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News from USL

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    Sounders FC U-23 News Release -- www.soundersu23.com

    Wednesday, July 3, 2013

    TACOMA, Wash. – The Sounders U-23 will continue their pursuit of Premier Development League postseason play this weekend with a pair of late season matches. On Thursday night they will travel to Edmonds Woodway High School to take on the North Sound SeaWolves FC at 4 p.m. Then on Sunday afternoon the Sounders return to Sunset Stadium in Sumner where they will host the Victoria Highlanders FC at 2 p.m. in their final home match of the regular season.

    The PDL Northwest Division’s top three teams will move on to participate in the playoffs. The top finisher will automatically represent the Northwest Division in the PDL Western Conference Championships, while teams placing second and third will face each other in a one-game playoff to determine who will advance with the first-place side.

    The Sounders U-23 (4-4-2, 14 pts.) are coming off a 3-3 draw with the Washington Crossfire, and currently sit just outside of the playoff picture in fourth place. The team in third place with 17 points is the Vancouver Whitecaps U-23. However, the Whitecaps (5-4-2) have played one more match, so a win will put the Sounders in a tie for third on points.

    Their first shot at three points will come on Thursday against the North Sound SeaWolves. The SeaWolves (1-7-2, 5 pts.) have struggled in their 2013 campaign, and currently sit at the bottom of the Northwest Division standings. However, in their previous matchup with the SeaWolves, the Sounders U-23 managed only a 1-0 victory, and even conceded a penalty that was missed off the bar.

    Then on Sunday, the Sounders U-23 will host the division’s current leaders, the Victoria Highlanders FC. The Highlanders (8-1-2, 26 pts.) have all but wrapped up this year’s Northwest Division regular season race. They defeated the current second-place side, the Portland Timbers U-23s, 2-0 last Sunday to extend their division lead to six points.

    Though unlikely, it is mathematically possible for the Sounders U-23s to tie Victoria for the league title by winning their final four matches and Victoria losing their final three. More likely, however, is the Sounders U-23 catching either the Whitecaps or Timbers U-23s for a shot at the one-game playoff. Regardless, a win against the division leader would be a huge three points, and certainly increase their chances at postseason play.

    Six big points are up for grabs this holiday weekend as the Sounders U-23 start their stretch run of the 2013 season. For more information, including ticket information for the Sounders U-23’s final home match on Sunday, visit SoundersU23.com.


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    Ocean City Nor'easters News Release -- www.oceancityfc.com

    Tuesday, July 2, 2013

    OCEAN CITY, N.J. -- The Ocean City Nor’easters will host the New Jersey Rangers twice in four days as they continue to press on towards retaining their PDL Mid Atlantic Division title. The Nor’easters are back on the winning path after taking a 5-0 victory against the Central Jersey Spartans this past weekend.

    The Nor’easters and Rangers have a good history together, but the in-state rivalry has not really taken off as the Nor’easters have dominated the Rangers in the past seasons. Ocean City have a record of 6-1-1 with a goal difference of 23-8. The Nor’easters handed the Rangers their first ever defeat after they entered the league in 2008, an 8-1 win. Another pinnacle game between the two franchises was in 2009 when a Nor’easters win clinched a playoff berth before Ocean City got to the PDL National Quarterfinals only to be stopped by the Chicago Fire U23’s.

    This season the Rangers are 3-5-1 in a rebuilding year after partnering with the LUSO Academy. This partnership could mean that the Rangers will be a force in the PDL Mid Atlantic Division in the years to come. Head Coach Tim Oswald knows that the two games in four days is hard work for the team.

    "With these games coming up thick and fast it is important that we can use the full depth of our squad," Oswald said. "Especially when we are facing the same opposition within four days we will need to shake up the personnel and tactics so that we do not become obvious in our play."

    For more information on the Nor’easters check out our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/oceancityfc) and Twitter feed @ocnoreasters.

     


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  • 07/04/13--16:57: Dutch Lions Down Rhinos
  • Thursday, July 4, 2013

    DAYTON, Ohio -- The Dayton Dutch Lions extended their undefeated streak to 10 games as goals by Eli Garner, Tjeerd Westdijk and Gibson Bardsley gave their side a 3-1 win against the Rochester Rhinos on Thursday afternoon at Beavercreek Stadium. Rochester had taken the lead, but the Dutch Lions roared back to solidify their playoff position.

    Despite the rain, the flag waved proudly this Fourth of July as Dayton (6-2-5), exploded on to their home field and immediately went to work against Rochester (3-7-6). A quick ball sent up from the back in the opening minute to Bardsley resulted in a shot on goal that just missed wide of the far post.

    Rochester began to find its feet as the half went on, and in the 26th minute went close to taking the lead as a shot from Gabe Latigue came back off the crossbar. The Rhinos took the lead in the 38th minute as a cross by Latigue found the head of Blake Brettschneider to put the Rhinos on the board.

    The Dutch Lions found an equalizer in the 44th minute as Garner received a pass from Bardsley and made a run into the penalty area, where he wasted no time and put his shot in the back of the net, leaving the game tied at the halftime break.

    The second half started with the Lions coming out strong again. In the 46th minute a ball up from Matt Weit found the head of Westdijk, who flicked the ball over a Rochester defender and gave Garner a great opportunity, only for his shot to go directly to Rhinos goalkeeper Kristian Nicht.

    The Rhinos answered back two minutes later with Brettschneider getting open again near the Dutch Lions goal, and he wasted no time sending one across face of the net. However Dayton’s defense stepped up to prevent any balls from finding the back of the net.

    The Dutch Lions took their first lead of the game in the 64th minute on a good move that was began by Shane Smith, who found Garner on the left. Garner’s cross found Bardsley on the right, and he centered for Westdijk to put away his finish. Dayton then added a third goal in the 80th minute when second-half substitute Joey Madigan made a run and crossed to Bardsley for an easy finish.

    Rochester tried to get back into the game, and came close to pulling a goal back in the 90th minute when they received a free kick 25 yards from goal. The shot was on target, but Dayton goalkeeper Matt Williams made a diving save to push the ball behind and out for a corner. The Dutch Lions were able to see out their victory from there as they earned their seventh win of the season.

