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Articles on this Page
- 08/07/13--14:27: _Pali Stint Leads Ni...
- 08/08/13--16:41: _In Pictures: The 20...
- 08/09/13--09:45: _National Guard Clin...
- 08/10/13--14:14: _Harrisburg Set To H...
- 08/09/13--14:06: _PDL Director Eyes B...
- 08/10/13--14:14: _Kickers Return Home...
- 08/10/13--22:16: _Kickers Sweep Past ...
- 08/10/13--22:54: _Mkosana Lifts Islan...
- 08/11/13--23:14: _Riverhounds Clinch ...
- 08/11/13--23:21: _Orlando Gets Past S...
- 08/12/13--10:57: _Cobras Continue Pla...
- 08/12/13--17:29: _Brundage Reaches Pr...
- 08/13/13--13:05: _Herrera Named Playe...
- 08/13/13--09:31: _Sounders' McNulty H...
- 08/13/13--09:07: _Playoff Picture Com...
- 08/14/13--11:35: _2013 Super-20 First...
- 08/14/13--15:40: _PDL Standouts In TD...
- 08/17/13--01:27: _Rhinos Take Dramati...
- 08/16/13--10:31: _Tampa Bay Faces Mus...
- 08/15/13--22:15: _Battery Ease Past B...
- 08/07/13--14:27: Pali Stint Leads Nick to Sky Blue
- 08/08/13--16:41: In Pictures: The 2013 PDL Championship
- 08/09/13--09:45: National Guard Clinic Returns to FASA
- 08/10/13--14:14: Harrisburg Set To Host Tampa Bay
- 08/09/13--14:06: PDL Director Eyes Bright Future
- 08/10/13--14:14: Kickers Return Home, Host Dayton
- 08/10/13--22:16: Kickers Sweep Past Dutch Lions
- 08/10/13--22:54: Mkosana Lifts Islanders Past Tampa Bay
- 08/11/13--23:14: Riverhounds Clinch Place In Playoffs
- 08/11/13--23:21: Orlando Gets Past Sounders Reserves
- 08/12/13--10:57: Cobras Continue Playing Abroad
- 08/12/13--17:29: Brundage Reaches Pro Ranks in Finland
- 08/13/13--13:05: Herrera Named Player of the Week
- 08/13/13--09:31: Sounders' McNulty Heads to Norway
- 08/13/13--09:07: Playoff Picture Coming Into Focus
- 08/14/13--11:35: 2013 Super-20 First 11 Rankings
- 08/14/13--15:40: PDL Standouts In TDS Top 100
- 08/17/13--01:27: Rhinos Take Dramatic Victory
- 08/16/13--10:31: Tampa Bay Faces Must-Win Game
- 08/15/13--22:15: Battery Ease Past Barracudas
Wednesday, August 7, 2013
TAMPA, Fla. - As Ashley Nick was walking off the stand at IMG Academy on July 28, W-League Championship Most Valuable Player trophy in hand, she started to wonder when her next game of soccer would be.
It didn’t take long for her to find out.
“As I was coming off the stage my coach, Charlie [Naimo], just pulled me to the side and he was like, ‘would you want to play for Sky Blue for the rest of the season?’,” Nick said by phone this week. “And I said, ‘yes, please’, and it went in a good direction from there.”
Following a standout summer for the W-League champion Blues that saw her earn All-League honors in addition to her Championship MVP award, Nick was quickly added by Sky Blue FC of the NWSL ahead of last week’s roster freeze. This past weekend she made her debut for the club, coming on as a halftime substitute in a 1-0 win against the Washington Spirit. The victory solidified Sky Blue’s third place in the league standings as it moved within a win of clinching a place in the postseason.
For Nick, who had returned this past December from playing in Europe for FC Twente in the Netherlands and Norway’s Arna-Bjørnar, the goal was always to try and find a place in the new professional league. How quickly that opportunity came about, however, is in part testament to the outstanding performances she put in while playing for the Blues this summer.
“It was great timing for us,” Sky Blue coach Jim Gabarra said. “She’d been playing in some competitive games in the W-League and going to the final four and all that, so you’re getting a player that’s certainly in good form, and from what I know of Ashley I think she’d be an easy fit, integrating into our club at such a late time in the season.”
A former All-American at Southern Cal, Nick took a position with her alma mater as the Director of Operations for the Trojans women’s soccer program, but still continued to play whenever possible. Playing for Pali was a logical step toward finding her way into the NWSL, with a number of young and veteran standouts to play alongside, and against in the W-League’s Western Conference.
“It was a really good atmosphere,” Nick said. “Charlie’s a great coach, and as far as my teammates as well, we pushed each other and they were all preparing for their college season. It was just a really good atmosphere to really push myself to be as good as I could be as well.”
The passion Nick has for the game came at a young age. She recalls her parents telling her when she first decided she wanted to play soccer as a 5-year-old that they said, ‘oh, no, honey, no-one in America plays soccer.’
“So I cried, and cried, and cried and pitched a big fit, and they signed me up and I’ve been playing ever since,” Nick continued. “I think the passion was just there. There’s not a feeling of happiness that comes more than when I’m on the field, and I think it’s that I’ve lived the life of a footballer completely.”
That love of the game took Nick from USC to play overseas, where she captained FC Twente to the Dutch championship and competed in the UEFA Women’s Champions League. As she made her way forward with Sky Blue last week, Nick said, there wasn’t any nervousness, even when Gabarra called upon her to get ready for the second half against Washington.
“I think when I got the call to come to Sky Blue I was just excited,” Nick said. “My first thought was, ‘yes, I get to play again on Saturday’ in my head.
“Of course, there’s a little bit of nerves because I care and I want to perform well, but I just went out there and while I was warming up I just told myself I’ve been playing this game for 20 years, I know what to do, it’s universal, and that [Gabarra] wouldn’t have come and asked me to play if I wasn’t doing something that the team needed or that he liked. I didn’t need to freak myself out and think I needed to perform some magic thing that I don’t have the cards to do, I just had to do what I like to do, and that’s play soccer and keep the ball, and I think it went pretty well.”
From Gabarra’s perspective, Nick fills a need for his side as it prepares for the postseason.
“We were looking at adding someone who was a little more athletic to our roster,” he said. “I think we have a lot of good soccer players, but we’ve had some tough matchups against some of the more physical teams, and she brings a good physical presence to the middle of the field, plus she’s a good player. We always want good players, good understanding of the game and would be able to fit into the way we want to play, which is possession and attack-oriented soccer.”
As for next season, the mutual interest between Nick and Sky Blue is there for the midfielder to be with the team from the start of the season. Should that come about, no-one will be happier about it than Nick herself.
