After a brief hiatus, the Wednesday Whip Around is back!
Week 8 brought us a slew of interesting games including some high scoring affairs out West and top of the table clashes in the East. Let's dive right in!
Madness in New Mexico: New Mexico United 3 - 3 Portland Timbers 2
Friday night, top of the table Portland Timbers 2 traveled to number 3 New Mexico United in a game that started out slow but finished with a bang.
The first half was a bit sloppy without much action taking place, a stereotypical game between two top sides trying to figure each other out. The second half, however, did not disappoint. New Mexico forward Kevaughn Frater kicked off the scoring in the 50th minute with a left footed finish in the top corner and followed it up by scoring a penalty in the 54th. The game looked to be all New Mexico until T2 scored two quick goals in the 66th and 68th minute. Eryk Williamson had a beautiful floated header for the first and Ryan Sierakowski followed it up with a finish outside the box. Things continued to get worse for New Mexico when they gave up a third in the 77th after giving up a penalty. A victory looked all but certain for T2 until the 3rd minute of stoppage time. Christopher Wehan picked the ball up on the right hand side and played a lofted cross into the box. Sam Hamilton tried to put the ball away but has his shot blocked by the Portland defender and it pops out to Frater who calmly slots the ball home securing the late draw and completing his hattrick. A dramatic end to what was a lackluster start.
First Home Win: Birmingham Legion 1 - 0 Loudoun United
In a battle between expansion teams, Birmingham Legion were able to secure their third win of the season and first home win with a 1 - 0 victory over Loudoun United.
Birmingham started the game off strong and failed to convert their first chance early in the first half. Chandler Hoffman blazed his shot over the bar after Daniel Johnson played a fantastic ball into the middle to the forward. The Legion followed that up later in 28th minute when a Daigo Kobayashi free kick flew just wide.
The second half continued with Birmingham continuing to create chances but failing to convert. Loudoun keeper Earl Edwards Jr tipped a Daniel Johnson shot just around the post in the 52nd. He came up big again in the 92nd minute when he saved a blast from Femi Hollinger-Janzen. With 16 shots, 5 of those on target, Birmingham looked set for a frustrating 0 - 0 draw. Things changed with the 17th shot.
In the dying seconds of extra time, Prosper Kasim picked up a lose ball in the box and put a low shot into the right hand corner, just past the diving Edwards. The crowd went wild as Kasim wheeled away, ripping his shirt off as he headed to celebrate with the supporters. The three points put Birmingham in 10th place, just one point behind Nashville SC.
Rival Watch: New York Redbulls II 2 - 1 Indy Eleven
We are going to wrap up this week with a look at Eastern Conference Rival Indy Eleven.
On Sunday, Indy traveled up to New York to take on New York Red Bulls in what proved to be an exciting game, even without the late game action in the other two matches. While possession was fairly even (NYRB II 53% - 47% Indy), they out shot Indy 28 -5.
Indy Eleven forward Dane Kelly opened the scoring in the 13th minute when Macauley King played a cross field ball for Kelly to run on to. Kelly picked up the cross, nutmegged Jordan Scarlett, and curled his shot far post. From then on, New York had all of the chances.
New York was able to finally get their first when Jared Stroud converted a penalty after Vincent Bezecourt was brought down by King. Bezecourt continued to cause Indy problems and in the 69th minute, played in an on-rushing Tom Barlow, who buried in the game winning goal.
The win for New York keeps them tied for second with Tampa, having played one less game.