    With upcoming games against some of the top teams in USL PRO in the coming weeks, this win meant a lot to Dayton, who for the first time have a shot at a spot in the playoffs.

    “Thanks to this win, we have moved up to fifth place in the standings, which is a first in our team’s history," Dutch Lions coach Patrick Bal said. "We now have a 10-game undefeated streak. It wasn’t our best game, but we played hard and I am happy with the result.”

    Dayton faces the Richmond Kickers (8-0-6) at home at Beavercreek Stadium on Saturday night at 7:30 pm. They then travel to Columbus to meet the Crew Reserve team (2-4-1) at the Crew Stadium on Wednesday, July 10th. For season and individual game tickets, visit the Dutch Lions website.


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    Thursday, July 4, 2013

    PITTSBURGH — On a gorgeous Fourth of July night in Station Square, the Charlotte Eagles took a 3-2 victory against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds at a sold out Highmark Stadium. The Riverhounds took the lead twice in the first half with goals from Darren Amoo and Andrew Marshall, but the Eagles Jorge Herrara and Nate Thornton would answer just minutes later before an own goal in the second half gave Charlotte victory. The Eagles' win snaps the Riverhounds' 10-game undefeated streak.

    The Riverhounds came out with a flurry of chances following the opening whistle, but the Eagles goalkeeper, Eric Reed, came up with multiple big saves throughout the match. The game’s first goal came in the 15th minute when Riverhounds Rob Vincent changed the point of attack to find Matt Dallman on the right flank. Driving with pace to the corner, Dallman cut inside his marker and tiptoed the end line to cross to Amoo trailing the play. Dallman delivered the ball to back towards the penalty spot and Amoo tucked the ball past Reed.

    The Eagles equalized on a set piece 25 yards from goal two minutes later. A consistent threat on restarts, Herrara bent a right-footed shot around the wall and past Riverhounds goalkeeper, Hunter Gilstrap.

    The Riverhounds continued to push forward with pace and numbers, recording 11 shots in the first half. In the 40th minute, the Riverhounds would convert off a corner kick from Dallman. Delivering a cross to the back post, Dallman’s service would find the head of Marshall rising above the scrum. Marshall headed the ball down and past Reed for his first goal of the season.

    With only seconds to go in the first half, the Eagles would draw even again. A quality combination between Christian Ramirez and Juan Guzman at the edge of the penalty area would free Ramirez at the end line. Chasing the ball down, Ramirez delivered a left-footed cross to the near post for a slashing Thornton. Gilstrap dove to his right to smother the ball, but Thornton flicked the ball past him and into the net.

    The pace of the game slowed down in the second half, as the heat began to take its toll on the players. The Eagles would score off of another set piece in the 72nd minute. Stephen Okai drove the ball towards the penalty spot and into a crowd. The ball struck the top of Marshall’s head and flicked past Gisltrap for an own goal.

    Despite out-shooting the Eagles 15-4 in the game, the Riverhounds could not find the equalizer in the remaining minutes of play.

    The Riverhounds return to Highmark Stadium this Saturday to host the L.A. Blues. The game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. kickoff. The Eagles travel to New York to meet the Rochester Rhinos on Saturday night. The game is scheduled for a 7:05 p.m. start at Sahlen’s Stadium.

     


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    Southern West Virginia King’s Warriors News Release -- www.wvkingswarriors.org

    Thursday, July 4, 2013

    BECKLEY, W.Va. -- The Southern West Virginia King’s Warriors will embark on an important two-game road trip this weekend as they travel to Virginia to meet the Northern Virginia Royals on Friday in Fairfax, Va., and then will take on the Virginia Beach Piranhas Saturday night. Southern West Virginia will be looking for its fourth straight victory and first road wins of the season.

    The surging King’s Warriors have won three straight games, outscoring their opponents 9-4 in that span, and jumped back into the playoff picture in the PDL’s South Atlantic Division. The top two teams in the division qualify for the postseason, with the first and second place teams playing a play-in game against each other to determine who advances into the Eastern Conference Championships.

    Southern West Virginia currently trails the Carolina Dynamo and West Virginia Chaos, who are tied for the top spot in the division, by five points. However, the King’s Warriors have four games in hand on the Chaos.

    "It’s always tougher to play on the road than it is at home," said Southern West Virginia coach Scott Reitnour. "But we are going to be intentional about choreographing our game day on the road. We are going to be emphasizing proper rest, proper hydration, replenishing their electrolytes, and we are really going to take superlative care of the guys when we travel. We think it’s going to make a difference and we’re going to do our best on the road." 

    Southern West Virginia is coming off a 3-1 victory over the Virginia Beach Piranhas at home this past Saturday. Jon Grant led the way with a pair of goals for the King’s Warriors while Billy Forbes also added a strike on a penalty kick. Southern West Virginia goalie Erik Mozzo was solid in goal and strongly aided by a stingy King’s Warriors defense. Mozzo faced only four shots and made one save.

    Friday’s opponent, Northern Virginia, is coming off a 0-0 tie at first place Carolina this past Sunday. The Royals have only one win this season in nine games but have also managed four points on four draws. Northern Virginia is 0-0-2 in its last two matches. Lifetime Southern West Virginia is 0-2-0 against the Royals.

    Saturday’s opponent, Virginia Beach, last played in Beckley last Saturday when they were beaten 3-1 by the King’s Warriors. The Piranhas are 0-2-1 in their last three games. Lifetime the King’s Warriors are 3-0-0 against Virginia Beach.

     


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  • 07/05/13--12:54: Battery Set To Host Orlando
  • Charleston Battery News Release -- www.charlestonbattery.com

    Thursday, July 4, 2013

    CHARLESTON, S.C. -- The Charleston Battery (7-3-5) take on league-leading Orlando City (10-2-3) on Friday night at Blackbaud Stadium; gates open at 6 p.m. with kick off set for 7:30 p.m. The Battery enters the match in fourth position in the USL PRO standings seven points behind Orlando City. The Battery’s next two games will be against Orlando, with the return fixture set for the following Thursday night (July 11) at the Florida Citrus Bowl.

    Friday night’s game is presented by MUSC with fireworks immediately following the match. Tickets are available starting at just $10; to purchase tickets or for more information please call (843) 971-GOAL (4625) or visit www.charlestonbattery.com.

