventh home win of the season.
Mike Anhaeuser's side took their unbeaten league run to three games with a result over defending USL-1 champions Seattle Sounders on Saturday, while second-place Vancouver Whitecaps lost ground on the South Carolina club after falling to defeat in Rochester. Puerto Rico Islanders, meanwhile, started a six-game road trip with a split of results in Miami and Montreal over the weekend.
Action began last Thursday with two games, as Atlanta Silverbacks held on for a 3-2 home win over Minnesota Thunder. Two goals from Macoumba Kandji and a fantastic strike by former Whitecaps forward Jason McLaughlin paced Jason Smith's side to all three points in Georgia. Carolina RailHawks, meanwhile, needed a late strike by David Stokes to claim a creditable 2-2 home draw with Seattle.
The lone game on Friday saw Miami FC Blues score an early penalty through Brazilian hit-man Alex Afonso to claim a 1-0 home win over Puerto Rico, despite inclement weather delaying the kick-off for just over an hour at Tropical Park Stadium.
There were two games on Saturday, with Charleston claiming a well-struck winner from Lazo Alavanja for a 1-0 home win over Seattle. The Battery's lead in USL-1 went to four points, as the Whitecaps were humbled by the Rhinos for a second time this season. Despite Nicholas Addlery's goal being the fastest strike in modern-day Whitecaps history (10 seconds), two goals by former Vancouver playmaker Ze Roberto and a second-half winner from Johnny Menyongar ensured all three points for the USL-1 bottom club.
The final game of the weekend came on Sunday in Montreal, with Puerto Rico bouncing back from defeat in Miami to claim an unlikely 1-0 win over the Impact at Saputo Stadium. Another former Whitecaps man in striker Josh Hansen scored the winner with a fine near-post header from Taiwo Atieno's well-played cross into the Montreal box. Despite out-shooting Puerto Rico 18 to four during the match, the Impact failed capitalize on their numerous opportunities.