The USL PRO semifinals took place on Saturday night, with a pair of thrilling games sending the Harrisburg City Islanders west to face the Sacramento Republic for next weekend's USL PRO Championship Game. You can find recaps of the actiong below.
Richmond Kickers 2, Harrisburg City Islanders 3
The No. 8 seed Harrisburg City Islanders have defied the odds and earned a spot in the USL PRO title game after a thrilling away win over the Richmond Kickers. Former Philadelphia Union midfielder Morgan Langley had a goal and an assist for the City Islanders.
After trading goals in a back-and-forth first half, Harrisburg – the Union's USL PRO affiliate – took a lead they would not relinquish just before halftime, with on-loan Union midfielder Jimmy McLaughlin playing a part in the buildup to Jamiel Hardware's goal. Two other Union loanees, Antoine Hoppenot and Richie Marquez, also featured for the City Islanders.
On the other side of the ball, on-loan D.C. United midfielder Conor Shanosky scored for the Kickers, United's affiliate, flicking home a consolation goal after Harrisburg had gone 3-1 up. The other United loanee to feature for Richmond in the game was midfielder Kyle Porter.
Sacramento Republic 3, LA Galaxy II 2
MLS hopefuls Sacramento are not just making waves off the field – they stormed back from a two-goal deficit thanks to a pair of penalty kicks before sealing a dramatic win on a stoppage-time free kick from former Chivas USA midfielder and hat-trick hero Rodrigo Lopez.
Galaxy II forward Charlie Rugg, LA's first round (No. 19 overall) pick in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft, staked his side to a 2-0 lead at the break. Rugg's first goal was a header off a cross from Dragan Stojkov, while the second came thanks to an assist from Galaxy Homegrown Player Bradford Jamieson IV on a long set-piece delivery downfield.
However, the Republic came back with a pair of goals from the penalty spot thanks to Lopez, including an 84th-minute strike after a handball in the box. Lopez saved the show-stopper for added time, bending home a free kick with his right foot to send the packed house at Bonney Field into delirium and clinch a berth in the title game in the Republic's first season of play.