Pair of goals led Eagles past Orlando, boosted playoff prospects
TAMPA, FL August 26, 2014 – USL PRO named its Team of the Week for Week 23 of the 2014 season on Tuesday as Charlotte Eagles forward Wells Thompson was named Player of the Week. Thompson scored both goals in the Eagles’ 2-0 victory against Orlando City SC on Thursday night, which provided a major boost to the 2013 USL PRO Championship Finalist’s playoff prospects.
Thompson scored twice in the final 15 minutes against the Lions to earn the Eagles a crucial three points. The first came in the 77th minute as he picked up a pass from Zak Boggs and fired home into the far corner from the right side of the penalty area. Thompson then put the game away for Charlotte in stoppage time as he stole possession in midfield, drove forward into the right side of the penalty area and roofed a near-post shot. The victory allowed the Eagles to sit in a tie for the eighth and final playoff place at the end of the week’s action.
Thompson was joined in the Team of the Week attack by Wilmington’s Sunny Jane, who had three goals and an assist as the Hammerheads took four points from two games against Orange County Blues FC and the LA Galaxy II on their west coast trip. Harrisburg’s Clesio Bauque was also selected after his two goals earned a 10-man City Islanders squad a point on the road against Rochester.
Orlando had a pair of players selected as the Lions moved six points clear at the top of the USL PRO standings after a thrilling 3-2 victory against the Richmond Kickers. Goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo played a key role with a six-save performance, while new addition Estrela had a standout debut that included his first goal for the club.
Pittsburgh also had a pair of players named as defender Matt Dallman and midfielder Rob Vincent each earned selection after a 3-1 win against the FC Dallas Reserves. Dallman had a pair of assists, while Vincent had a strong game in the center of midfield that was highlighted by a fierce shot from 20 yards that found the top-left corner to open the scoring.
Arizona’s Scott Morrison joined Dallman in the Team of the Week defense after his goal lifted United to a 1-0 win against OKC Energy FC on Friday night, while Sacramento’s Emrah Klimenta was named as he put in a strong defensive performance that was capped by a goal in Republic FC’s 2-0 win against Wilmington last Wednesday. Charleston’s Shawn Ferguson rounded out the defensive quartet after an excellent performance that limited OKC to five shots in a 2-0 win, while LA Galaxy II midfielder Rafael Garcia completed the side as his stoppage-time free kick earned Los Dos a 3-3 draw with Wilmington.
The USL PRO season continues on Wednesday night as the LA Galaxy II look to clinch a home quarterfinal in the USL PRO Playoffs with victory against the Real Salt Lake Reserves, and Sacramento Republic FC aims to remain undefeated at Bonney Field as the Charleston Battery visit for the first meeting between the two teams.
Key games in the race for the playoffs highlight the weekend’s schedule, with the Charlotte Eagles set to host the Pittsburgh Riverhounds on Friday night, and the Rochester Rhinos visit the Harrisburg City Islanders on Saturday.
Every game of the 2014 USL PRO season can be seen live on YouTube, with live updates also available via Twitter (@USLPRO), Facebook and Google+. Stay up to date with news, previews and match reports from throughout the league via USLPROSoccer.com.
Honorable Mention – Arizona: Joey Dillon, Sam Garza; Charleston: Amadou Sanyang, Colin Falvey; Charlotte: Zak Boggs, Ben Newnam; Dayton: Taylor Bowlin, Christian Camacho; Harrisburg: David Flynn, Yann Ekra; LA Galaxy II: Chandler Hoffman, Jose Villarreal; Oklahoma City: Samir Badr; Orange County: Christopher Santana; Orlando City: Kevin Molino, Rafael Ramos; Pittsburgh: Kevin Kerr, Jason Johnson; Richmond: George Davis IV, Samuel Asante; Rochester: Tony Walls, J.C. Banks; Sacramento: Tommy Stewart, Dominik Jakubek; Wilmington: Mark-Anthony Kaye, Cody Arnoux.
USL PRO is the strongest U.S. men’s professional soccer league on and off the field below and in support of Major League Soccer (MLS). Focused on league stability and franchise performance longevity, USL PRO features 14 teams, including 2014 expansion teams in Los Angeles, Oklahoma City and Sacramento. Teams have already been announced for 2015 in Austin, Colorado Springs, Louisville, St. Louis and Tulsa, with more additions expected soon. Through aggressive and deliberate growth in adding teams fully capable of meeting USL and US Soccer standards, USL PRO is building a robust, national professional soccer league in a format that promotes the benefits of regional league play. In 2013 USL PRO began a groundbreaking, multi-year partnership with MLS that features individual team affiliations, inter-league play, and the opportunity for MLS clubs to field a second team in USL PRO. In addition to league play, USL PRO teams compete in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup as well as various domestic and international exhibitions. USL PRO is the longest-standing pro league affiliate member of US Soccer.