Sunday, April 3, 2011

USL Pro: Week 1 Observations

Well we have finished the first round of games for this brand new, USL Pro season. Yesterday we saw the Richmond Kickers take on Orlando City SC, and River Plate Puerto Rico play Sevilla FC Puerto Rico.

In the first game of the day, Richmond defeated Orlando City 2-0 in front of 1,650 spectators at City Stadium. The first goal came when Ryan Heins earned a penalty in the 39th minute. Stanley Nyazamba stepped up for Richmond and slotted it home. This would give Richmond a 1-0 lead at the half.

Richmond would dominate the chances in the second half, and the Kickers added to their tally in the 83rd minute, when Matt Delicate scored off a cross Sascha Görres. Richmond would walk off the pitch with their first win of the young season.

At 8:00 PM EST, River Plate hosted Sevilla FC in the first International game of the season, and this game proved to be the more exciting of the two. Sevilla opened the scoring in the 33rd minute, when Ryan Massoud connected with a cross from Erik Hort, which would send Sevilla in to the locker rooms with a half-time lead.

River Plate came out of the half swinging, and scored on a give-and-go between Peter Villegas and Matias Arce, with Villegas finishing to the left for an equalizer. Sevilla would take the lead in the 71st minute, when Nick Cardenas connected on another corner from Erik Hort.

The lead wouldn't last long, as Yaikel Perez headed in a cross from Julio Maya to tie the game at 2-2.

This would be the final score, as both teams would earn their first points of the season.

Here are some of my observations from this pair of games:
  • Richmond Leading the League: Well technically anyway. The Kickers came out and put it on Orlando City, and really just dominated the game. Richmond had 15 shots to Orlando's 5, and had 6 corners, to Orlando's 1. It really was a dominating performance by Richmond. Now we'll see how this game effects the standings at the end of the year, but head-to-head, it looks like Richmond's the better team.
  • International Division Could be a Close Race: Now that's a lot to take away from a 2-2 draw, but the sides looked to be even on the day. If you read my preview of the International Division, you'll see that I had Sevilla finishing 3rd and River Plate finishing in 1st. We'll see how Barracuda FC play, but we could see a very tight race in the International Division.
  • USL Live Successful Debut: The River Plate-Sevilla FC game was the first game to be broadcast live on I'm happy to see this being successful, and hopefully we can see this carried on to the seasons ahead.
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