5:33 am - Saturday March 25, 2017

USL Week 26: Western Conference Still Up For Grabs‏

One week remains in the 2015 USL Regular Season, and the playoff picture in the Western Conference remains up in the air, with five teams within four points of first place after OKC Energy FC and Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC played to a thrilling 3-3 draw on Saturday night.

In the Eastern Conference, meanwhile, two more teams booked their place in the playoffs. 2012 champion the Charleston Battery will return to the postseason for a fifth consecutive season, and be joined by the New York Red Bulls II, who mark their debut season with a playoff berth.

FEATURED GAMES

September 12, 2015: The OKC Energy FC plays the Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC in a USL game at Taft Stadium in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

September 12, 2015: The OKC Energy FC plays the Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC in a USL game at Taft Stadium in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Charleston Battery 2, Louisville City FC 0
The Battery got a pair of second-half goals to book their place in the Eastern Conference Playoffs at MUSC Health Stadium on Saturday night as goals by Justin Portillo and Dane Kelly earned a victory against Louisville. Portillo struck first just past the hour-mark as his free kick from 20 yards deflected off the top of the wall and left Louisville goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh stranded, and Kelly left no doubt with a fine header from a ball by Jarad van Schaik for his 10th goal of the season. Kelly has now recorded double-digit goals in his past three USL seasons, and put Charleston in position to claim third in the East with a victory in its final game of the regular season.

Harrisburg City Islanders 1, Richmond Kickers 1
A stoppage-time goal by George Davis IV earned the Kickers a point against the City Islanders on Saturday night at Skyline Sports Complex, but the result still left Richmond in a vulnerable position in the sixth and final playoff place in the Eastern Conference. Harrisburg took the lead on a clever back-heel flick by Brett Jankouskas in the 62nd minute, and appeared set to jump past Richmond with a victory, but Davis’ late header denied Harrisburg the win. The result, combined with Pittsburgh’s 1-1 draw with Wilmington, did make a difference for another side the playoff race, however, as the New York Red Bulls II clinched a postseason berth despite being idle over the weekend.

OKC Energy FC 3, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC 3
The Switchbacks grabbed a point in stoppage time as Chandler Hoffman scored from the penalty spot to deny Energy FC the chance to jump past them to the top of the Western Conference standings in front of a club-record crowd of 6,847 at Taft Stadium in Oklahoma City. Energy FC twice took the lead, going up 2-0 after 15 minutes on goals by Danni Konig and Casey Townsend, but the Switchbacks rallied back behind finishes from Charles Eloundou and Hoffman to level the score. OKC regained the lead with 11 minutes to go on a fine finish by Sebastian Dalgaard from 30 yards, but Hoffman’s second of the game after Saeed Robinson was fouled in the penalty area kept the Switchbacks two points ahead of OKC with one game remaining.

Sacramento Republic FC 3, Portland Timbers 2 0
Justin Braun had a pair of goals as Sacramento continued its surge up the standings in front of 5,892 fans at Providence Park. Republic FC took the lead in the 13th minute as Rodrigo Lopez notched his 10th goal of the season, and Braun then added two goals in two minutes just past the half-hour mark to make it 3-0. Portland tried to fight back in the second half, but Republic FC goalkeeper Dominik Jakubek recorded a pair of saves to earn the shutout as Sacramento moved into third place in the conference standings, and set up a massive contest with second-placed Orange County Blues FC on Wednesday night.

QUOTABLE
“We got the job done, we did exactly what we had to and you have to commend the guys for that. They are a good team. We were able to take control and were unlucky to not add another goal.” – Charleston Battery Coach Mike Anhaeuser after his side’s 2-0 win against Louisville City FC on Saturday

“We’re still in it. If we win the next two games, we’re still in, so we didn’t hurt ourselves, but we didn’t help ourselves, either.” – Harrisburg City Islanders midfielder Jason Plumhoff after his side’s 1-1 draw with Richmond on Saturday

“We’ve just got to play the way we play. If we would have won tonight, we would have been safe, but the result doesn’t change. We still need one win. It’s all possible.” – Seattle Sounders FC 2 midfielder Aaron Long, whose side needs a point on Thursday against Austin to earn a place in the playoffs

“I feel good about the effort our guys put forth against a playoff-level team. It gives me a good sense of where we’re headed next season.” – Saint Louis FC Coach Dale Schilly after his side defeated Charlotte 2-0 in front of a club-record attendance of 5,661 on Saturday

“The Timbers Army has been fantastic. They stayed with us all the way to the end. They still applauded the efforts of the guys at the end of the match. It’s so much for the support that this organization has. It was fantastic. One of the things we said going into the game to our guys was this has been the ambition of everybody, to be in a first team locker room and play in a stadium like this and this is your chance. Can you earn it? Can you earn that right to do it again?” – Portland Timbers 2 Coach Jay Vidovich on the atmosphere at Providence Park, where 5,892 fans were in attendance for T2’s final home game of the season

BY THE NUMBERS
100 – Wilmington Hammerheads FC teammates Troy Cole and Tom Parratt each made their 100th regular-season appearance in the USL on Saturday against Pittsburgh.

