Durham Bulls vs Lehigh Valley IronPigs @ Coca-Cola Park – July 28, 2017

After hitting the Harrisburg the night before, we made it to the IronPigs game the next night to check them out against the Durham Bulls. Tampa Bay’s top two prospects were on hand as Brent Honeywell (#1) started the game and Willy Adames (#2) was at short.

Honewell was tagged early when Jorge Alfaro crushed a no-doubter to left to give Lehigh Valley a 1-0 lead. That was all the Pigs could get off of the Rays #1 prospect. He pitched great, going 6 innings allowing that one run on 5 hits with 2 walks and 6 strikeouts.

Former IronPig Taylor Featherston hurt his former team in the 3rd and 4th innings. He hit into a groundout that scored a run in the 3rd and then singled in a run in the 4th to give the Bulls a 2-1 lead. #2 prospect Willy Adames grounded out in the 5th, but scored Jake Hager in the process. Hager then hit a 2-run homer in the 7th to finish the scoring and give the Bulls a 5-1 victory.

Hager finished the night 2-4 with 2 RBI and 2 runs for Durham. Ben Lively started the game for the IronPigs, but was only able to go 4 innings after taking a liner off the leg in the 5th inning. He finished the game 4 innings giving up 3 runs (2 ER) on 5 hits with a walk and 4 strikeouts. Scott Kingery, Andrew Pullin and Alfaro each had two hits, but were the only ones to muster a hit on the night for Lehigh Valley. Pullin’s two hits were doubles.

Portland Sea Dogs vs Harrisburg Senators @ FNB Park – July 27, 2017

We made it over to Harrisburg to check out a Senators game. The stadium is neat and is located on City Island, right in the middle of the river next to the city. We got Club seats right behind the plate for $35 and it included all you can eat in the club. It had the normal concession food, as well as fish, pork and some other good food.

Harrisburg got on the board first in the 2nd inning when Yadiel Hernandez sent a single to left that scored Osvaldo Abreu. They added to the lead in the 5th when Nationals #1 prospect and MLB’s #6 prospect Victor Robles doubled to left to score another run and give the Senators a 2-0 lead.

Portland took over the offense in the 6th. Cole Sturgeon singled in Joseph Monge to make it a 2-1 game. In the 8th, Monge homered to left to tie the ballgame. Red Sox #3 prospect Michael Chavis hit an RBI double to give the Sea Dogs the 3-2 lead. Harrisburg got it back in the bottom half of the 8th. Drew Ward hit an RBI single to tie the game and the Hernandez hit a sac fly to score Ward and give the Senators the 4-3 lead. Andrew Robinson came in and saved the game for the Sens.

Austin Voth pitched a great game for Harrisburg going 6 innings allowing a run on 5 hits with 6 strikeouts. The 5-8 hitters each had two hits on the night. Teddy Stankiewicz was solid for Portland. He went 6 innings allowing 2 runs on 7 hits with 2 walks and 6 strikeouts. He was hit by a comebacker in the leg in the 4th inning, but held on to make it through six. Sturgeon and Monge were the two Sea Dogs with multi-hit games.

USA vs El Salvador (Gold Cup Quarterfinal) @ Lincoln Financial Field – July 19, 2017

Game two was the headliner: USA vs El Salvador.

The teams traded yellow cards midway through the first half and each team had a few close chances early, but the back of the net wasn’t hit until the 41st minute. Omar Gonzalez knocked in header off a rebound to give the Americans a 1-0 lead. Only four minutes later, Eric Lichaj got a great pass from Clint Dempsey and then he put the ball right between the legs of El Salvador goalie Derby Carrillo. The USA now had a 2-0 lead.

El Salvador was able to get a few good chances on net, but Tim Howard came up huge for the Americans to ensure the 2-0 victory. The U.S. moved onto the Semi-finals to face Costa Rica.

USA had twelve shots to El Salvador’s nine, but the shots on goal were 8-3 USA. There were a lot of fouls in the game with some heated exchanges. Ball possession belonged to USA 56% of the time compared to El Salvador’s 44%. Pass accuracy also belonged to the USA 90% to 86%. Omar Gonzalez and Jozy Altidore both led the USA with three shots and all three of Altidore’s shots were on target.

The teams walking onto the field

Team USA celebrating their first goal

Costa Rica vs Panama (Gold Cup Quarterfinal) @ Lincoln Financial Field – July 19, 2017

Two of the four Gold Cup Quarterfinal games were played in Philadelphia. I had the day off so a work buddy and I made it down to the game to check them out. The first game was Costa Rica vs Panama.

There were a few close chances in the first half, but nothing was able to get to the back of the net. David Ramirez got a yellow card for Costa Rica in the 21st minute. Panama made their three substitutions between the 58th and 70th minutes. Costa Rica made one in the 65th and 76th minutes. Just a minute later, Costa Rica scored on an own goal by Anibal Godoy. Godoy tried to clear a rebound over the net and instead, put it right past his own goaltender. A late substitution by Costa Rica slowed down Panama and sealed the 1-0 victory.

Costa Rica led ball possession 54% to 46%, although Panama outshot them 13-9. Each team had seven of their shots on target. Costa Rica had a lot more fouls and Panama was 85% accurate on passes, while Costa Rica was only 77%, but in the end, Costa Rica came away the winners.

The teams heading onto the field

Getting ready to start the match