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ICS USL Recap, Week 21

Goals galore, new table leaders in each conference, read up on another exciting week of the USL!

Indomitable City Soccer/Alex Leguizamo

After a full slate of matches, here is everything that went down from the Week 21.

East Scores

FC Montreal 4-1 Pittsburgh Riverhounds
Louisville City FC 1-1 Harrisburg City Islanders
New York Red Bulls II 5-1 Orlando City B
Charlotte Independence 1-0 Wilmington Hammerheads FC
Pittsburgh Riverhounds 2-1 Bethlehem Steel FC
Richmond Kickers 1-1 FC Cincinnati
Charleston Battery 1-3 FC Montreal
Louisville City FC 1-1 Rochester Rhinos
Toronto FC II 0-1 Harrisburg City Islanders

West Scores

Home Away
Real Monarchs SLC 0-0 Colorado Springs
Whitecaps 2 0-1 Orange County Blues FC
Colorado Springs 1-0 Tulsa Roughnecks FC
RGVFC Toros 6-0 Sounders 2
Saint Louis FC 3-4 Sacramento Republic FC
OKC Energy FC 0-0 LA Galaxy II
Real Monarchs SLC 1-0 Swope Park Rangers
Arizona United SC 1-0 San Antonio FC
Timbers 2 2-1 Orange County Blues FC

Five Stories

RGVFC Put on Offensive Clinic

Rio Grande Valley FC extended their shutout streak to six straight matches after a 6-0 victory against Sounders 2 on Saturday. Emilio Garcia recorded a brace in the dying moments of the first half, but the floodgates really opened in the second half, when RGVFC scored four goals. The Toros currently sit in the middle of the Western Conference playoff race and are within striking distance of the top four. Sounders 2 are only three points behind the final playoff spot and will look to regroup against San Antonio FC on Saturday.

High-Scoring Republic

In their highest scoring match of the season, Sacramento Republic held off a late surging Saint Louis FC for a 4-3 win. Goals were in abundance as Republic scored three times in the first 20 minutes. Matt LaGrassa and Tommy Thompson each posted two assists on the evening. Cameron Iwasa found the back of the net twice, adding to his team-leading goal tally. The win boosted Republic into second in the Western Conference table. Saint Louis FC dropped out of a playoff spot with the loss and now find themselves in tenth.

FC Montreal Post Successive Wins

After struggling for most of the year, FC Montreal has started a hot streak and have won two consecutive matches. They opened the week by defeating fellow cellar dweller, Pittsburgh Riverhounds, 4-1. They continued to show their offensive prowess with a 3-1 road win over Charleston Battery on Saturday. Interestingly, FC Montreal scored more goals in these two matches than they did through their first ten games this season. Anthony Jackson-Hamel and Jean Ballo Tabla were stand-out stars for the Quebec club, both recording a goal in each match. Do not be surprised if FC Montreal go on a run towards the season's end.

NYRBII Win Big, Again

After ending July on a sour note, New York Red Bulls II made sure to start August on the right foot. After their big victory 5-0 over Harrisburg last week, the Baby Bulls scored five goals once again during their rout of Orlando City B, on Friday night. Over the past two matches, NYRBII have outscored opponents 10-1 and have found the back of the net in seven consecutive matches. The recent success has pushed the Baby Bulls to tie at the top of East.

Another developing story to follow for the rest of the season will be the trials of Video Assistant Referees, or VAR, who made their debut during the NYRBII v Orlando City B match. VARs will work closely with on-field officials for video reviews and VAR testing trials will be conducted in each of the Baby Bulls' five final home matches this season.

Points Shared in Richmond

A clash between top clubs in the East ended with the points being shared as Richmond played to a 1-1 draw with FC Cincinnati. The Kickers opened the scoring with a Sunny Jane goal in the 63rd minute. FC Cincinnati's Andrew Weideman found the back of the net off a free kick in the 80th minute to tie the match. While the draw brought an end to Richmond's six match winning streak, the Kickers remain unbeaten through seven and have only two losses in their last ten. FC Cincinnati added to their recent good form by extending their own unbeaten streak to four, and have now scored a goal in each of the last eight matches.

East Standings

New York Red Bulls II 22 47
Louisville City FC 24 47
FC Cincinnati 22 42
Richmond Kickers 23 39
Charleston Battery 22 37
Charlotte Independence 22 36
Rochester Rhinos 23 36
Orlando City B 22 31
Bethlehem Steel FC 23 26
Harrisburg City Islanders 25 25
Wilmington Hammerheads FC 22 24
Toronto FC II 25 23
Pittsburgh Riverhounds 22 16
FC Montreal 23 13

The plot thickens at the top as Louisville, after weeks of being in sole possession of the table lead, now sit even with New York Red Bulls II at 47 points each. Seeing as Louisville and NYRBII hold a five point advantage over third place FC Cincinnati, this Friday's match between the two teams could decide the fate of Eastern Conference leader.

West Standings

Club GP Pts
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC 23 37
Sacramento Republic FC 23 37
Whitecaps 2 23 37
LA Galaxy II 22 36
OKC Energy FC 21 34
Rio Grande Valley FC 22 33
Orange County Blues FC 24 31
Arizona United SC 22 30
Swope Park Rangers 22 29
Saint Louis FC 23 28
Seattle Sounders 2 23 27
Real Monarchs SLC 23 26
Portland Timbers 2 22 25
San Antonio FC 21 25
Tulsa Roughnecks FC 22 18

The week ends with a three-way tie at the top of the table, with Switchbacks, Republic, and Whitecaps 2 each with 37 points. Los Dos stay close to the top, sitting only a point behind the top three. The race for the final playoff spots remains very tight, with spots seven through ten only separated by four points.

What are your thoughts on the recent week of USL action? Are there any stories we missed? Let us know in the comments below!