“I’m definitely thrilled with how everything came together,” she said. “I was just talking with someone the other day, in the midst of the whole week, how everything with Pali had gone, and my transition over here, how I had met some new people along the way, and we both decided that I could probably have had ESPN’s best week ever.”
Thursday, August 8, 2013
The Austin Aztex claimed their first PDL championship this past Sunday night in front of a crowd of 4,253 fans at House Park. Take a look back at the action with some of the best photos of the Aztex’s 3-1 victory against the Thunder Bay Chill.
The Austin Aztex, in white, and Thunder Bay Chill process onto the field ahead of the 2013 PDL Championship Game, led by PDL Senior Director Ryan Brooks and Thunder Bay Chill Owner John Marello, who greeted the teams before kickoff.
The Austin Aztex and Thunder Bay Chill, and the packed crowd at House Park, face the flags for the singing of national anthems of Canada and the United States. The 4,253 in attendance was a record crowd for the Aztex.
Austin Aztex goalkeeper Devin Cook, who was an All-Southern Conference selection in 2013, prepares for kickoff in front of the Aztex’s supporter’s group, Eberly’s Army.
The Thunder Bay Chill celebrate Pedro Adan’s second-minute goal that gave them an early lead against Austin. Adan was on hand to blast home a rebound after Zetroy Alexander’s initial shot had been turned on frame to put the regular-season champions on top.
Austin’s Sito Seoane puts away a penalty kick past Thunder Bay goalkeeper Daniel Alvarado to tie the game in the seventh minute. The penalty kick was Alvarado’s first action in the game after he was brought on to replace starter Stephen Paterson, who had been sent off after bringing down Aztex forward Kris Tyrpak in the fourth minute, a foul which resulted in the penalty.
Austin forward Sito Seoane claimed the PDL Championship Most Valuable Player award after scoring twice in Sunday’s 3-1 victory. Seoane finished the postseason with five goals in four games, including the game-winning goal in each of the Aztex’s victories on the way to the title.
Austin Aztex captain Zack Pope, left, and Aaron Guillen celebrate following a stoppage-time goal that gave the Aztex a 3-1 halftime lead against Thunder Bay. Pope played a big role in the side’s success during the weekend, providing the cross that led to the second goal in the championship game.
The Austin Aztex regroup in front of Eberly’s Army after taking a 3-1 lead against the Thunder Bay Chill in first-half stoppage time.
A panoramic view of House Park at the start of the second half between the Austin Aztex and Thunder Bay Chill. The 2013 PDL Championship Game was the highest-attended since 2007, when the game was also hosted in Texas by the Laredo Heat.
Austin Aztex captain Zack Pope lifts the PDL Championship Trophy following his side’s 3-1 victory against the Thunder Bay Chill. The win capped a remarkable season for Austin that saw the club go 10-0-0 in the PDL at House Park, lose just once in league play, and see standout forward Kris Tyrpak earn PDL Most Valuable Player honors and Paul Dalglish take Coach of the Year honors.
USL News Release
Friday, August 9, 2013
TAMPA, Fla. – The Fredericksburg Area Soccer Association will host a second soccer clinic presented by United Soccer Leagues and the National Guard from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. this Sunday, August 11 at FASA Park, its new soccer-specific complex in Fredericksburg, Va. U.S. Women’s National Team stars Megan Rapinoe and Ali Krieger will be special guests at the free clinic, the second to be hosted by FASA.
The FASA clinic is for high school-aged boys and girls and is free to the more than 100 players who will be in attendance. The clinic curriculum will focus on individual foot skills, technical drills, tactical practices, small-sided games and coached scrimmages, all presented in a fun, positive learning environment.
The clinic’s professional trainers will include a combination of college coaches from the University of Mary Washington, USSF-licensed coaches and UMW players with the assistance of Rapinoe and Krieger. The training sessions are designed to introduce, sharpen, and challenge every player, help prepare them for their upcoming season, and take them to the next level of their development.
“We are extremely excited to be hosting this event at our new facility and working with USL and the National Guard once again,” FASA General Manager Pete Cinalli said. “Our initial camp was a huge success, and with the addition of Ali and Megan, this will certainly be a very special and unique experience for the players. They will not only receive quality on-field training, but also get insight from two of the top professional players in the country.”
Lunch will be provided for participants while Rapinoe and Krieger conduct a Q&A session for attendees between sessions. Additionally, a National Guard representative will share with the group how the National Guard can assist them in reaching their goals while in college.
"The National Guard is honored to be working in conjunction with USL and FASA to host local high school soccer players in an upcoming clinic,” SFC David Therrell said. “Our goal is to provide these young athletes with exceptional training and an opportunity to learn about the benefits of the National Guard. It is important to us that these players are given the opportunity to learn more about playing soccer in college from college coaches and what it’s like to serve in the National Guard from local Guardsmen, all at no charge to them.”
Harrisburg City Islanders News Release -- www.cityislanders.com
Friday, August 9, 2013
HARRISBURG, Pa. -- The Harrisburg City Islanders will play their final regular season home game on Saturday night against VSI Tampa Bay FC at 7 p.m. The Islanders will look to end their 2013 home campaign on a high note after dropping their previous game to fifth-place Charlotte on Wednesday night.
Even though the Islanders are already in the playoffs they can get a stronger hold on their third place spot in the league with a win on Saturday. VSI, however, is still fighting for one of the last playoff spots. They currently sit out side the playoffs in ninth place, but only trail the Dayton Dutch Lions and Pittsburgh Riverhounds by three points. A win on the Island could push them into one of those last spot in the USL PRO Playoffs.
The Islanders defeated VSI a few weeks ago in Tampa Bay by a final score of 2-0. This game marked the start of the resurgence of Lucky Mkosana as a scoring threat, and he has been on a tear through the league ever since. He has scored seven goals in six games including a hat trick against Dayton that saw him earn USL PRO Player of the Week honors.
Tampa Bay has been getting scoring from around the whole team, but Mauricio Salles De Allencar has led the team all season and currently has 18 points with eight goals and two assists. Tampa Bay has also been getting great goalkeeping from Alexander Horwarth, who has six shutouts on the season.
Tampa Bay has been winless in its past four games and are just coming off tough back-to-back games with second-place Orlando City. VSI gave up a late goal to the Lions on Wednesday night to fall 3-2 at the Florida Citrus Bowl. With the season coming to a close very fast all of the games are important for playoff positioning and playoff berths. Tampa Bay will come to City Island as a team needing a win to keep their hopes alive.
Saturday is TEAM PHOTO Night! The first 1,000 fans will receive a free TEAM PHOTO compliments of ACS Printing. For information and tickets on the Harrisburg City Islanders please visit www.cityislanders.com or call (717)-441-GOAL.
