By Simon Fudge/whitecapsfc.com
Carolina RailHawks and Rochester Rhinos share the lead in the United Soccer Leagues First Division after claiming victories over the weekend.
The RailHawks were triumphant in South Florida, while the Rhinos had a positive end to their two-match Pacific Northwest road trip in Vancouver. Cleveland City Stars claimed their first-ever win as USL-1 club in Minnesota, while Montreal Impact finally got in the win column following turbulent week for the Quebec-based club.
The action started in dramatic fashion on Thursday night, as Rochester started their road trip in Oregon versus Portland Timbers at PGE Park. Though Darren Kenton canceled out Brian Farber's first-half goal for the home side, the Rhinos fell to a 2-1 defeat in time added on when Ryan Pore converted a penalty to give the Timbers their second win of the season.
Friday saw Montreal begin the post-John Limniatis era when they hosted Charleston Battery at Stade Saputo. The former Canadian international was fired by the Impact on Thursday following a poor start to the season, which culminated in last Wednesday's 1-0 defeat at Major League Soccer club Toronto FC in their opening match of the 2009 Nutrilite Canadian Championship. Impact fans were left frustrated again, as interim head coach Marc Dos Santos' first match in charge ended in a goalless draw.
There were three matches on Saturday, with Carolina returning to winning ways with a 2-0 win at Miami FC Blues. Luke Kreamalmeyer had both goals for the high-flying RailHawks. Meanwhile in Minnesota, the Thunder's woes continue, as they fell 1-0 to Cleveland at the National Sports Center Stadium. Josh Boateng's second-half strike earned the Ohio club's first-ever victory in USL-1. In Vancouver, the Rhinos got back to winning ways after a 2-1 victory over the Whitecaps at Swangard Stadium. Despite being out-shot 23 to four by the home side, first-half goals by Chris Nurse and Johnny Menyongar took the Upstate New York club to their fourth road win of the season.
The lone match on Sunday saw Montreal register their first league win of 2009 after thrashing USL-1 expansion club Austin Aztex 4-0 at Stade Saputo. Three goals in 11 second-half minutes from Roberto Brown, and former Whitecaps players Joey Gjertsen and Tony Donatelli led the Impact to their first three-point haul of the year. Simon Gatti struck the fourth goal for Montreal, as Dos Santos claimed his first win in charge of the Impact.