    The Battery’s last match was a 0-0 tie with VSI Tampa Bay in a game played at Blackbaud Stadium on June 22. Orlando had a 25-game home unbeaten streak snapped last Saturday night losing 2-0 to the Richmond Kickers, but took a point in their last outing as they drew 2-2 on Wednesday night against the Wilmington Hammerheads in the first game of their trip to the Carolinas.

    In 2012 the Battery faced Orlando three times in USL PRO league games, and lost all three matches to the eventual regular season champions. After claiming the regular season title Orlando were eliminated from the USL PRO Playoffs semifinals, losing to the Wilmington Hammerheads.

    Charleston Battery head coach Mike Anhaeuser should have a full squad to select from on Friday night, with only midfielder Ben Fisk unavailable through injury.

    Friday’s match will be broadcast live on Sports Radio 1450 AM presented by the Angie Gainey Bailey Real Estate Team with a live video web stream also available at www.USLnation.com.

     


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  • 07/05/13--09:10: Cougars Rally Past Tucson
  • Thursday, July 4, 2013

    PROVO, Utah — The BYU Cougars defeated FC Tucson 3–2 on Thursday night at South Field in annual Independence Day game, with support of season’s largest crowd.

    BYU’s 1,644 fans motivated the Cougars to a strong start. Tanner Whitworth scored the first goal in the 24th minute, with an assist by midfielder Matt Rider. Whitworth faded toward the right of the net, sliding the ball past the FC Tucson goalie. BYU was able to maintain its lead until the halftime break, but FC Tucson answered back in the 65th minute. Saeed Robinson slipped a shot past BYU goalie Brian Hale to tie the score 1–1. Robinson then gave Tucson the lead five minutes later as the visitors from Arizona fought to keep their playoff hopes alive. 

    Despite Tucson’s two consecutive goals, BYU wouldn’t be brought down. Moments following Tucson taking the lead, BYU’s Jonathan Junca split the defense with a pass to Trevor Henderson, who scored to tie the game 2–2. The Cougars then regained the lead with 10 minutes to go on a goal that came through a good piece of team play. Blake Frischnecht beat a Tucson defender and sent in a pass to Pedro Vasconcelos, who finished for a 3-2 lead. Tucson tried to find an equalizer, but the Cougars were able to hold on for an impressive victory.

    “That was a great win,” Cougars head coach Chris Watkins said. “We’re really proud we can beat a team of that caliber.”

    The Cougars’ win boosted their record to 3-6-1, after an undefeated 5-0 preseason in the fall. The Cougars will compete in two more home games before the end of the regular season.

    Join the BYU Cougars for their next home game on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. MT against the OC Blues Strikers. The Cougars will compete at South Field on BYU campus. The match will be streamed live on KSL and Deseret News.


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    Thursday, July 4, 2013

    OCEAN CITY, N.J. -- The Ocean City Nor’easters welcomed their supporters to join them on the Fourth of July to celebrate the independence of a nation, and celebrate they did. A 2-0 victory over in-state rivals NJ LUSO Rangers put everyone in great spirits for the fireworks just yards away on the Ocean City Boardwalk.

    The Nor’easters are set to play the Rangers twice in four days as the playoff picture becomes clearer. Ocean City Nor’easters opened the scoring early as Timothy Mulgrew drilled a direct free kick up and over the wall to beat the keeper low against the post in the fourth minute. Ocean City went on to take control of the first half even though it began to fizzle out towards the end of the first 45 minutes. The first half saw some of the Nor’easters best “possession with purpose” that they have been focusing on all season.

    The second half didn’t start with a bang but the Nor’easters took control and scored again on 52 minutes through attacking right back Sean McLaws, who followed in a Zoncher Dennis shot that the Rangers goalkeeper Paul Killian parried towards him. Ocean City survived some scares with Michael O’Keeffe, a New Zealand Olympian from the 2012 London Games, looking confident and allowing Ocean City to use all their allotted substitutions and get the fringe players some good minutes.

    "We needed a win to keep our momentum going and a clean sheet for O’Keeffe was vital," said Nor'easters coach Tim Oswald. "Hopefully our performance will be better on Sunday but I would take the same result.”

    The game finished 2-0 and the supporters made the short walk up onto the Ocean City Boardwalk for an outstanding firework display. Independence Day is a great day in Ocean City, and it looks like the Nor’easters organization will become a big part of that and coming to see the game before the fireworks will become the new July Fourth tradition in town.

     


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    USL PRO News Release

    Tuesday, July 2, 2013

    TAMPA, Fla. – USL PRO announced today that an expansion franchise in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma will join the league for the 2014 season. The announcement was made at a news conference in Oklahoma City. The franchise will be locally owned by Prodigal LLC, led by CEO Bob Funk Jr.

    USL PRO is the strongest, best operated and most experienced North American men’s professional soccer league below and in support of MLS, both on and off the field. Focused on franchise stability and longevity, USL PRO features 13 teams in 2013 with more than half boasting a decade or more of operational experience, and the distinction of being the longest standing pro league affiliate member of the US Soccer Federation with over two decades of successful operations.

    “We are thrilled about the addition of Oklahoma City for the 2014 season and as our 15th franchise member,” USL President Tim Holt said. “Oklahoma City is a market that passionately supports its professional sports teams and is quickly establishing itself as a soccer hotbed. Bob Funk Jr. and Prodigal LLC are leaders on both fronts in Oklahoma City and we have no doubt that they will produce a successful franchise for many years to come. With not only USL PRO and US Open Cup action, but also exhibitions involving MLS and international clubs coming to Oklahoma City, it is local soccer fans that are the true winners.”

    USL PRO is focused on aggressive, but deliberate growth by adding teams fully capable of meeting USL and US Soccer Federation standards, which are located in markets that further promote regional league play. The addition of Oklahoma City is yet another exciting development in USL PRO’s western expansion initiative, with the Phoenix FC Wolves having joined Los Angeles Blues in 2013 and a franchise previously announced for Sacramento, California in 2014. In addition to league play, USL PRO teams will continue to compete in the national Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and various domestic and international exhibitions.