Friday, August 9, 2013
TAMPA, Fla. -- As I reflect upon this past weekend’s 2013 PDL Championship presented by Nike which fielded the Ocean City Nor’easters, Victoria Highlanders, Thunder Bay Chill, and Austin Aztex in a final four format, I was pleased in many areas. This is my first year as the PDL Senior Director and I was fortunate to see the future of North American soccer from an organizational and technical standpoint.
Organizationally, you cannot ask for much more than the Aztex provided. The work done by the club’s staff, led by Ric Granyard, was a big reason there were more than 3,000 fans for the semifinal and 4,200 at the final on Sunday night which provided an electric atmosphere at House Park in Austin, Texas. The Aztex’s supporters group, Eberly’s Army, and the fans that had made the trip from Ontario, New Jersey and British Columbia were an integral part of the experience as the players felt like they were in a professional venue, which in essence, they were. My background as an assistant coach in Major League Soccer leads me to believe there were many professional prospects that I witnessed play last weekend.
I had an opportunity to speak with each of the four organizations during the four days I spent in Austin, and while they were “in the moment” with their team’s immediate future, they were eager to talk about the development of their club through their youth system. Each were excited to point out the 18- or 19-year-old that is “waiting in the wings” and learning in their environment. They all acknowledged they are taking a chance by going younger in the next few years but know in the grand scheme of things their mission is to put players in situations that will help them become professionals one day.
To me, that sums up perfectly the purpose of the PDL. By affording college-age players the chance to develop their games, so that in the fall they can either pick up where they left off, in the case of an All-American like Reading United and Georgetown’s Steven Neumann, or use the experience they gain as a springboard to greater playing time and success. As a result, the PDL is helping grow another generation of players that will be key contributors in Major League Soccer and USL PRO in years to come.
In addition, the use of overage players, such as Nolan Intermoia of Thunder Bay and Zack Pope of Austin, provides the younger players with the leadership and direction of how to be a pro in conjunction with the coaching staff. Pope’s influence on the Aztex, which was evident on and off the field as club captain, was a key factor in the club’s success this season. When players are held accountable not just by coaches, but by their teammates, they improve, and teams earn success.
As shown in the PDL Championship, the players and clubs throughout the league have a bright future, and I feel very fortunate to be leading the development of North American soccer in the 18-23 year old age group. Our goals remain high as we help develop future professionals from our current crop of players, and prepare for those who will become part of the league in years to come.
Richmond Kickers News Release -- www.richmondkickers.com
Friday, August 9, 2013
RICHMOND, Va. – The Richmond Kickers return to City Stadium this Saturday night to host the Dayton Dutch Lions at 7 p.m. Admission is just $10 for the whole family before 6 p.m. as the Kickers and Chick-Fil-A present FAMILY FEST. With a one-of-a-kind fun zone, presented by Bounce 2 The Moon, the fun begins when the gates open at 4 p.m. with inflatable games, train rides, live music, food and beverage trucks and fun for the whole family.
Saturday’s match will be critical in shaping the final USL PRO standings as the Kickers hold a narrow lead over Orlando City on tiebreakers at the top of the table with a 13-1-9 record and 48 points after splitting a back-to-back road trip to the Carolinas last week. First, the Kickers clinched a berth to the playoffs and secured a home game in the quarterfinals of the USL PRO Playoffs with a hard-fought 1-0 win over the Charlotte Eagles. Midfielder Joseph Ngwenya netted the lone goal while goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra posted his league-leading ninth shutout.
Twenty-four hours later, the Charleston Battery snapped the Kickers 24-game unbeaten streak, handing the league-leaders a devastating 5-2 loss. Conceding an early two-goal lead, the Kickers pulled a goal back on an Alex Lee tally just before halftime. The Kickers were able to cut the deficit to one goal for a second time after forward Matthew Delicâte converted a rebound with 18 minutes to go, but the visitors could not overcome two late goals by the Battery.
Meanwhile, the Dutch Lions enter Saturday’s match on the back of a two-game home and away series against the Wilmington Hammerheads. After suffering a 1-0 loss at home last week, the Dutch Lions take to the road to face the Hammerheads in Wilmington on Friday before taking on the Kickers one day later. With a record of 9-7-7 and 34 points, the Dutch Lions currently reside in sixth place in the USL PRO standings, just five points from the coveted fourth place spot that secures home field advantage for the quarterfinals of the playoffs.
Carrying a 6-0-1 series advantage into the weekend, the Kickers meet the third-year Dutch Lions for the second time this season. The two clubs last met at Beavercreek Stadium in early July when end-to-end action saw Brandon Swartzendruber give the Dutch Lions a fourth minute lead, which they carried through the first 45 minutes until a pair of Luke Vercollone tallies, followed by a Michael Seaton goal put the Kickers on top in the second half. Dayton defender Greg Preciado pulled a goal back with three minutes remaining in regulation but the Kickers defense shut down the home side’s late-game attack to come away with a 3-2 victory.
Players to Watch
Kickers: Discovered at the Kickers combine and signing with the pro team just 24 hours before the season opener, Nate Robinson earned his fourth USL PRO Team of the Week nod after posting his team-high ninth assist on the game-winning goal against Charlotte last week. Following his collegiate career at University of Detroit Mercy, the midfielder spent the 2012 season with the Michigan Bucks of the PDL.
After scoring the lone goal for the Kickers in a 1-0 win in Charlotte, midfielder Joseph Ngwenya further cemented himself as the club’s leading scorer this season with nine goals and four assists overall. Bringing eight years of MLS experience to Richmond, the Zimbabwean international most recently spent the 2011 season with D.C. United before signing with the Kickers prior to the 2013 campaign.
The only player to appear in all 25 matches this season, William Yomby anchors the stingiest defensive unit in USL PRO, conceding just 22 goals through all competitions. Doubling as an offensive threat, adding a goal and an assist on the season, the Cameroonian defender recently contributed to his 11th shutout in Charlotte last week.
Dutch Lions: Forward Gibson Bardsley leads the Dutch Lions for the second consecutive season since signing with the club prior to the 2012 campaign. Adding an assist on the opening goal against the Kickers, the Fall City, Wash. native has amassed eight goals and five assists for 21 points this season.
Defender Greg Preciado was named to the USL PRO Team of the Week this week after notching his second goal of the season against the Rochester Rhinos as the Dutch Lions recently rallied for a 3-1 win. In his sophomore season with the Dutch Lions, the 6-foot-0 defender posted his first-ever goal in a Dutch Lions uniform against the Kickers in July.
Featuring for nearly every minute of every game played so far during the 2013 campaign, midfielder Joel DeLass has notched six goals and added one assist. Signing with Dayton in 2011 after spending one season with the Charlotte Eagles, he was named to the USL PRO All-League Second Team in 2012.
