While MLS provided DP goals and bicycle kick highlights this weekend, USL PRO offered its own brand of excitement with semifinal showdowns for two MLS affiliate squads.
With a place in the league championship on the line, Orlando City posted a 3-2 victory over the Charleston Battery on Friday, while the Richmond Kickers were felled 2-1 by the surging Charlotte Eagles on Saturday.
Christian Duke was the only MLSer to appear for Sporting KC affiliate Orlando City, coming on to see out the final 10 minutes for the Lions after both sides were reduced to 10 men.
A day later in Richmond, the Kickers fell short of a spot in the final with just their second loss in USL PRO competition this season. Conor Shanosky, Andrew Dykstra (above) and Brian Ownby all started and went the distance for the Kickers, while Michael Seaton came off the bench.
The Charlotte Eagles will travel to the Florida Citrus Bowl to face Orlando City for the USL PRO championship on Saturday.
In the seconDdivision NASL, several MLS loanees made appearances as their teams jockeyed for positions in the standings.
Richard Sanchez posted yet another shutout for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers in their 1-0 win over the Carolina Railhawks. Sanchez has been on a tear since arriving from FC Dallas, earning NASL Player of the Week just one week ago. The win bumped the Strikers into second place.
The RailHawks made use of their three MLS players as LA Galaxy duo Byan Gaul and Kenney Walker both started and went the distance. RSL midfielder Enzo Martinez also logged 22 minutes off the bench.
Minnesota United made use of Montreal Impact midfielder Calum Mallace, who provided an assist in their dramatic 3-2 victory over slumping San Antonio.
Corey Hertzog started and played 84 minutes for FC Edmonton in their 1-1 draw with the New York Cosmos.
Orlando City SC 3, Charleston Battery 2 (Friday, Aug. 30)
M Christian Duke (Sporting Kansas City) - Substitute, played 10 minutes
Charlotte Eagles 2, Richmond Kickers 1 (Saturday, Aug. 31)
F Michael Seaton (D.C. United) - Substitute, played 19 minutes
M Conor Shanosky (D.C. United) - Started, played 90 minutes
GK Andrew Dykstra (D.C. United) - Started, played 90 minutes
F Brian Ownby (Houston Dynamo) - Started, played 90 minutes
Ft. Lauderdale 1, Carolina RailHawks 0 (Friday, Aug. 30)
GK Richard Sanchez, Ft. Lauderdale (FC Dallas) - Started, played 90 minutes
M Enzo Martinez, Carolina (Real Salt Lake) - Substitute, played 22 minutes
D Bryan Gaul, Carolina (LA Galaxy) - Started, played 90 minutes
M Kenney Walker, Carolina (LA Galaxy) - Started, played 90 minutes
Minnesota United FC 3, San Antonio Scorpions 2 (Saturday, Aug. 31)
M Calum Mallace (Montreal Impact) - Started, played 90 minutes, one assist
FC Edmonton 1, New York Cosmos 1 (Sunday, Sept. 1)
F Corey Hertzog (Vancouver Whitecaps) - Started, played 84 minutes