    In 2013 USL PRO began a groundbreaking, multi-year partnership with MLS that has further elevated the quality and stature of USL PRO, strengthened the competition in both leagues, and established a solid foundation for future collaboration.

    “As we move into USL PRO’s next operational phase, Bob Funk Jr. and Prodigal LLC represent the level of ownership we will be seeking,” USL CEO Alec Papadakis said. “This group meets all of the criteria and requirements, and they offer the caliber of ownership that will be necessary for USL PRO’s future.”

    Prodigal LLC is a full service event management company based in Oklahoma City. Prodigal operates the Oklahoma City Barons professional hockey team, co-promotes Professional Bull Riders (PBR) events in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, operates the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo (RNCFR), serves as the co-organizer for the March of Dimes Sports Headliner Banquet and produces the Bricktown 4th Fest and is sales and marketing partner with All College and World Cup of Softball.

     


    ”We look forward to joining the USL PRO family,” Prodigal CEO Bob Funk Jr said. “This is a natural progression for our city to bring in top-flight professional soccer. USL PRO’s direct affiliation with Major League Soccer made it the best choice for Oklahoma City.”

    Funk Jr. has worked on a variety of project in the sports and entertainment world including Summer and Winter X Games, AND 1 Mix Tape tour as well as Davis and Fed Cup matches. He serves as Chairman of the newly formed Greater Oklahoma City Sports Consortium and is an organizing member for the National Sports Forum. The Funk family also previously owned baseball’s Oklahoma City RedHawks before selling their interest in 2010.


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  • 07/05/13--14:57: Aztex Aiming To Bounce Back
  • Austin Aztex News Release -- www.austinaztex.com

    Friday, July 5, 2013

    AUSTIN, Texas -- The Austin Aztex (8-1-1) take on the West Texas Sockers (3-5-2) Friday night at House Park at 7:30 p.m. CT. This will be the first meeting between the two clubs in the 2013 season. The last time West Texas visited House Park was in the 2012 season and the Aztex were able to net six goals.

    Austin currently holds a 2013 home record of 5-0-0 in PDL competition and has scored 17 goals while only allowing two. West Texas’s away record is (2-3-0) with 13 goals for and 13 goals against.

    “We need to make sure that we go out and keep our standards high for every game,” Aztex defender and team captain Zack Pope said. “With us being in first place, every team will be gunning for us. If you take a play off, a minute off, or a second off, then people are going to want to take advantage of that.”

    The Aztex are looking to bounce back after they suffered their first loss of the PDL season to the Laredo Heat on Wednesday night, losing 1-0. Laredo also stopped Austin’s shutout streak at 449 minutes, with the lone goal of the game coming in the 40th minute from Frank Lara. The Heat were able to capitalize on a lapse in focus from the Aztex defenders and took a quick throw in to Juan Ibarra who slotted the ball across the goal line to an open Lara who easily tucked it away.

    The game against the Heat was physical, with a lot of challenges leaving players on the ground, but only three cautions were given. In the 71st minute Tucker Hume received a straight ejection after an aerial challenge against the Heat’s Felipe Souza. The ejection was given after the center referee consulted with the assistant referee for some time. Tucker will not be available for Friday’s game against the Sockers.

    “I think as soccer players we need to have a short-term memory,” Aztex midfielder Tony Rocha said. “We need to go out there and be confident. We are at House Park and we have not lost a PDL game there. We just need to go out there and play the way we know we can and get the result. “

    West Texas is also looking to recover after their most recent defeat, a 6-2 loss at Oklahoma City last Saturday night. OKC took an early lead in the second minute and then were able to score again halfway through the first half. The Sockers answered with a pair of goals to tie the game just before the half. Oklahoma City must have found something in their water at halftime because they turned a close game into a rout, scoring four unanswered goals. West Texas also received two ejections in the second half: one going to Jose Munoz and another going to David Gonzales. Both players will be unavailable for Friday’s game against the Aztex.

    Austin holds the best record in both the Mid South Division and the Southern Conference with 25 points, but the gap between them and the chasing teams has tightened. The Aztex are five points ahead of second-place Laredo in the division, with Oklahoma City sitting one point behind the Heat in third. The race for first in the Southern Conference is escalating as both the Ocala Stampede and the Panama City Beach Pirates have 21 points with a game in hand.

     


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  • 07/05/13--10:42: Blues Host Colorado Rush
  • Pali Blues News Release - www.bluessoccerclub.com

    Friday, July 5, 2013

    LOS ANGELES – The Pali Blues (6-2-1) will host the visiting Colorado Rush (0-5-3) tonight with a spot in the playoffs in mind. While the Rush is officially out of the playoff race, the match is a must-win for the Blues to maintain a top-two spot in the conference standings, and keep dreams of hosting the Western Conference Championship alive.

    In their last outing the Blues played away against the LA Strikers on Saturday, losing 2-1. Mele French scored the lone goal for the Blues after the Strikers took a 2-0 lead in the 81st minute of the game.

    It was only the second loss for Pali this year, but it hurt its chances of hosting the conference championship. The Sounders lost to the Colorado Rapids the next day, however, and gave the Blues another chance to fight for home advantage in the playoffs.

    The Rush is coming off a 2-1 defeat against the Santa Clarita Blue Heat, and has yet to win a game this season. Their top goal scorer is 18-year-old Danica Evans, who will begin her collegiate career as a Portland Pilot in the fall. She leads the young Rush team with eight points accumulated from four goals.

    A win for the Blues will keep them in the top two. The first-place Sounders also play on Friday night against Santa Clarita. Three points for the Sounders will keep them in first place.

    The top two teams in the conference will play the Western Conference Championship. The winner will then go on to the W-League Championship July 25-28 at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

    The match between the Blues and the Rush will kick off at 7 p.m. tonnight at Palisades High School. Fans can purchase tickets at bluessoccerclub.com, and follow the action on twitter by following @PaliBlues, and on facebook.com/PaliBluesSoccer.


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    PDL News Release

    Friday, July 5, 2013

    TAMPA, Fla. – With three weeks to go in the PDL regular season, the battle for a place in the playoffs picks up this weekend as postseason berths could be sealed on the road to the PDL Conference Championships. With 32 games set to take place between Friday and Sunday, we take a look at the games that will reshape the playoff picture during the next three days.