USL PRO Playoff Structure
The Richmond Kickers will enter postseason play in the Quarterfinal Round on Saturday, August 24 at City Stadium. The 2013 USL PRO Playoffs will include the top eight finishers in the table (No. 1 vs. No. 8, No. 2 vs. No. 7, etc.), with the Kickers first-round opponent to be determined. The Semifinals featuring the four remaining teams will be played the following weekend, with the 2013 USL PRO Championship set for the weekend of September 6-8. All playoff rounds feature a single-game knockout format and teams will not be re-seeded following each round.
Saturday, August 10, 2013
RICHMOND, Va. – The Richmond Kickers remained undefeated at City Stadium and teed up a chance for the USL PRO Regular Season Championship with a 5-2 win against the Dayton Dutch Lions on Saturday night. Matthew Delicate and Brian Ownby thrilled the crowd of 4,014 with a pair of goals apiece, with Nate Robinson adding a fifth. Eli Garner and an own goal put the Dutch Lions back into contention but the visitors could not overcome the early deficit as the Kickers took sole possession of first place in the USL PRO standings heading into Wednesday’s regular season home finale.
Looking to rebound after last week’s loss, the Kickers jumped out to an early lead when defender Henry Kalungi played a long ball from midfield in the sixth minute. At the left edge of the box, Delicate chested the ball down, took a touch around his defender and slotted a low shot that pinged off the inside of the far post before rolling over the goal line.
The Dutch Lions nearly leveled the score in the 15th minute when a build up in the midfield saw Shintaro Harada play a short pass to Irakli Khutsidze, who played the ball wide to an unmarked Taylor Lord on the right wing. The defender served a cross into a swarming box, finding Brandon Swartzendruber in the air who headed the ball back to Khutsidze at the top of the box, only to see his effort soar skyward.
The Kickers forced goalkeeper Matt Williams into action three minutes later when Robinson raced to the right touchline to keep the ball in play and fed it through to Joseph Ngwenya. The Zimbabwean international eluded his defender and played the ball back to Robinson who calmly attempted a low driven shot from the top of the box but Williams dove to his right to parry it wide.
Keeping up the offensive pressure with Ownby and Delicate both in hot pursuit, the Kickers’ persistence was rewarded just past the half hour mark when defender Sascha Görres played a cross from the left side, picking out a streaking Ownby at the penalty spot who redirected a diving header to the upper corner.
The home side’s celebrations were short lived, however, as Dayton pulled a goal back less than two minutes later when Khutsidze delivered a through-ball to an awaiting Garner who powered into the box, beat his defender and rocketed a shot into the back of the net.
The flurry of activity did not end there as the Kickers answered back 30 seconds later when Görres’ again made a run down the left wing and lobbed a cross into the mix, this time finding Delicate, who headed the ball just inside the far post from point blank range for his second goal, the Kickers third, of the half.
The action picked up where it left off after the restart when Alex Lee swept the ball away in Dayton territory, playing Robinson open at midfield. The swift playmaker turned goalscorer after barreling through the field and burying a shot from just inside the box.
Hoping to pull a goal back in the 63rd minute, Dayton delivered an inswinging corner into the teeming box from the left side, finding Swartzendruber lurking at the back post. As goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra came out to challenge, Kickers midfielder Mike Callahan saved the day with a clearance off the line.
Seconds later, the Dutch Lions got a break when Greg Preciado raced down the right wing, beat his mark and carried the ball into the box before sending a low cross to the back post. Kalungi threw himself in the line of fire in an attempt to clear the ball but it ricocheted backwards for an own goal.
The Kickers recovered from the misfortune in the 68th minute when Robinson steamrolled down the left flank and centered the ball for Ownby stationed 12 yards out who made no mistake for his second goal of the night.
With 10 minutes remaining in regulation, the Kickers made history when Academy players Evan Fowler and Vaughn Fowler entered the match, each making his first-team debut. The latter nearly added a goal when he got on the end of a Robinson cross at the far post but his shot from four yards was smothered by the Dayton keeper.
The Kickers return to City Stadium to host Orlando City in a showdown for the regular season title on Wednesday, August 14. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. and tickets are on sale now at RichmondKickers.com.
Saturday, August 10, 2013
HARRISBURG, Pa. -- The Harrisburg City Islanders were able to bounce back from the tough loss on Wednesday to win their final home game of the USL PRO regular season with a 3-1 victory against VSI Tampa Bay FC on Saturday night at Skyline Sports Complex. All three goals were scored by Lucky Mkosana, who has now scored 10 goals in his last seven games and recorded his second hat trick of the season.
With the win the Islanders now have a winning record at home, which gives them momentum as they could possibly be back at Skyline very shortly in the quarterfinals of the USL PRO Playoffs. The top four teams in the USL PRO regular-season standings will host in the opening round of the postseason.
The game started off with back and forth play as neither side was able to keep possession for more than a few passes. The game was also a physical one, which saw tensions run high at times as both teams were playing tough soccer.
The Islanders had the first quality chance of the game when a long pass was played into the box to Yann Ekra, who headed on goal by straight at Tampa Bay goalkeeper Alex Horwath. Harrisburg goalkeeper Nick Noble helped keep the game scoreless early on with a big save on Mauricio Salles when he found space behind the Islanders defense. Salles snuck in and received a pass from across the field and took a hard shot, but Noble was right there to make the save.
With five minutes to go before halftime, Mkosana was able to find a hole in the VSI defense and Don Anding was able to pick him out with a searching ball. The Zimbabwean put his side ahead at the halftime break as he netted his eleventh goal of the year, but he was not done.
Noble came up big again early in the second half to keep the Isles ahead. A hard cross came soaring into the box and once again met the head of Salles, and once again Noble was up to the task with a great diving save. VSI finally broke through just after an hour with a great effort after sloppy play by the Isles in their own penalty area. The ball was bouncing around and fell perfectly for Salles to attempt a bicycle kick. He flipped over and struck it true, and while Noble was able to get a hand to the shot, it ended up in the roof of the net.
Just six minutes after VSI tied the game, however, Mkosana found the back of the net again to restore the City Islanders’ lead. After a few quick moves in midfield, Matt Bahner was able to find space and bolt toward goal. Bahner put a low cross into the penalty area, which met the sliding foot of Mkosana, whose finish gave him sole possession of the scoring lead for the team.
Mkosana’s third goal came after a total team effort with eight minutes to go. Quality play in the corner by Tom Mellor, Jimmy McLaughlin and Steven Basso led to Mkosana getting a great look at goal at the top of the penalty area, and after finding space to shoot as he was pressed by a defender he curled a shot into the top-right corner of the net for his 13th goal of the season.
With the win, the City Islanders maintained their hold on third place in the USL PRO standings. They have one game remaining in the season and that is away against the Dayton Dutch Lions next Saturday, August 17th at 7 p.m. This will be the final game for the Islanders before the USL PRO Playoffs.