41 – Dane Kelly’s goal for the Charleston Battery was his 41st in the USL regular-season all time, moving him into a tie for first place with Richmond’s Matthew Delicâte.

11 – Tulsa Roughnecks FC will have been idle for 11 days when their playoff fate is determined by Thursday night’s contest between Seattle Sounders FC 2 and the Austin Aztex.

10 – Colorado Springs has been awarded 10 penalty kicks this season, the most in the USL, and has converted every one.

6 – Sacramento’s Rodrigo Lopez scored his sixth game-winning goal of the season against Portland, putting him tied for second in the USL, one back of OKC Energy FC’s Danni König.

5 – Louisville City FC was limited to five shots in its loss to the Charleston Battery on Saturday, reducing its average shots per game this season to 13.74.

4 – Four points separate the top five teams in the USL’s Western Conference, with all five still having a chance at a top-two position in the standings on Sunday morning.

4 – Four points also separate the four teams battling for the final two positions in the USL Eastern Conference Playoffs.

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Team GP W L T GF GA Pts
Rochester Rhinos – c 25 15 1 9 34 12 54
Louisville City FC – p 27 14 7 6 54 32 48
Charleston Battery – p 27 11 6 10 40 27 43
New York Red Bulls II – p 27 12 9 6 44 42 42
Charlotte Independence 27 10 7 10 37 32 40
Richmond Kickers 27 9 7 11 39 34 38
Pittsburgh Riverhounds 26 10 9 7 50 40 37
Harrisburg City Islanders 26 10 10 6 43 51 36
Saint Louis FC – x 27 7 11 9 28 39 30
FC Montreal – x 27 8 15 4 32 41 28
Toronto FC II – x 25 6 15 4 23 46 22
Wilmington Hammerheads FC – x 27 3 15 9 20 40 18

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Team GP W L T GF GA Pts
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC – p 27 14 9 4 53 34 46
Orange County Blues FC – p 27 14 9 4 38 34 46
Sacramento Republic FC – p 26 13 8 5 43 31 44
OKC Energy FC – p 27 12 7 8 43 36 44
LA Galaxy II – p 26 13 10 3 38 30 42
Tulsa Roughnecks FC 28 11 11 6 49 46 39
Seattle Sounders FC 2 27 12 12 3 42 40 39
Portland Timbers 2 – x 27 10 15 2 37 45 32
Arizona United SC – x 26 10 15 1 31 54 31
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 – x 27 8 13 6 37 50 30
Austin Aztex – x 26 9 14 3 27 36 30
Real Monarchs SLC – x 28 7 13 8 32 42 29

c – Won Regular Season Championship
p – Qualified for playoffs
x – Eliminated from postseason contention

RESULTS
Wednesday, September 9
Charlotte Independence 4, Toronto FC II 1
FC Montreal 2, New York Red Bulls II 0
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC 3, Austin Aztex 0

Friday, September 11
Orange County Blues FC 1, Seattle Sounders FC 2 0

Saturday, September 12
Real Monarchs SLC 1, Arizona United SC 0
Wilmington Hammerheads FC 1, Pittsburgh Riverhounds 1
Harrisburg City Islanders 1, Richmond Kickers 1
Rochester Rhinos vs. Toronto FC II, ppd.
Charleston Battery 2, Louisville City FC 0
OKC Energy FC 3, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC 3
Saint Louis FC 2, Charlotte Independence 0
Sacramento Republic FC 3, Portland Timbers 2 0

Sunday, September 13
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 1, Orange County Blues FC 1

SCHEDULE
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
FC Montreal vs. Harrisburg City Islanders, 4 p.m. ET
Richmond Kickers vs. Toronto FC II, 7 p.m. ET
Pittsburgh Riverhounds vs. Rochester Rhinos, 7 p.m. ET
LA Galaxy II vs. Portland Timbers 2, 10:30 p.m. ET
Arizona United SC vs. Portland Timbers 2, 10:30 p.m. ET
Orange County Blues FC vs. Sacramento Republic FC, 10:30 p.m. ET

Thursday, September 17
Seattle Sounders FC 2 vs. Austin Aztex, 10:30 p.m. ET

Saturday, September 19
Wilmington Hammerheads FC vs. Toronto FC II, 7 p.m. ET
Harrisburg City Islanders vs. Pittsburgh Riverhounds, 7 p.m. ET
Rochester Rhinos vs. New York Red Bulls II, 7:05 p.m. ET
Charleston Battery vs. Charlotte Independence, 7:30 p.m. ET
Saint Louis FC vs. Louisville City FC, 8:30 p.m. ET
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC vs. LA Galaxy II, 9 p.m. ET
Sacramento Republic FC vs. Arizona, 10:30 p.m. ET

Sunday, September 20
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 vs. Austin Aztex, 6 p.m. ET

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