After the past weekend of the inaugural USL League One season, everyone has now seen action. Here are five things we’ve learned from the games in the past week.
TRIUMPHANT NIGHT: As you might have gauged from the opening week of Power Rankings, the side that looked like it had the best chance to rebound in Week 2 was Greenville Triumph SC. That proved to be the case as Head Coach John Harkes’s side rallied to take a 2-1 victory against Lansing Ignite in front of a sellout crowd at Legacy Early College of 4,014 fans, who got a game full of incident with three red cards as well as the three goals. When it came to the hosts getting a result, though, Triumph SC’s experience came through with Jake Keegan notching the first goal in club history and former New York Red Bull Kevin Politz the winner with five minutes to go as nine-man Lansing was unable to hold out for a point.
ONE MAN WOLFPACK: Chattanooga Red Wolves SC also got a warm reception in its inaugural home opener with a crowd of 3,527 fans on hand at David Stanton Field, for whom Eamon Zayed proved the man of the hour. The Red Wolves only put one shot on target in the contest, but it proved to be the winner as Zayed produced a clinical finish from just inside the penalty area to give Chattanooga its first victory. The hosts will know they need to be sharper in front of goal than they were on Saturday night, but in Zayed they have the goalscorer they thought they were getting that can produce when the side really needs it.
FORWARD, MADISON: In a similar vein to Greenville in its opening game in Week 1, there was a lot to feel positive about in Forward Madison FC’s debut performance as it took the game to its hosts but couldn’t find a way past Alex Mangels in the Red Wolves’ goal. That should bode well for the Flamingos moving into their second game of the season this Saturday night against North Texas SC, which will bring its own attacking weapon in Ricardo Pepi, and you can certainly admire the sense of humor the club brought in defeat.
LEADER OF THE PACK: South Georgia Tormenta FC has admittedly played more games than anyone, but with seven points from three outings it has also set itself out as the early team to beat in League One. The visitors against the Richmond Kickers this past Saturday, Tormenta FC might have grabbed all three points as Charlie Dennis’ free kick just before halftime was just tipped onto the crossbar by Richmond goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald. As we noted on Friday, there does not appear to have been a big adaption to the professional ranks for South Georgia as they head to Orlando on Sunday.
FINISHING WITH FLAIR: Life in the Championship was pretty rough for Toronto FC II, but after taking a 2-0 victory against Orlando City B on Friday night there should be some room for optimism that this year could be different. It certainly makes a change from the timing of TFC II’s first win a season ago, which didn’t arrive until July 28. Instead against OCB the visitors got a pair of sumptuous finishes from Luca Petrasso and Jordan Perruzza as the hosts finished down to 10 men for a second consecutive week.