    NORTHEAST DIVISION

    The Western Mass Pioneers and GPS Portland Phoenix face off on Saturday night in a critical contest in the Northeast Division. Both teams enter on 17 points, but the Phoenix have played one fewer game. After falling 4-1 to the Pioneers in their first meeting this season Portland will be aiming for revenge, and prime position to reach the playoffs, with a victory on their home turf.

    MID ATLANTIC DIVISION

    With five teams within three points of each other at the top of the division standings, the Mid Atlantic continues to be a fight for the three berths available to the postseason. Second-place Reading and fifth-place Baltimore meet on Friday evening in the biggest contest this weekend, with United aiming to keep pace with Ocean City for the automatic bye into the Eastern Conference Championships, and the Bohemians looking to pull even with Reading as they try to keep their playoff hopes alive with four games to play.

    SOUTH ATLANTIC DIVISION

    The top two teams in the division meet as the Carolina Dynamo host the West Virginia Chaos on Saturday night, with the Chaos needing a victory as they play their penultimate game of the season. While West Virginia sits in second place, it has played three games more than the third-place SC United Bantams, and four more than the Dynamo and fourth-place Southern West Virginia King’s Warriors, who face key games against the Northern Virginia Royals and Virginia Beach Piranhas. A win for the Dynamo would strengthen their chances of defending their division crown, and could end the Chaos’ playoff hopes.

    SOUTHEAST DIVISION

    The Ocala Stampede and Panama City Beach Pirates will continue their battle for the Southeast Division title this weekend as the Stampede remain at home to face Mississippi, and the Pirates hit the road for the first game of two in South Florida. The Stampede have the tougher task of the two on paper as they host the Brilla on Friday night at 7 p.m. ET (USLNation.com), while the Pirates will visit Ft. Lauderdale Schulz Academy, which is currently winless, on Saturday night. Orlando City U23s will also face the Brilla on Sunday as they try to remain in contention with three games to play, but the Lions will likely need help with both Ocala and Panama City Beach holding a two-point lead with two games in hand apiece.

    MID SOUTH DIVISION

    Oklahoma City FC will try to regain second place in the Mid South Division, overtaking the idle Laredo Heat, as they visit the Houston Dutch Lions on Saturday night. With four games remaining for the division-leading Austin Aztex, Laredo and OKC, none of the three sides can afford much room for error, but Oklahoma City might be wary of a Houston side that claimed one of its two wins this season when the two teams met on May 30. Should OKC take victory, it would set up a key clash with Laredo next Thursday, which could decide which side moves into the postseason, and which stays home.

    GREAT LAKES DIVISION

    An all-Canadian clash between defending PDL champion FC London and the Toronto Lynx highlights the weekend schedule in the Great Lakes Division, with London aiming to stay within touching distance of the division-leading Michigan Bucks, and Toronto looking to continue its recent run of form. The Lynx are undefeated in their past five games, with their three wins in that span including a 2-1 win against the River City Rovers in midweek that moved them into third place. Should the Lynx take victory, they would move within a point of London for second place, and solidify a top-three position, which would land them in the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

    HEARTLAND DIVISION

    While the Thunder Bay Chill have all-but wrapped up the division title, the battle for second place continues this weekend as the Real Colorado Foxes host the Springfield Demize for a pair of key games in Highlands Ranch, Colo. The Foxes currently sit in second place, and hold a four-point advantage against the Demize. Springfield has also played two more games than Real Colorado, meaning victory in both games is almost essential to the Demize’s playoff hopes, but the Foxes enter the contests in better form, having won their past two contests. The third-place Des Moines Menace will also be a keen observer of the two games while they try to take victory against the St. Louis Lions on Saturday night.

    NORTHWEST DIVISION

    The Victoria Highlanders need just a point against the Washington Crossfire on Saturday night to clinch a place in the postseason, but will be looking for all three points as they pursue the division crown and a place in the Western Conference Championship. With both the third-place Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23 and second-placed Portland Timbers U-23s, the Highlanders could clinch the division title with a win and draw, with their second game of the weekend coming against the Sounders FC U-23, but the task will not be easy as the Sounders themselves need a win to keep their playoff hopes alive.

    SOUTHWEST DIVISION

    The division-leading Fresno Fuego and second-place Ventura County Fusion meet on Saturday night at Ventura College with the division title on the line. Should the Fuego take victory on the road, they would clinch the division title. For the Fusion, a win would not only keep their hopes of a division title alive, but also help try to stave off the charge of the LA Misioneros, who sit two points behind the Fusion and are idle this weekend.


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    W-League News Release

    Friday, July 5, 2013

    TAMPA, Fla. – The W-League enters the penultimate weekend of the season this weekend with a packed schedule and more than half the teams alive in the chase for the W-League Playoffs that begin in two weeks. Action from coast to coast could bring clarity to the playoff picture, or could set up a thrilling final weekend where every result will matter as the regular season hurtles down the home stretch.

    NORTHEASTERN CONFERENCE

    The two teams that will contest the Northeastern Conference Championship could be set this weekend with the Virginia Beach Piranhas and Long Island Rough Riders set to meet in the big game of the weekend on Saturday night at Long Island’s Cy Donnelly Stadium. The Piranhas currently sit first in the standings, and can secure their place in the postseason with a point against the Rough Riders.

    Long Island, on the other hand, needs a victory to try and bridge the gap to the second-place Washington Spirit Reserves. Should the Rough Riders fall, and the Spirit Reserves take victory, Long Island would be eliminated from contention from the postseason, and the Piranhas and Spirit Reserves would battle for the right to host the conference championship game.

    SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE

    The Dayton Dutch Lions have been the surprise story of the W-League season, and can close in on a place in the playoffs as they hit the road this weekend for a pair of games. Standing in their way, however, are two of the perennial powerhouses in the W-League, with the Charlotte Lady Eagles and Atlanta Silverbacks both harboring playoff aspirations of their own.

    Dayton opens on Friday night with a contest against the Lady Eagles at 7:30 p.m. ET (USLNation.com), with the Eagles sitting two points behind the first-place Dutch Lions with two games to play. Atlanta then plays host to Dayton on Sunday afternoon as it enters the weekend three points back. The Dutch Lions could clinch a place in the playoffs, and even the right to host the conference championship, with the right results, but could also be on the outside looking in should Charlotte and Atlanta both win.

