While there were fewer former Reds playing this past week, two of our alums made their marks by scoring match-winning goals for their sides. Read more below!
AKEEM WARD – NORTH CAROLINA FC (USL CHAMPIONSHIP)
Saturday, August 8th, 2020, will be a date that Akeem Ward will remember forever, as he scored his first-ever professional goal to give his team a 1-0 victory. It was a beautiful one-touch finish from the top of the area in the 38th minute, as he hit a right-footed curler around the diving goalkeeper and inside the far post. His performance, which included four interceptions, nine recoveries, two tackles, and two clearances, also earned him his first-ever USL Team of the Week appearance.
Ward and his NCFC teammates will host his former club, Birmingham Legion FC, this Saturday.
RICKY LOPEZ-ESPIN – FORT LAUDERDALE CF (USL LEAGUE ONE)
Not to be outdone by Ward’s phenomenal game, Lopez-Espin scored an early Goal of the Year candidate, lofting the goalkeeper from the midfield line. The goal gave Fort Lauderdale a 2-goal advantage and would end up standing as the winner after South Georgia Tormenta FC pulled one back in stoppage time. The victory was Fort Lauderdale’s first in club history. The striker played the entire match and completed 87% of his passes, had four shots – three on target, and even contributed in defense with one clearance and one blocked shot.
Lopez-Espin’s wonder-goal has gotten plenty of coverage from Yahoo Sports and NBC Sports to MLS Soccer, and of course won USL League One Goal of the Week!
HASSANI DOTSON - MINNESOTA UNITED FC (MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER)
Minnesota United FC’s cinderella run in the MLS is Back tournament came to a halt in the semifinals as they fell 3-1 to Orlando City SC. Dotson played the entire match at right back and had four shots, but none on target. With his team down 2-1 late in the match, he had a chance to grab an equalizer from a tight angle, but volleyed just over the near post. He then played in a beautiful cross in stoppage time that could have been a game-tying assist, but teammate Mason Toye didn’t connect squarely with his headed shot. Orlando would go on to score the final goal on a counter attack in the waning moments.
Dotson and MNUFC will return to regular league play next Friday, August 21, as they take on Sporting Kansas City and former Red Khiry Shelton.
WILL SEYMORE – SLIGO ROVERS (LEAGUE OF IRELAND PREMIER DIVISION)
Seymore and his Sligo Rovers teammates made it two in a row since the break by defeating Shelbourne 2-1 on Saturday. Rovers jumped into the lead 30 seconds in, tallied a second on 51 minutes, and held on for the victory, only conceding a stoppage time consolation goal. Seymore again started and played the 59 minutes in midfield. The win lifted them into 8th place and out of the relegation spot.
Sligo take on cellar-dwelling Cork City this Friday, while you can follow Will’s footballing path and read his thoughts on other players and happenings on his blog, See More Soccer.
JOHN GALAS & AJ VALENZUELA – FC TUCSON (USL LEAGUE ONE)
Our FC Tucson tandem was unable to complete a late comeback and fell 2-1 to Union Omaha last weekend in their home opener. While Galas’ squad enjoyed the majority of possession, they couldn’t manage to translate that to the scoreboard. After the visitors scored twice early in the second half, Tucson pulled one back in stoppage time through Erik Virgen, but ran out of time to grab an equalizer. Valenzuela was an unused substitute.
Galas and FC Tucson travel to Virginia this weekend to take on their former gaffer Darren Sawatzky, whose departure cleared the way for Galas’ promotion to head coach, and his Richmond Kickers.
NICK MOON – INDY ELEVEN (USL CHAMPIONSHIP)
For the first time since the restart, Moon was not included in the starting eleven, but did come on as a substitute in the 74th minute with the match knotted at one. Unfortunately, he was unable to help Indy grab a win, as things ended 1-1, but did do his part to ensure they left with a point.