NEW YORK – Jamaicans Junior Flemmings and Dane Kelly continued their excellent early season form with goals to help fire their respective clubs to victories in the United Soccer League last weekend.
The 24-year-old Flemmings netted a league-leading eighth goal as Phoenix won their third on the bounce with a 2-0 victory over San Diego Loyal on Saturday, to extend their lead at the top of Group B.
Kelly, meanwhile, scored his fourth of the campaign as Charlotte Independence came from behind to beat Memphis 901 FC 3-2 and break a four-game win-less slump.
Bermudian winger Zeiko Lewis also sustained his scoring form with a double to inspire Charleston Battery as they came from two goals to stun Atlanta United 2, 3-2.
The victory was Battery’s first in four outings and saw them remain second in Group H behind leaders Tampa Bay Rowdies.
Playing at home at the Casino Arizona Field, Flemmings put Phoenix Rising FC ahead in the 26th minute, collecting a short pass from Jon Bakero following a patient build up and drilling a superb 25-yard bomb past goalkeeper Jake Fenlason.
Up 1-0 at half-time, Phoenix doubled their advantage in the 59th minute when full back Darnell King netted a low long range drive.
The hosts are now five points clear of Orange County SC on 16 points, having played two more games.
At Sportsplex at Matthews just outside Charlotte, the 29-year-old Kelly came off the bench at half-time to help inspire the hosts’ turnaround after they found themselves down 1-0 at the break through Mark Segbers and a further goal behind six minutes following the resumption, through Rafael Mentzingen.
Kelly was on target in the 53rd minute, sweeping in Joel Johnson’s right-sided cross from six yards and Enzo Martinez’s 60th minute penalty and Luke Haakenson’s 69th minute stroke finished off the comeback.
Charlotte are second in Group G on nine points, eight points off leaders Birmingham Legion FC.
Lewis, meanwhile, created fireworks with an injury time winner at Patriots Point Soccer Complex in Mount Pleasant as hosts Battery condemned Atlanta United to a heartbreaking third straight defeat and sixth overall this season.
Amadou Diop (6th) and Efrain Morales (51st) had seemed to put the visitors on course for victory until Mauro Cichero halved the lead for Battery in the 57th minute.
The 26-year-old Lewis then levelled two minutes later, eluding the off-side trap to beat the keeper from close range before finding the winner again from close range, poking home AJ Paterson’s searching ball over the top in the first of four minutes of stoppage at the end.