The first week of the season proved to be an exciting one in the Eastern Conference. Here is how the first matchday went down.
|FC Montreal||0-1||Bethlehem Steel FC|
|New York Red Bulls II||2-2||Toronto FC II|
|Richmond Kickers||3-1||Harrisburg City Islanders|
|Charlotte Independence||0-1||Louisville City|
|Orlando City B||1-2||Wilmington Hammerheads FC|
|Charleston Battery||1-0||FC Cincinnati|
Mixed Results from the Expansion Clubs
With as much interest as was generated by the new clubs in the off-season, there was a mixed bag of results for those in the East. A team called Bethlehem Steel FC took the field for the first time since 1930 - an 86-year hiatus - and took a 1-0 victory over FC Montreal. At the other end of the spectrum, FC Cincinnati and Orlando City B both suffered weather delays and season-opening losses. FCC, a club that has been the center of much attention in the East, could not get the job done against Charleston, losing 1-0. Orlando City is back in the USL with their "B" team now, but the club's first match ended in a 2-1 loss to Wilmington on a rainy night in Melbourne.
Stoppage Time Goals!
Two matches this week featured goals in the last minute of second-half stoppage time. Louisville City stunned Charlotte on the road with a goal in the 93rd minute to win 1-0. Elsewhere in the Carolinas, Charleston's aforementioned 1-0 defeat of FC Cincinnati was sealed with a goal just 15 seconds from the final whistle.
Comeback in New York
After a slow first-half start and 0-2 deficit for the New York Red Bulls II, RB Homegrown Brandon Allen scored two goals in three minutes to come back and draw Toronto FC II. A point apiece for these squads at a sparsely populated Red Bull Arena spelled relief for New York, and disappointment for Toronto.
|Wilmington Hammerheads FC||1||3|
|Bethlehem Steel FC||1||3|
|Louisville City FC||1||3|
|New York Red Bulls II||1||1|
|Toronto FC II||1||1|
|Orlando City B||1||0|
|Harrisburg City Islanders||1||0|
Pittsburgh and Rochester were not in action this weekend, and obviously it's too early in the season for drawing any responsible conclusions. That being said, after a disastrous 2015 campaign, Wilmington has to like its chances for improvement this season, as a hard-fought win on the road sees the club at maximum points and sharing the top of the table with three of 2015's playoff teams.
What stood out to you in this opening weekend? What stories did we miss? Let us know in the comments below!