For tickets and information on the Islanders please visit www.cityislanders.com or call (717)-441-GOAL.
Sunday, August 11, 2013
PITTSBURGH — On a beautiful Sunday afternoon in Station Square, the Pittsburgh Riverhounds defeat VSI Tampa Bay 3-2 and clinched a berth into the USL PRO Playoffs. In a critical match-up for a ticket into the postseason, the Riverhounds and Tampa Bay didn’t disappoint the sold-out crowd, as five goals were scored in the second half to deliver an exciting atmosphere at Highmark Stadium. With goals from Jose Angulo, Rob Vincent, and Darren Amoo, along with a “Jersey off the Back” raffle, the Riverhounds raised more than $15,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
After a scorless first half, the Riverhounds would strike first in the 53rd minute when Angulo converted from the penalty spot. Driving down the right flank with speed, Mike Seamon would travel more than 60 yards on the break. Cutting inside the penalty area to hold off his marker, Seamon would attempt a cross for Angulo, but his service struck the arm of Josh Rife at the near post. The referee awarded the Riverhounds a penalty kick and Angulo stepped up to score the game’s first goal as he shot into the left corner of the net.
Seven minutes later, second-half substitute Stefan Lundberg took a page out of Seamon’s book and drove down the left flank with speed. Waiting for his teammates to join him in the attack, Lundberg found defender Mike Green in the left corner. Green played a ball back for Alfonso Motagalvan at the edge of the penalty area. Motagalvan set the ball back for Vincent racing into the attack, and the midfielder took a touch before he rifled a shot that tucked just inside the left upright to put the Riverhounds up 2-0.
The Riverhounds counter-attacked well throughout the second half, and their third goal came on a combination between multiple players inside their own defensive third. Following the combination, Motagalvan found Angulo all alone on the right flank with a ball over the top. Traveling with speed towards Tampa Bay’s goal, Angulo slotted a ball towards the penalty spot for Amoo. Taking a first-time shot with his favored left foot, Amoo passed the ball past VSI goalkeeper Alex Horwarth to provide the Riverhounds with a three-goal lead in the 68th minute.
With playoff implications on the line, Tampa Bay would record its first goal of the game one minute after Amoo’s goal. Mauricio Salles found Cheyne Roberts overlapping into the right corner. Roberts delivered a cross towards the middle of the penalty area for Chad Burt, who took a first-time shot on frame that was blocked by Hunter Gilstrap, but his save was not cleared. Following up his shot, Burt’s second effort would find the back of the net.
Tampa Bay would cut the lead to one goal with five minutes remaining. Receiving a dangerous set piece on right flank, Salles would deliver a cross for Andryy Budnyy 12 yards from goal. Rising up in the crowd, Budnyy’s header would deflect off of a Riverhounds Andrew Marshall and at his feet. Taking a touch out of pressure, Budnyy would pass the ball around Gilstrap, but that would be the final goal of the game as Tampa Bay’s late rally came up short and the Riverhounds booked their place in the postseason.
The Riverhounds return to USL PRO action next Wednesday in North Carolina. The Pittsburgh side will meet the Wilmington Hammerheads at 7:30 p.m. in Legion Stadium. Tampa Bay returns to the Sunshine State next Friday to match-up with the Charlotte Eagles. The match is slated for a 7:30 p.m. start at Plant City Stadium.
Sunday, August 11, 2013
ORLANDO, Fla. — Orlando City SC defeated the visiting Seattle Sounders Reserves 2-0 on Sunday night in front of 10,697 fans, marking a regular season attendance record at Fifth Third Bank Field at the Florida Citrus Bowl. Kevin Molino and Rob Valentino were the goal-scorers for Orlando, propelling City back into a tie for first place in the USL PRO standings with the Richmond Kickers.
“One of the most pleasing performances of the season,” said Head Coach Adrian Heath after the win. “As a unit, from the front to the back, I thought we played really well.”
The Lions had a terrific start to the match, when Molino collected an errant pass deep in the Sounders’ half in the opening minute. The Trinidad & Tobago international ran at the Seattle defense and had Dennis Chin and Jean Alexandre in space, but decided to go for goal on his own.
The 2012 USL PRO MVP hit a hard strike from just outside the area, causing a deflection off Sounders’ defender Zach Scott and into the back of the net to give City an early one-goal lead. Molino’s effort came just 36 seconds into the match, and marked the fastest goal in the club’s history.
Seattle responded moments later with a chance of its own, when David Estrada found himself on the end of a well-placed cross. Estrada’s timed his run to perfection and nearly scored, but defensive stalwart Valentino was there to clear it off the line.
As the half continued, City held the majority of possession and looked threatening each time they ventured forward into Seattle’s defensive third. Midfielders Luke Boden and Molino were heavily involved in each of the attacking plays; however Valentino would be the one to provide the Lions with their second goal of the half.
The defender’s goal stemmed from a corner kick, when Anthony Pulis swung in a curling ball to the near post. Valentino surged past the Seattle defense and used the outside of his foot to flick the ball past Sounders Reserves goalkeeper Andrew Weber in the 30th minute.
Seattle also held several chances of their own through the first half, showing their MLS quality in brief spells. However, skipper Miguel Gallardo and the Lion’s back line remained firm and maintained a clean sheet heading into halftime.
To begin the second half, Seattle’s defense looked a bit sharper than it did in the opening period. The gaping holes that allowed Alexandre and Dennis Chin to get in behind and create opportunities were tightened up, and moving forward became more difficult for the Lions’ attacking players.
However, Heath brought on Chinese forward Long Tan for Alexandre early in the second-half, providing energy and fresh legs to the City front-line. Shortly after his entry, Tan began combining effectively with Molino and Chin in the final third, yielding several chances. Chin found himself on the end of a few of those opportunities and was unlucky to not convert after hitting the crossbar in what seemed to be a clear-cut chance. Despite their probing efforts, the second-half would remain scoreless and the match would finish with a 2-0 victory in favor of Orlando.
The win clinches a potential home semifinal match for the Lions, which is scheduled for Friday, August 30. Moving forward, Orlando has a stretch of crucial matches. City is set to travel to play the Kickers in Richmond, Va., on Wednesday night in a game that could potentially determine who takes home the 2013 USL PRO Regular Season Championship. The Lions will then return home to take on the Charlotte Eagles, on August 17, before their quarterfinal playoff match- set for Saturday, August 24. The playoff match will kickoff at 7:30 p.m., and the opponent is yet to be determined.
