During the Major Indoor Soccer League offseason some of the Baltimore Blast players are playing outdoor soccer in the USL Pro Division (USL) and the North American Soccer League (NASL). Check back throughout the summer as we track the progress of Nicki Paterson and the Charleston Battery (USL Pro), J.T. Noone and the Harrisburg City Islanders (USL Pro), Akira Fitzgerald and the Carolina RailHawks (NASL) and Stephen DeRoux and the Puerto Rico Islanders (NASL). In addition to the four players, 2012 MISL Defender of the Year Mike Lookingland will serve as an assistant coach for the Baltimore Bohemians (PDL).
USL Players Report (as of September 10):
Nicki Paterson, a newcomer to the Blast and indoor soccer in 2011-12, scored his first goal of the 2012 USL season on April 14 in Charleston's 2-1 loss to the Richmond Kickers. He scored again on April 27 in the Battery's 1-0 home victory over Pittsburgh and added one goal and two assists in the team's 4-0 win over Antigua on May 5. Paterson, who was named to the 2012 USL PRO All-League First-Team and twice named to the USL PRO Team of the Week, finished the season ranked third in the league with 22 points in 24 games. He ranked second with 10 goals and added two assists to his point total.
The Battery finished the regular season in third place with a 12-10-2 record while the Harrisburg City Islanders are tied for fifth place with a 10-7-7 record. J.T. Noone scored the game-winning goal in Harrisburg's season-opening 2-1 win over the Charlotte Eagles on April 20 and recorded his second goal in the team's 2-2 tie with the Richmond Kickers on May 12. Noone had two goals and three assists (seven points) in 22 games. Former Blast goalkeeper Dave Kern serves as the City Islanders' goalkeeper coach.
After beating Noone and the City Islanders, 2-1, in the USL PRO Quarterfinals, Paterson and the Battery defeated the Rochester Rhinos, 4-3, in penalty kicks in the Semifinals. In the Quarterfinals, Harrisburg jumped out to an early 1-0 lead but Paterson tied the game at 1-1 on a penalty kick late in the first half.
The Battery defeated the Wilmington Hammerheads, 1-0 on September 8, to claim the 2012 USL PRO.
NASL Players Report (as of October 15):
Goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald, who played his second season with Carolina, went 3-0-1 on the season after earning a 3-2 win in his first start of the season (August 18 against FC Edmonton) and the earning a shutout in the 1-0 win over the Atlanta Silverbacks on August 25. Fitzgerald was named NASL Defensive Player of the Week after making three big second-half saves against the Silverbacks to ensure the shutout. He also earned a 6-0 victory over PSA Elite in the Second Round of the U.S. Open Cup. The 10-10-8 RailHawks, who clinched a spot in the 2012 postseason, finished the regular season in fourth place.
Stephen DeRoux recorded one assist in his Islanders debut on April 15 in the team's 4-0 win over the San Antonio Scorpions. The Islanders, who also advanced to the postseason, finished third place in the NASL standings with an 11-8-9 record.
The NASL regular season ran through September 23 and the top six teams in the league standings at the conclusion of the regular season advanced to the NASL playoffs. In Quarterfinal play, Carolina defeated the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, 3-1, on September 29 and on the 30th, the Islanders lost to the Minnesota Stars FC to end their postseason run.
The RailHawks lost Game One of the Semifinals, 2-1, to the Tampa Bay Rowdies on October 6 tied, 3-3. in Game Two on the 13th. With the 2-1 victory in the first leg and the 3-3 tie in the second leg, the Rowdies defeated the RailHawks, 5-4, on aggregate to advance to the finals against Minnesota.
Baltimore Bohemians (PDL) Report (as of the end of the season):
Mike Lookingland, the 2012 MISL Defender of the Year, served as an assistant coach for the PDL's Baltimore Bohemians. The Bohemians finished their inaugural season with a 5-7-4 record in sixth place in the PDL's Mid Atlantic Division.
* Team records are listed WIN-LOSS-TIE
2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup:
In addition to normal USL PRO and NASL play, the Charleston Battery (USL), Harrisburg City Islanders (USL) and Carolina RailHawks (NASL) will participate in the 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, America's oldest national soccer tournament. The 99th edition of the U.S. Open Cup includes a 64-team field, including all 16 U.S.-based Major League Soccer teams Meanwhile, all six U.S.-based North American Soccer League teams and all 10 U.S.-based USL PRO teams. This 2012 competition marks the first year that NASL clubs participate in the U.S. Open Cup. In addition to the professional teams, 32 amateur teams will play.
All 2012 U.S. Open Cup matches until the final are scheduled for Tuesdays, with the championship taking place on either Tuesday, Aug. 7, or Wednesday, Aug. 8. In the first round, 32 amateur-level sides are paired geographically, with the restriction that teams from the same qualifying pool (meaning USASA regional qualifiers, PDL and NPSL) cannot be paired. The first-round winners face Division II or Division III clubs in the second round based on geographic proximity. Second-round winners play Division I clubs in the third round, matched on a geographic basis.
The opening portion of the U.S. Open Cup schedule will occur in rapid fashion as the first four rounds take place in back-to-back weeks from May 15 to June 5. The quarterfinals are set for June 26, the semifinals for July 10, and the final for Aug. 7 or 8. The majority of the tournament will have only a minimal overlap with CONCACAF Champions League play.
Second-Round Results (Games played May 22):
Each of the teams with ties to the Blast earned second-round wins and will move on to host MLS clubs in the Third Round on May 29. Akira Fitzgerald earned a 6-0 shootout for the RailHawks and Nicki Paterson scored the game-winner for the Battery.
- Harrisburg City Islanders 2 - Long Island Rough Riders 0
- Carolina RailHawks 6 - PSA Elite 0
- Charleston Battery 2 - Reading United AC 1
Third-Round Games (Games played May 29):
- Harrisburg City Islanders 3 - New England Revolution 3 (Harrisburg won on penalty kicks)
- Carolina RailHawks 2- Los Angeles Galaxy 1
- Charleston Battery 0 - New York Red Bulls 3
Fourth-Round Games (Games played June 5):
- Harrisburg City Islanders 3 - New York Red Bulls 1
- Carolina RailHawks 1 - Chivas USA 2
Quarterfinal Game (Game played June 26):
- Harrisburg City Islanders 2 - Philadelphia Union 5
2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Schedule (Per round):
May 15: First Round
May 22: Second Round
May 29: Third Round
June 5: Fourth Round
June 26: Quarterfinals
July 10: Semifinals
August 7 or 8: Final
MLS Players Report (as of October 15):
In addition to the Blast players who play and coach in the USL PRO, PDL and NASL, former Blast players Matt Watson and Jonny Steele are playing in Major League Soccer this season. Watson, who recorded 11 points in 10 Blast games last season, has played in 13 games for the Western Conference's fifth-place 11-12-9 Vancouver Whitecaps FC this year. The Whitecaps have two regular season games remaining and are fighting for the last Western Conference postseason berth. Watson recorded 83 points (34 goals and 12 assists) in 83 Blast games over five seasons and was part of two Baltimore championships.
Steele, who played for the Blast from 2005-07, has two goals and two assists in 26 games for the Western Conference's second-place Real Salt Lake (17-11-4) . With three games remaining in the regular season, RSL has already clinched a postsesaon berth. Steele scored 13 goals and added nine assists for 31 points in 39 Blast games.