    CENTRAL CONFERENCE

    The Central Conference race has been fought between three teams for much of the season, but K-W United could make it a four-horse race this weekend as it faces a pair of key contests against London and Laval. Currently sitting seven points out of the second playoff position in the conference, currently held by Laval, K-W opened up its week with a 2-1 win against the Toronto Lady Lynx, and faces London on Friday night knowing a win would set up a big game on Sunday against the Comets.

    Sunday’s game will also be a key one for Laval, regardless of K-W’s result on Friday night, as first-place Ottawa and third-place Toronto both host Quebec City, which has just one win this season. With the Fury and Lynx both looking set for three points, the Comets would need to win to hold onto second with two games remaining.

    WESTERN CONFERENCE

    After both the Seattle Sounders Women and Pali Blues fell a weekend ago, both will be looking to bounce back this weekend as they face key home contests while hoping to keep the LA Strikers at arm’s length in the race for the playoffs. The Sounders Women face a Santa Clarita Blue Heat side it defeated 2-1 earlier this season on Friday night at 7 p.m. PT (USLNation.com), while Pali is also in action on Friday as it faces the Colorado Rush.

    Pali, which sits a point behind the Sounders with a game in hand, could take top spot in the conference on Sunday as it hosts a Bay Area Breeze side that has struggled in its first W-League season. Should the Blues slip up in either contest, however, the door could open up for the LA Strikers, who will try to build off their win against Pali last week as they host the Rush in their final home game of the season.

    The Colorado Rapids Women have won their past four outings to remain mathematically alive, though they will need help to stay in the race as they trail Pali by two points with only one game remaining.


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  • 07/05/13--22:30: Battery, Lions Finish Level
  • Friday, July 5, 2013

    CHARLESTON, S.C. -- The Charleston Battery earned their fourth draw in four games on Friday night as played to a 1-1 tie against Orlando City at Blackbaud Stadium. 4,387 fans packed into the stadium for 90 minutes of action and a fireworks display in honor of the Fourth of July holiday.

    Photo courtesy Vin DuffyWith the draw, the Battery move to (7-3-6) and are now in lone possession of fifth place in the USL PRO standings with 27 points. Orlando City (7-6-3) remains in the top spot of USL PRO with 34 points.

    “It was a really great comeback by the guys tonight and a well deserved goal by Heviel," said Battery coach Mike Anhaeuser. "Hopefully that builds our confidence going for next week, we are going to turn around and play these guys right away. It’s unlucky that we didn’t get the three points tonight but it’s better than a loss.”

    Play through the first half was even between the two sides; both the Battery and Orlando City created quality scoring opportunities and were finding space through the midfield. Orlando City goalkeeper Jon Kempin made a pair of good saves to deny Mike Azira and Nicki Paterson, while Dane Kelly was also dangerous, but errent with his finishing. Orlando’s best chance of the first half came to Dennis Chin, who forced a good save from Odisnel Cooper.

    Charleston began to control more of the tempo in the second half, but were stopped in their tracks by an Orlando City goal in the 56th minute. Orlando defender Rob Valentino cleaned up on the rebound in front of the Battery net and buried it past Cooper after an Orlando City corner kick had initially come back off the left post.

    Orlando was reduced to 10 men in the 63rd minute as Adama Mbengue was sent off after an off-the-ball altercation with Charleston’s Jose Cuevas. The Battery pushed forward looking for an equalizer with their man advantage, but it appeared the Lions would hold on to take victory until Heviel Cordoves tallied his second goal of the season with a great effort in the 90th minute to give the Battery a late equalizer. Cordoves took a speculative shot from distance and got a lucky deflection as the ball sailed over Kempin.

    Up next, the Charleston Battery will travel to Orlando, Fla. on Thursday, July 11 for a second consecutive game against Orlando City. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. and the game will be streamed live at uslnation.com and on the air on 1450 AM WQNT.

     


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  • 07/06/13--22:52: Blues Grab Last-Gasp Victory
  • Saturday, July 6, 2013

    PITTSBURGH — The Los Angeles Blues rallied to take a 2-1 victory against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds on Saturday night at Highmark Stadium. The Riverhounds' Jose Angulo scored in the 21st minute to give the home side the lead, but the Blues' Duach Jock and Matt Fondy would tally goals in the second half as the visitors took their second consecutive win.

    The Riverhounds possessed the ball from the opening whistle and threatened the Blues goal multiple times in the first 15 minutes. Two quality shots from Kevin Kerr were turned away by Blues goalkeeper Carl Woszczynski.

    A combination between four Riverhounds players led to Angulo’s 11th goal of the season. Midfielder Alfonso Motagalvan received a pass from defender Mike Green at the edge of the offensive third. Motagalvan touched the pass around his marker for Kerr running past. Kerr played a first-time ball to Darren Amoo at the top of the penalty area, and he played a through-ball to spring Angulo slashing to the mouth of the goal. One-on-one with Woszczynski, Angulo calmly passed the ball around the goalkeeper and into the back of the net.

    The pace of the game slowed down following the Riverhounds' goal as the heat began to play a factor in the game. The teams went into the break with the Riverhounds holding a one-goal advantage. Coming out of intermission, the Blues made two personnel changes that proved extremely beneficial. Upon their insertion, strikers George Davis IV and Fondy completely changed the complexion of the game.

    In the 67th minute, Fondy battled for a loose ball at the edge of the Riverhounds penalty area to gain a dangerous set piece. Rodrigo Lopez bent the ball around the Riverhounds wall and on frame. Riverhounds goalkeeper Greg Blum dove to his left to parry the ball out, but not past Jock. Following Lopez’s shot, Jock slid to poke the ball past Blum and into the back of the net for the equalizer.

    Following Fondy’s lead, Davis IV came up with the game-winning assist in the 89th minute. Streaking down the right flank, Davis IV picked his head up to see Fondy slashing to the mouth of the goal. Davis IV delivered a cross between two Riverhounds defenders for his counterpart. Fondy volleyed home Davis IV’s cross from six yards out to provide the Blues with the lead.The Riverhounds had three quality opportunities to equalize in the remaining minute and stoppage time, but could not find the back of the net.