Carolina Elite Cobras News Release - www.carolinaelitecobras.com
Monday, August 12, 2013
GREENVILLE, S.C. - Almost immediately after the Carolina Elite Cobras finished their run to the 2013 W-League Championship weekend, a trio of defenders headed to Europe to play in some of the world’s top professional leagues. Blakely Mattern has journeyed to Sweden to join Mallbackens IF, while Ashely Swineheart and Hannah Gmerek landed in the Czech Republic to play with 1. FC Slovacko Zeny.
Mattern, the 2013 W-League Defender of the Year, led the Cobras to their first Southeastern Conference title with two goals and an assist while serving as the team’s leader on defense in 2013. Mattern was a member of the Atlanta Beat of WPS in 2009-10, and joined Dutch side FC Twente in 2011.
Mallbackens IF plays in Sweden’s top division and is located in Mallbacken, in Värmland, Sweden, and was established in 1942.
Swinehart, who appeared in 10 games for the Cobras in 2013, joined Mattern on the All-Southeastern Conference defense in 2013. Gmerek, a College of Charleston graduate, also appeared in all 10 games this season.
1. FC Slovacko Zeny plays in the Czech First Division and is considered to be one of the top three teams in the country. Follow the Cobras throughout the off-season on www.carolinaelitecobras.com or on Twitter: @CE_Cobras.
Sounders FC U-23 News Release -- www.soundersu23.com
Monday, August 12, 2013
TACOMA, Wash. – Chris Brundage, Sounders FC U-23 defender, has signed a professional contract with FC Jazz in Finland. The storied club, with experience in the UEFA Champions League in the late 90’s, now competes in the Kakkonen, Finland’s third tier of professional soccer.
A University of Washington graduate, Brundage is the first ever American to play at FC Jazz. He is already in Scandinavia and available for selection with the first team.
FC Jazz play in the largest stadium within the Kakkonen. The club has Finish championships to its name, however took a year away from operation in 2005 and has since worked back up the ranks of Finland soccer. Last season FC Jazz finished in second place in the Western Division of the Kakkonen, one place away from a playoff position to fight for promotion.
With Brundage as a rock in the back line, the Sounders U-23 held their opponents to one-or-fewer goals in eight games this season. Those clean sheets allowed the Sounders to snag three 1-0 victories in their 2013 campaign.
Sounders U-23 Head Coach Darren Sawatzky said, “Chris had another solid season for our U23 group and we are exciting to see him be recognized for being consistent and helping lead as we develop players here.”
Brundage lead the team in minutes played, sitting out just one half for the entire 2013 season. Brundage recorded 679 minutes in 2012, nearly doubling his playing time in 2013, and increasing his games played from 8 to 14.
USL PRO News Release
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
TAMPA, Fla. – USL PRO named its Team of the Week for Week 21 of the season on Tuesday, with Charlotte Eagles midfielder Jorge Herrera earning Player of the Week honors after scoring three goals in two games as the Eagles clinched a playoff berth for the first time since 2009. Herrera led Charlotte to victories against the Harrisburg City Islanders and Antigua Barracuda FC as the Eagles moved into fifth place in the USL PRO standings.
Herrera had the winning goal as the Eagles took a 2-1 victory against Harrisburg Wednesday, putting away a finish on a counter-attack. He then opened the scoring for Charlotte in its win against Antigua, and added a second in the 55th minute as the Eagles clinched their place in the playoffs. Herrera has now scored 10 goals in 21 games this season while also providing veteran leadership for the young squad.
Joining Herrera in the Team of the Week’s midfield is teammate Drew Yates, who had a goal and two assists in Charlotte’s win against Antigua. The midfield quartet is completed by Richmond’s Brian Ownby, who scored twice in the Kickers’ victory against Dayton, and Pittsburgh’s Rob Vincent, whose outstanding long-range effort helped the Riverhounds get past VSI Tampa Bay FC and claim a place in the playoffs.
Harrisburg’s Lucky Mkosana leads the attacking trio after scoring his second hat trick of the season in a 3-1 win against Tampa Bay on Saturday night. The Zimbabwean forward now has 13 goals this season, and has scored 10 in his past seven games. Joining him are Los Angeles’ Matt Fondy, who had a pair of goals in the Blues’ 2-1 win against Charleston, and Wilmington’s Cody Arnoux, whose late goal kept the Hammerheads’ playoff hopes alive with a win against Dayton.
The Orlando duo of Rob Valentino and Renan Boufleur lead the defensive trio, with both scoring goals as the Lions took victories against VSI Tampa Bay FC and the Seattle Sounders Reserves. Charleston’s Emmanuel Adjetey also earned selection after putting in a solid performance against Phoenix in the Battery’s win on the west coast, while Rochester’s Brandon Miller claimed goalkeeping honors after recording a shutout in the Rhinos’ 1-0 win against Pittsburgh.
Stay up to date with every game in USL PRO this season through the league’s free online streaming service, USLNation.com, and also follow the race for the playoffs via Twitter (@USLPRO), Facebook and Google+ for live updates from every game, every night of the season, plus news, previews and recaps of all the action.
USL PRO Team of the Week
Stepped in to record shutout in Rhinos’ home finale
Had a goal and assist as Lions took pair of victories
Put in a solid performance as Battery shut out Phoenix
Two strong performance, including a goal, as Lions won twice
Scored twice as Kickers swept past Dutch Lions
Had a goal and two assists to lead Eagles past Antigua
Spectacular goal highlighted Riverhounds’ win against Tampa Bay
Three goals in two wins as Eagles clinched playoff place
Two goals against Battery gave him nine in nine games this season
Hat trick led City Islanders to victory against Tampa Bay
Late goal against Dayton kept Hammerheads’ playoff hopes alive
Honorable Mention: Charleston – Dane Kelly, Kevin Klasila; Charlotte – Christian Ramirez, Eric Reed; Dayton – Eli Garner; Harrisburg – Don Anding, Cristhian Hernandez; Los Angeles – Rodrigo Lopez, Mohammed Mohammedi; Orlando – Kevin Molino, Dennis Chin; Pittsburgh – Hunter Gilstrap, Jose Angulo; Richmond – Matt Delicâte, Sascha Görres; Rochester – Tam McManus; Tampa Bay – Chad Burt, Shawn Chin; Wilmington – Mickael Oliveira, Daniel Steres.
Seattle Sounders Women News Release - www.sounderswomen.com
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
TUKWILA, Wash. – Sounders Women goalkeeper Erin McNulty has signed a professional contract to play in the Women’s Premier League of Norway. McNulty will join Avaldsnes IL immediately thanks to her first pro contract.
“I'm excited to have an opportunity to get better and learn from my new coaches and teammates," McNulty said.
Following the summer where she earned W-League All-Western Conference honors and was a finalist for Goalkeeper of the Year, McNulty has been snatched up by the fifth-place team in the top Norwegian league.
