PDL News Release
Friday, July 12, 2013
TAMPA, Fla. – The battle for places in the PDL Playoffs intensified this week as division crowns were claimed by the Thunder Bay Chill and Fresno Fuego. While those two teams lead the pack overall, the remaining seven divisions all have contests that will shape the upcoming postseason, which is now less than two weeks away.
The Ottawa Fury are on a remarkable run of form, and can clinch the division title this weekend as they host the Seacoast United Phantoms on Friday night. Behind them, though, the battle for second remains tight as the Western Mass Pioneers and GPS Portland Phoenix are tied at 18 points with four games remaining. Portland faces a pair of games this weekend as it hosts the Real Boston Rams on Saturday night and the CFC Azul on Sunday. The Pioneers, meanwhile, host the Azul on Friday night.
MID ATLANTIC DIVISION
Reading United is at the center of this weekend’s key action in the Mid Atlantic Division, with the third-place side hosting the second-place Long Island Rough Riders on Friday night, and then visiting the first-place Ocean City Nor’easters on Sunday. A pair of wins would move United, which remain undefeated, back on top of the division, but the Baltimore Bohemians could be ready to strike should Reading fall and the Bohs take victory against Long Island on Saturday.
SOUTH ATLANTIC DIVISION
While the Carolina Dynamo now lead the division by four points following their win against the West Virginia Chaos, the battle for second place continues, with the SC United Bantams meeting the Virginia Beach Piranhas on Saturday night. Should the Bantams take victory, they would move ahead of the Chaos into second place with another game in hand. A Virginia Beach win, however, would pull the Piranhas level with West Virginia with two games in hand against the Chaos.
The Panama City Beach Pirates hold a one-point lead for first place against the Ocala Stampede with three games to play, and both teams will aim to bolster their positions as the Pirates face Ft. Lauderdale Schulz Academy and the Stampede visit the SW Florida Adrenaline this weekend. Third-place Orlando City will try to keep pace as it hosts VSI Tampa Bay FC, hoping one of the two clubs in front slips up and opens up the opportunity to get back into the playoff positions.
MID SOUTH DIVISION
After Oklahoma City and Laredo played to a 1-1 draw on Thursday night, keeping OKC two points ahead of the Heat, the two teams are back in action on Saturday night against opposition at opposite ends of the standings. Oklahoma City visits Austin at House Park, with the Aztex having the opportunity to clinch the division title, while Laredo hosts the El Paso Patriots at Texas A&M International. With Laredo still holding a game in hand against OKC, the Heat could be back in second place with a chance to add to their lead in the final week of the season.
GREAT LAKES DIVISION
Forest City London regained top spot in the division with a 4-3 win against the now second-place Michigan Bucks on Wednesday night, and will try to maintain its lead on Friday as it returns home to host the Chicago Fire PDL before visiting the Toronto Lynx on Sunday to complete a busy week of action. The Lynx could offer the defending PDL champion a challenge as they fight for the third and final spot in the playoffs, which could open the door back open for Michigan as it looks to gain revenge for a defeat earlier this season to another third-place contender, the River City Rovers, on Saturday night.
The Des Moines Menace sit four points behind Real Colorado as the two teams enter the weekend, and will need to take victory as they host the Foxes on Saturday night at Valley Stadium. A win for the Foxes would wrap up the second place, behind division champion Thunder Bay, with two games to spare in the regular season.
The Portland Timbers U-23s can make a final charge toward the Northwest Division title this weekend as they face the Vancouver Whitecaps U-23 and Victoria Highlanders. Portland sits eight points behind Victoria, but with two games in hand including Saturday’s clash with the Highlanders, the path to the division title remains open. First, though, the Timbers must face a Vancouver side that is aiming to grab second place away from them, while the fourth-place Sounders FC U23 and fifth-place Kitsap Pumas meet on Saturday night both looking to keep their postseason hopes alive.
The Fuego clinched the division title and remained in contention for the regular-season championship in emphatic style on Thursday night as they rolled past the OC Blues Strikers 5-0 at Chukchansi Park. The battle is still on for second place, however, with the second-place Ventura County Fusion visiting the BYU Cougars and third-place LA Misioneros visiting FC Tucson. The Misioneros are three points behind the Fusion entering the weekend, but would set up a huge clash on the final weekend of the season should they at least keep pace, if not gain ground, this Saturday night.