    The Riverhounds have an 11-day break and return to Highmark Stadium on July 17th against Orlando City. The match is scheduled for a 7 p.m. kickoff. The Blues travel to the State Capital for a mid-week game against the Harrisburg City Islanders. Their game is slated for a 7 p.m. kickoff at Skyline Sports Complex on City Island.


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    Wilmington Hammerheads News Release -- www.wilmingtonhammerheads.com

    Friday, July 5, 2013

    WILMINGTON, N.C. – The Wilmington Hammerheads are set to host the Harrisburg City Islanders at Legion Stadium on Saturday night just three days following their draw with Orlando City on Wednesday night. Wilmington has remained undefeated at Legion Stadium in their last five home matches this season.

    When the Hammerheads last encountered the City Islanders on June 5, each side remained scoreless in the first half. Harrisburg took a 1-0 lead early in the second half as the ball was deflected off Wilmington goalkeeper Philip Tuttle from a corner kick and into the back of the net. Harrisburg played with a man-advantage for the final 20 minutes of the game as Wilmington midfielder Daniel Steres was sent off after bringing down Harrisburg’s Stephen Basso, and Coady Andrews scored the City Islanders' second goal in the 75th minute as his side took victory.

    Harrisburg currently trails leader Orlando City by two points in the league standings, sitting in second place. The Hammerheads prevented Orlando from gaining a larger lead on Wednesday night as a late goal by Steres from the penalty spot earned a 2-2 draw, giving both teams one point.

    With nine matches left in their regular season, Wilmington is still looking to secure a spot in playoffs. Of those nine matches, six are scheduled at Legion Stadium as the Hammerheads look to make a run into the top eight and a place in the postseason.

    The Wilmington Hammerheads will travel in-state to face the Charlotte Eagles in their next game on Saturday, July 13 at Queens University for their next road match. For further information regarding the Wilmington Hammerheads, please contact (910) 777-2111 or visit www.wilmingtonhammerheads.com.

     


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  • 07/06/13--12:49: Rhinos Look To Bounce Back
  • Rochester Rhinos News Release -- www.rhinossoccer.com

    Friday, July 5, 2013

    ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The Rochester Rhinos will host the Charlotte Eagles in a USL PRO regular season match on Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. at Sahlen's Stadium. The Rhinos ended the month of June with a five-match unbeaten streak, but could not extended it into July as they lost to the Dayton Dutch Lions 3-1 on Thursday afternoon at Beavercreek Stadium.

    The Rochester Rhinos leading scorer Blake Brettschneider (four goals, three assists) opened the scoring for the visitors in the 38th minute, but Eli Garner scored the equalizer for the Dutch Lions in the 44th minute. Tjeerd Westdijk scored what would prove to be the game-winning goal off an assist from Garner in the 65th minute, and Gibson Bardsley finished off the scoring in the 80th minute.

    The Rhinos are unbeaten in their last six matches at Sahlen's Stadium, and they have picked up 10 of a possible 18 points during their unbeaten run. Rochester has outscored its opponents 9-5 during the unbeaten streak, and Rhinos goalkeeper Kristian Nicht has kept two clean sheets. Ten of the Rhinos' 15 points this season have come from results at Sahlen's Stadium, and Rochester's home form has kept the club in touch with the race for the 2013 USL PRO playoffs. The Rhinos enter Saturday night's match with Charlotte eight points behind the eighth-placed Los Angeles Blues with nine matches left to play. Rochester has never missed the playoffs in the club's 18-year history.

    Rochester has been led by a quartet of stars during their six-match home unbeaten run. Veteran Scottish striker Tam McManus has scored three goals and added one assist. Brettschneider has two goals and three assists. 2011 Rhinos MVP Tyler Rosenlund has two goals and one assist, while Nicht has posted a 2-0-4 record with two clean sheets, and he has made 30 saves on 45 shots faced.

    The Charlotte Eagles enter the match in fourth place in the USL PRO table with 28 points from their 7-2-7 record. Forward Christian Ramirez leads the club in scoring with five goals and one assist. Midfielder Jorge Herrera is second on the team in scoring with four goals and one assist. Defender Shaun Francis is a threat on set pieces with three goals and two assists. The Rhinos played to a 0-0 draw with the Eagles when they visited Queens Sports Complex on April 19th. Nicht made seven saves to keep his first clean sheet of the season.

    Individual tickets for Saturday night's contest are currently available, and they can be purchased by calling (585)454-KICK (5425), by visiting the MVP Health Care Box Office at Sahlen's Stadium, or by visiting ticketmaster.com. Individual tickets, group tickets and flex packages for the 2013 USL PRO season are also on sale now.


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    Friday, July 5, 2013

    WATERLOO, Ontario -- With playoff implications written all over the game, it seemed like an entirely new team walked into Laurier University Stadium on Friday evening. K-W United FC played to a 2-2 draw against the first-place Michigan Bucks thanks to a fabulous last-minute goal by midfielder Liam Collins.

    The game started off well for United, with a lot of chances early against Michigan goalkeeper Nate Steinwascher. United was able to beat Michigan's back four, but could not find the back of the net in the first half. In the second, a lapse in defense would hurt United in the 59th minute, when Gerald Ben of Michigan would beat goaltender Nathan Ingham and put the visitors up 1-0.

    However that wouldn't stop United, who would put all their pressure on Steinwasher and his defence. On a fabulous play, midfielder Will Grocott picked up a loose ball and sent it in the back of the net to tie up the game in the 61st minute.

    The two teams would battle back-and-forth over the next 15 minutes, but Michigan would get another break in the 78th minute as Zach Steinberger put home his 10th goal of the season to put the Bucks back ahead.

    With the Bucks up 2-1 and time running out, United pushed all of their players, including goalkeeper Ingham, inside the penalty area for a stoppage-time corner kick. Grocott would send the corner right into the box, and Ingham would just miss the opportunity for a header. However, Collins would pick up the loose ball just outside the penalty area and send his finish into the left-hand corner to tie up the game with a mere fifty seconds left to play in the game.