“Playing for the Sounders Women this year provided me with a quality environment and assisted me in my development that will be beneficial to me making an impact on my new team," McNulty said.
“I have spoken to the Norwegian National Team Coach, Even Pellerud, and he has assured me that the environment will be good for her," Sounders Women Manager Hubert Busby Jr. said. "She will obviously need to work hard to displace the current goalkeeper [Icelandic International], but it will be good for her development.”
Avaldsnes IL was promoted to the Toppserien last season after finishing on top of the First Division. The Norwegian league is 13 matches into the 2013-14 season, with Avaldsnes holding a 5-2-6 record and for 17 points.
McNulty will fight for the starting goalkeeper spot with the current Icelandic National Team No. 1, Guðbjörg Gunnarsdóttir.
USL PRO News Release
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
TAMPA, Fla. – The USL PRO Regular Season Championship, and the final place in the 2013 USL PRO Playoffs, will be decided this week as the season concludes with 10 games in its final four days. The Richmond Kickers and Orlando City will battle for top spot in the standings, while the Dayton Dutch Lions, VSI Tampa Bay FC and the Wilmington Hammerheads will battle for the final ticket to the postseason.
Orlando City has claimed the regular season title the past two seasons, but Richmond sits on top of the standings as the two teams prepare to meet on Wednesday night at City Stadium (7 p.m. ET, USLNation.com). The teams are tied at 51 points, but the Kickers hold the head-to-head tiebreaker against the Lions after their 2-0 win at the Florida Citrus Bowl last month.
Either the Kickers or Lions would claim the regular-season title with a victory on Wednesday night, since Orlando would hold an unsurpassable 16 wins should it defeat Richmond on its home turf. Total wins is the second tiebreaker in USL PRO, and would enter play with a Lions victory, leaving the season series between the teams even at three points apiece.
A draw Wednesday night keeps the Kickers in the driver’s seat, and leaves them needing victory against Pittsburgh on Saturday night. Should Richmond slip up against the Riverhounds, however, the door would open for Orlando to move into first with a victory against Charlotte, also on Saturday night.
The competition will be just as fierce for the final place in the playoffs, with the Dayton Dutch Lions sitting in prime position to advance to the postseason for the first time. The Dutch Lions need a win against Harrisburg in their final game of the season to complete the postseason field, and could finish as high as sixth should other results go their way.
Should the Dutch Lions lose, however, the Wilmington Hammerheads’ unlikely run to the postseason could be realized. Wilmington has two games remaining, and would overtake Dayton for eighth place with a pair of victories, and either a loss or a draw for the Dutch Lions.
The Hammerheads’ contest on Wednesday night at Legion Stadium against Pittsburgh (7:30 p.m. ET, USLNation.com) holds the key to not only their playoff fortunes, but also those of VSI Tampa Bay FC. Tampa Bay faces a must-win against Charlotte on Friday night if it is to advance to the playoffs in its first season, but also needs a loss by Dayton, and a win and a draw by Wilmington in order for the pieces of the puzzle to fall together.
Should all three teams finish with 34 points, Tampa Bay would advance via the third tiebreaker, goal difference, unless the Hammerheads were to set a new USL PRO record for margin of victory in wins against either Pittsburgh, or Antigua Barracuda FC on Saturday night. A loss by Wilmington in either of its contests would send Dayton into the playoffs, as the Dutch Lions hold the head-to-head tiebreaker against VSI Tampa Bay.
Stay up to date with all of the action in the final week of the USL PRO regular season through the league’s free online streaming service, USLNation.com, and also follow the race for the playoffs via Twitter (@USLPRO), Facebook and Google+ for live updates from every game, plus news, previews and recaps of all the action.
Super-20 League News Release
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
TAMPA, Fla. – The Super-20 League announced its First 11 rankings for the 2013 season today, recognizing the league’s top clubs on a competitive and administrative basis. Plano, Texas-based TFC was named the top overall club of 2013, following a season where it posted a perfect 8-0-0 regular season record and advanced to the Super-20 League Championships at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.
TFC, which finished 2-1-0 in group play at the championships to miss out on a spot in the semifinals, is one of three Mid South Division clubs to make the First 11, with Laredo Heat SC coming in at No. 6 and Alamo SC at No. 8.
TFC finished well clear of second-place IMG Academy in the rankings, with Reading United AC placing third for the second consecutive year and championship semifinalist St. Louis Scott Gallagher at No. 4.
No. 5 Potomac SC also finished 2-1-0 in group play at the championships, and No. 7 Junior Lone Star FC was 1-1-1 as both missed out on the semifinals. Beachside FC of CT came in at No. 9, while the Toronto Lynx Jrs., who bowed out in overtime in the semifinals at the Super-20 Championships, were ranked No. 10 for the second consecutive year. Rounding out the First 11 is the Ottawa Fury, who dropped from the No. 2 spot in 2012.
Super-20 League First 11
|3||Reading United AC||69.30|
|4||St. Louis Scott Gallagher||69.00|
|6||Laredo Heat SC||66.00|
|7||Junior Lone Star FC||63.14|
|9||Beachside SC of CT||60.00|
|10||Toronto Lynx Jrs.||59.70|
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
TopDrawerSoccer.com has released its preseason Top 100 player rankings for NCAA Division I Upperclassmen, with PDL players from across the country being named as players to watch this coming fall. Sixty-one of the players named have previously played in the PDL, with two being named to the 2013 All-League Team, and five being honored as All-Conference selections this summer.
PDL Young Player of the Year Pete Caringi, who led the league with 16 goals this past season for the Baltimore Bohemians, is named to the list as he prepares to play his senior season for UMBC, and he is joined by fellow All-League selection Axel Sjoberg of the Thunder Bay Chill, who played a key role in his club reaching the PDL Championship Game before returning to Marquette this fall.
Two of Sjoberg’s fellow All-Central Conference selections, the Chicago Fire PDL’s Bryan Ciesiulka and the Michigan Bucks’ Matthew Walker, were also named, while Portland Timbers U-23s standout Zach Barnes, who was named to the All-Western Conference team, returns to Creighton to try and help the Bluejays return to the College Cup.
Overall, seven of the Top 10 players named, and 15 of the Top 25, have gained experience in the PDL, led by No. 1 overall player Patrick Mullins. The Maryland standout and 2012 MAC Hermann Trophy winner played three seasons in the PDL, most recently in 2012 as he scored seven goals in 12 appearances for the New Orleans Jesters.
Reading United standout Steven Neumann, who led Georgetown to its first College Cup appearance in 2012, checks in at No. 3, and is one of nine Reading alumni named to the list. Also selected is the Carolina Dynamo duo of Boyd Okwuono (No. 4) and Sebastian Ibeahga (No. 6), the 2012 PDL Defender of the Year.
