Kelly hits USL hat-trick
NEW YORK (CMC):
Jamaican Dane Kelly netted a hat-trick to fire Charlotte Independence to their third win in four outings in the United Soccer League (USL) last weekend, headlining a productive round of matches for Caribbean marksmen.
Playing at Sportsplex at Matthews in North Carolina last Saturday, the 29-year-old Kelly banged in a brace in the first half before adding a third later on as the hosts thrashed neighbours North Carolina FC 3-1 to win their second on the bounce.
Charlotte are second in Group G on 18 points, four behind leaders Birmingham Legion FC and eight clear of third-place North Carolina.
Kelly, the USL’s all-time leading goal-scorer, put Charlotte ahead in the 10th minute when Liberian Joel Johnson broke down the right and squared a pass from the by-line for an easy tap in from close range.
The lead was doubled 10 minutes later, Kelly bundling in his second off the post from 10 yards after being put through by a short pass from Luke Haakenson.
Charlotte led 2-0 at the half, and Kelly guaranteed the points in the 79th minute with a superb right-footed volley from the centre of the box after a sweeping cross from the right from Derek Gebhard.
Trinidadian Andre Fortune pulled one back for North Carolina in the first minute of stoppage time, driving home a low cross into the box from Manny Perez.
With the hat-trick, Kelly moved his tally for the season to eight goals.
In a Group D contest at Toyota Field in San Antonio, St Vincent and the Grenadines’ Kyle Edwards and Jamaica Under-23 star Deshane Beckford both got on the scoresheet but could not prevent Rio Grande Valley from going under 3-2 to San Antonio FC.
For Rio Grande, the defeat was their fourth straight and ninth of the season, keeping them rooted to the bottom of the group on three points.
In a top-of-the-table clash at Lucas Oil Stadium in Downtown Indianapolis, Jamaican Devon Williams scored his third of the campaign as Louisville brushed aside Indy Eleven 3-1 for their fourth win in five outings to take the lead in Group E with 20 points.
Williams opened the scoring in the 23rd minute with a poacher’s goal from point-blank range, and Corben Bone and Napo Matsoso added strikes to be on top 3-0 before Tyler Pasher added a consolation goal in first-half stoppage.