    The goal would prove decisive as the Bucks didn't have enough time to regain the lead, earning United a point. The draw, combined with FC London's 2-0 win against Toronto on Friday night, allowed London to pull within two points of Michigan, with a game in hand. United will next face Toronto on Sunday night at 7 p.m. ET at Laurier University. 

     


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    Sounders Women News Release - www.sounderswomen.com

    Friday, July 5, 2013

    TUKWILA, Wash. – The Sounders Women mounted an enormous comeback to top the Santa Clarita Blue Heat 3-2 in their final home game of the 2013 W-League season. The Sounders rallied from a 2-0 deficit in the first 10 minutes of the match to earn three much-needed points heading into their final game of the season.

    After dropping their past two results in a three-game homestand, the Sounders Women were on the verge of losing the last one as well. However, a late goal in the first half and two second-half tallies personified the team’s resilience all season.

    Santa Clarita’s Natalia Gomez-Junco stunned the crowd at Starfire Stadium 40 seconds into the match when she took a cross right in front of goal from Stacey Rodwell. Gomez-Junco settled the pass in front of her and finished the first-minute goal high in the net over the Sounders’ keeper to put her side on top.

    Despite surrendering such an early lead, the Sounders responded with energetic, aggressive play and came close on a couple of occasions to leveling the match early in the first half.

    In the sixth minute Rachel Mercik worked her way down the end line on her left side. With some fancy footwork, Mercik made room to loop a cross to the back post across the face of the goal. Keeper Cynthia Jacobo came out to the near post, and Mercik’s cross nearly fell behind her and into the goal, but it clipped the crossbar and the danger was cleared.

    Just when it looked like the Sounders Women might erase the early difference, the Blue Heat found a way to widen their first-half lead.

    The Sounders conceded a free kick to Santa Clarita in the ninth minute. Rodwell knuckled a shot from 26 yards and Erin McNulty was unable to hold onto the save. Tara Corcoran won the race to the free ball in the face of the goal and knocked it home for the 2-0 lead.

    The Sounders Women continued to fight through the deficit and finally got onto the scoreboard well in first-half stoppage time.

    The Blue Heat committed one of 27 fouls in a physical game, and Melissa Busque took a free kick looking to give her side a pivotal goal before the break. Busque sent a long-ball in from the right side of the midfield, and connected with the head of Brigit Reder. Reder barely got a touch on the cross, but directed it just enough to where Annie Sittauer could swing in the Sounders’ first goal from the far post. There was a dispute over a possible offsides but the officials deemed that the offside player did not deflect the shot.

    Coming out of the halftime break, the Sounders Women kept their momentum and came back out with the same goal-scoring mentality that they went into the break with.

    “During the halftime break we realized that this is our last home game, and we did not want to come out of here losing 2-0 or worse,” Jenna Richardson said. “We decided that we were not leaving this field without leaving absolutely everything out there.”

    The Sounders Women equalized when Richardson took a throw-in from the left side, turned into the penalty area, and roped a shot into the far side-netting. Richardson’s first goal of the season locked the score at 2-2 in the 52nd minute of the match.

    The Sounders Women now looked to get on the winning side of the scoreline, and continued to put together fluid attacking chances. Lindsay Elston nearly connected with Lyndsey Patterson in the 65th minute. Elston sent a cross in from the left to Patterson who met the ball right in front of the goal. Some heavy contact in the box from the Santa Clarita defender broke up the go-ahead opportunity.

    In the 69th minute, the Sounders Women completed the comeback scoring their third unanswered goal, and the game-winner, off of the calm conversion of a penalty kick by Melissa Busque.

    Busque retreaved an Allie Beahan cross from the left side, and juked a defender before her first shot. The save careened back to her and as Busque attempted to shoot again, she was brought down. Busque drove the penalty shot home for the game-winner with her right foot, to the left of Jacobo.

    With the lead in hand, the Sounders Women were now trying to defend it, and some quality play late from goalkeeper McNulty helped solidify the victory for her squad.

    In the 81st minute, Blue Heat striking Ana Borges was knocking on the door for the leveling goal when she took a though-ball near the top of the box. McNulty anticipated the play well, and came off of her line to limit Borges’ space. McNulty made a fabulous save with her left foot as Borges tried to squeeze it by her, and the danger was eliminated.

    The Sounders Women held on through five minutes of stoppage time and tallied crucial points towards sealing a playoff berth.

    The Sounders Women remain atop the Western Conference standings as they head to the Bay Area Breeze on July 14. The game will be broadcast live on 1150AM, or 1150KKNW.com.


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    Victoria Highlanders News Release -- www.victoriahighlandersfc.com

    Thursday, July 4, 2013

    VICTORIA, B.C. -- Victoria Highlanders FC (8-1-2) travels to Washington on Saturday to take on the Crossfire (6-3-2). The Highlanders can clinch a playoff berth with a victory and would be just one point away from clinching the division. Washington must win each of its last three regular season matches in order to maintain contention for the playoffs.

    The two teams first met just over a month ago on June 8th at Royal Athletic Park. Play was fairly even, but the Highlanders outshot Washington 16-11 and walked away with a 2-0 victory. Washington goalkeeper Spencer Richey made four saves on the day but couldn’t stop Jordie Hughes in the 36th minute when he tapped in a rebound off a shot by Brett Levis. In the 79th minute, Andrew Ravenhill drove a low cross that found Levis’ foot and he was able to put it away for the two goal lead. Victoria’s keeper Elliot Mitrou matched Richey’s four saves to be awarded the shut-out. The shut-out was preserved by defender Ryan Ashlee in the 84th minute when he made a miraculous sliding block after a miscue of Mitrou.

    Victoria has gone six matches undefeated. They have scored less than two goals only once this season and their offence is going on all cylinders. The Crossfire lost last week’s game to Kitsap Pumas and are now in “do-or-die” mode. Saturday’s match should feature a lot of emotion as the regular season is down to the last three games for both teams and every point has playoff implications. This weekend could both secure a bye in the playoffs for the Highlanders and end Washington’s playoff hopes.

    Come join us for the Highlanders last home game of the regular season on Saturday, July 13th, when we take on the Portland Timbers U-23s at 7 p.m. at Royal Athletic Park. Get your tickets here.

     


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