Monday, April 18, 2011

USL Pro: Week 3 Observations

After missing last week, I'm back for another edition of my weekly look at the results of the USL Pro's matches.

This weekend we had a huge slate of matches that started on Friday night with two matches, Rochester @ Richmond, and LA @ Sevilla FC.

Richmond defeated Rochester on Friday with another goal from Matthew Delicate. Delicate is making an early case for the USL Pro Player of the Year, as this is his 3rd goal in three games. The big surprise for Rochester would come on Sunday afternoon, but we'll get to that a little later.

The expansion LA Blues shocked the league when they went down to Sevilla FC and just demolished the hosts 3-0. This was a shock as many (including myself) had the Blues finishing in the lower half of the league.

On Saturday, the day was highlighted by torrential rains all across the east coast, postponing two games (Harrisburg @ Pittsburgh and Rochester @ Wilmington). Harrisburg and Pittsburgh are yet to reschedule this match, while Rochester and Wilmington would play on Sunday afternoon.

The two games that were played were Orlando City @ Charlotte and Charleston @ Dayton.

Orlando City traveled up to Charlotte to face the Eagles, who were playing their home opener. Orlando City showed that they are for real, and defeated Charlotte on a goal from Rob Valentino. Orlando City is making a strong case for a playoff spot.

Charleston headed up to Dayton, and defeated the Lions in their home opener 2-1. Here's a full recap.

On Sunday, we had the make up match between Wilmington and Rochester, as well as the Blues second game at Barracuda FC.

Wilmington gained their first points of the season in a 1-0 victory on a Luke Mulholland goal in the second half. This was the Rhinos second straight loss in 3 days.

The LA Blues gained their second win on Sunday night, on 2 set piece goals, against Antigua Barracuda FC. This was Barracuda FC's first game of the year, so it is no time for hitting the panic button.

Biggest Surprise: LA Blues winning their first 2 games
Los Angeles was looking at a brand new team, with brand new players, and in a brand new league. But they have taken the International Division over in their matches this week. Defeating two of the better Caribbean teams is no easy task. Especially when playing away for both matches.
Biggest Disappointment: Rochester Rhinos losing their first 2 games
Rochester was looking to win the National Division this year, but now their fans might have a little doubt. To lose their first two games without scoring a single goal is a cause for some concern. Now the first one wasn't a bad loss (Richmond looks to be one of the hottest teams in the league), but the loss to Wilmington isn't a good sign.
Player of the Week: Walter Gaitan-Los Angeles Blues
No questions here. Gaitan had 3 goals in his two matches with the Blues. His first goal came against Sevilla FC on Friday night in stoppage time, while his next two would come in their match with Antigua Barracuda FC. The first came off a free kick, while the second came from the penalty spot. LA needed to find someone who could consistently put the ball in the back of the net early this season, and I think they've found their man.

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