PDL News Release
Monday, July 23, 2012
TAMPA, Fla. – The PDL announced today the match-ups for its Playoffs’ National Semifinals, with the Eastern Conference Champion Carolina Dynamo hosting the Southern Conference Champion Orlando City U23, and Western Conference Champion the Sounders FC U23 traveling to face Central Conference Champion FC London.
Carolina will host Orlando on Saturday, July 28 at 7 p.m. ET at Macpherson Stadium in Greensboro, N.C., while London’s German Club will play host to the Sounders FC U23s on the same night at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Carolina needed late dramatics in both of its contests to claim the club’s first national semifinal berth since 2004, earning victory against Reading United on Saturday night 8-7 in a penalty shootout after the teams had played to a 1-1 draw through regulation and extra time. The Dynamo then got a goal in second-half-stoppage time from Sebastian Ibeagha to advance past the Ottawa Fury in Sunday’s final.
The Lions U23s defeated a pair of sides from the Mid South Division to advance from the Southern Conference, upsetting the division champion Laredo Heat 2-1 behind goals from Nicolas Russo and Drew Helm. Orlando then earned a 4-2 victory against the Austin Aztex on Sunday night to advance to face the Dynamo. Saturday’s game is a rematch of Carolina’s last trip to the National Semifinals in 2004, when the then Central Florida Kraze took victory on penalty kicks on their way to the championship.
FC London is the biggest surprise of the semifinalists, with the club securing victories against the two teams with the best regular-season records in the PDL. London, which had never previously won a PDL Playoff contest, took a 1-0 win against the Thunder Bay Chill through a goal by Jordan Ayris. The side then upset the PDL regular-season champion Michigan Bucks in Sunday’s final, with Ayris and Martin Lange getting the goals in a 2-1 victory.
The Sounders FC U23 completed the quartet with an impressive pair of victories against FC Tucson and the Ventura County Fusion. The Northwest Division champion fell behind in their semifinal on Saturday against the Arizona side, but goals by Darwin Jones and Sean Morris allowed them to take a 2-1 victory. Jones struck again in the conference final on Sunday, scoring the opening goal before Jamael Cox sealed a 2-0 victory late against the host Fusion.
Following next weekend’s semifinals, the PDL Championship will be played on Saturday, August 4 at the home of one of the semifinal winners.
NATIONAL SEMIFINALS SCHEDULE
Saturday, July 28
Orlando City U23 at Carolina Dynamo, 7 p.m. ET
At Macpherson Stadium, Greensboro, N.C.
Sounders FC U23 at FC London, 7:30 p.m. ET
At German Club, London, Ontario