The Real Colorado Foxes’ Kyle Venter sits between the two Dynamo standouts, with the Portland Timbers U-23s’ Bryan Gallego (Akron) and Chicago Fire PDL’s Chris Ritter (Northwestern) rounding out the seven selections.
Other notable players in the Top 25 include 2012 PDL All-League selections Kevin Cope of the Michigan Bucks (Michigan State) and Mark Sherrod of the Portland Timbers U-23s (Memphis). Sherrod’s Portland teammate Eric Miller is also selected as he gets set to re-connect with Barnes at Creighton. The Carolina Dynamo’s Alex Martinez, who had two goals and five assists this summer, will also be a player to watch as he returns to North Carolina State.
The NCAA Division I season kicks off on August 30, with players from across the PDL set to star for their college sides after competing during the summer in the top developmental league in North America.
Friday, August 16, 2013
PHOENIX -- Tam McManus scored twice, including a stoppage-time game-winner, as the Rochester Rhinos took a 4-3 victory against Phoenix FC at Reach 11 Stadium on Friday night. Phoenix held an early 2-0 lead, but was reduced to 10 men just before halftime as Rochester rallied to take victory.
Phoenix had held a 2-1 lead going into the halftime break, but had been reduced to 10 men in first-half stoppage time as Tommy Ramos was sent off. The Rhinos took advantage of the man-advantage in the second half as Blake Brettschneider scored with a low shot into the right corner of the net in the 59th minute. Five minutes later, McManus scored his first of the game as he fired home to put the Rhinos in control of the game.
Despite being down to 10 men, Phoenix pressed late to try and find an equalizer, and the Wolves would find one in the first minute of stoppage time as a low cross from the right found an unmarked Josh Bento in the left side of the penalty area. The rookie would score his first goal for the Wolves with a low finish, but almost immediately the Rhinos regained the lead. Rochester swept forward immediately from the opening kickoff, catching the Wolves' defense off-guard, as Mike Reidy got in on the left and sent a low cross to the top of the six-yard area that McManus was on hand to finish.
The Wolves had taken the lead in the fourth minute through Donny Toia, who following the game was named Player of the Year by the club's supporter's club La Furia Roja 1881. Toia's clever chip was followed by a strong effort by Travis Bowen, who was denied twice on headers by Rhinos goalkeeper Brandon Miller, only to finish at the third opportunity with a powerful shot.
Rochester's comeback began in the 32nd minute as Danny Earls, who as last weekend named the Rhinos' Most Valuable Player, drove a low shot home from 25 yards after a corner was half-cleared. The Rhinos were then boosted by the red card to Ramos, giving them a one-man advantage for the entire second half, and managed to pull out a late victory.
The game concluded Phoenix FC's inaugural season, with the Wolves ending the year with a record of 5-14-7. Toia finished the season as the club's leading scorer with six goals.
VSI Tampa Bay FC News Release -- www.vsi-fc.com
Thursday, August 15, 2013
TAMPA, Fla. – VSI Tampa Bay FC finds itself at the mercy of other USL PRO teams this week as the club prepares to host the Charlotte Eagles at Plant City Stadium on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Tampa Bay currently sits in ninth place in the USL PRO standings, outside the eight playoff places. On Wednesday night the Wilmington Hammerheads defeated the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, with the outcome of the match playing a big role in determining who may move into the eighth and final playoff position amongst USL PRO teams.
The Hammerheads' 4-1 victory lifted them to 33 points, two above VSI Tampa Bay FC in the USL PRO standings. The Hammerheads now turn their attention to Antigua, where they could move into the playoff places with a win and a loss by the Dayton Dutch Lions in their final match of the 2013 regular season against Harrisburg.
VSI Tampa Bay FC holds hope that the cards may still fall in its favor. The playoff possibility is still alive, as a whirlwind of events must fall into place for Tampa Bay to secure the eighth and final playoff position. If Wilmington ties Antigua, and the Dutch Lions lose against the Harrisburg City Islanders, and Tampa Bay wins against the Charlotte Eagles Friday evening, then VSI Tampa Bay, Wilmington and Dayton all end in a three-way tie. VSI Tampa Bay would then move ahead through the league's tiebreakers and secure the eighth position due to goal differential.
With that in mind, VSI Tampa Bay FC (9-12-4) face a must-win situation in Friday night’s contest against the Eagles. The Eagles (10-4-10) enter Florida on a high after recording keeper Eric Reed’s eighth shutout on the season in their last outing, while midfielder Jorge Herrera earned USL PRO Player of the Week honors on Tuesday as he led the side into fifth place in USL PRO standings.
VSI Tampa Bay FC’s final home game is set to kick off at 7:30 p.m. ET in Plant City Stadium on Friday night and tickets are as low as $10 per adult and $5 per children. Children under 12 years old gain free entry into Friday night’s match and as always VSI Tampa Bay FC youth club affiliates, VSI Pinellas Flames and VSI West Florida Flames youth club players need only wear their game jerseys into Friday evening’s match to gain free entry. For more information on the team or to pre-purchase tickets visit the VSI Tampa Bay FC website at www.vsi-fc.com.
Thursday, August 15, 2013
CHARLESTON, S.C. -- The Charleston Battery defeated Antigua Barracuda FC 3-0 on Thursday evening at Blackbaud Stadium in front of a crowd of 3,501 fans. Forward Dane Kelly led the way with two goals as the Battery closed out their regular season with a win, and moved into third place in the USL PRO standings ahead of the weekend's final games of the season.
The Battery have qualified for the USL PRO Playoffs, but must wait until all the week’s results are in to know whether it will host a quarterfinal match at Blackbaud Stadium next Saturday night. The top four teams are guaranteed a home quarterfinal match.
The Battery started well but Antigua goalkeeper Molvin James kept Charleston off the scoresheet with a couple of good early saves. James denied Mike Azira with a good diving stop in the 23rd minute then turned away a point-blank Jose Cuevas effort minutes later.
Charleston got the breakthrough goal in the 34th minute after winger Quinton Griffith played a cross in from the right side. Antigua defender Lawson Robinson tried to head the ball clear but instead turned the ball into his own goal as it looped into the left corner of th net.
Charleston doubled its lead 10 minutes into the second half after a goal-mouth scramble following a corner kick. Kelly reacted first to the loose ball and drilled home from an acute angle on the right side.
Kelly scored his second and the Battery’s third in the 66th minute as midfielder Ben Fisk picked him out at the back-post. Kelly met the cross and finished neatly with a good first-time effort that flew home. The goal gave Kelly, who was awarded the Battery's Offensive Player of the Year award at halftime, a team-high 11 tallies for the season.
The win lifts the Battery (13-7-6) into third place in the USL PRO standings ahead of the remaining fixtures this weekend. For up to date playoff information please visit www.charlestonbattery.com.