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PDL Playoffs Roundup: Menace Top Reigning Champion K-W United

By AARON CRANFORD -, 07/23/16, 1:30AM EDT


The Menace, Foothills FC, Bucks, Sockers FC, Energy U23 and Tucson advance in PDL Playoffs

Photo by James Mirabelli

The opportunity at a repeat title came to and end for K-W United FC on Friday, as the Des Moines Menace eliminated the reigning champion in the Central Conference Championship semifinals.

The Menace were firing on all cylinders in Pontiac, Michigan, topping the Canadian club, 5-1. They will play the Michigan Bucks, who beat the Thunder Bay Chill, at 7:30 p.m. ET in the Central Conference Championship final on Saturday.

Midland/Odessa Sockers FC, Calgary Foothills FC, FC Tucson and the OKC Energy U23 all progressed in the PDL Playoffs on Friday. Sockers FC will play the Energy U23 in the Southern Conference Championship final at 4 p.m. ET from Taft Stadium on Saturday, while Tucson will host Foothills FC at 10:30 p.m. ET in the Western Conference Championship final that same day.

The Eastern Conference Championship semifinals kick off on Saturday. The Charlotte Eagles play the Ocean City Nor’easters at 5 p.m. ET in the first semifinal from Don Thomas Stadium, and Reading United AC will host the Carolina Dynamo at 7:30 p.m. ET in the second semifinal. The two winners will meet in the final at 7 p.m. ET on Sunday.

Central Conference Championship

Michigan Bucks 3, Thunder Bay Chill 0: Familiar faces helped the Bucks advance to the Central Conference Championship final for a third consecutive year. Adam Najem, Benjamin Fitzpatrick and Tom Owens scored the goals for the Bucks at the Ultimate Soccer Arena.

Des Moines Menace 5, K-W United FC 1: James Wypych assisted Mark Heath-Preston for the game’s opener, and Wypych netted a goal of his own before 20 minutes had passed. Ramone Howell scored on both sides of halftime, while Heath-Preston scored his second in the 58th minute. K-W United’s Sergio Camargo, who has featured in the 2016 PDL Top Prospects list throughout the season, scored the Canadian club’s only goal of the day.

“A big performance. We got it done today,” Wypych said. “We knew the chances would be few and far between. Luckily, we had two chances in the first 20 minutes, and we put them both away.”

Southern Conference Championship

Midland/Odessa Sockers FC 2, The Villages SC 1: Two sensational goals by Sockers FC have the Texas-based club in the Central Conference Championship final. Bruno Henrique scored a deft chip after Nick Cashmere sent a great long ball up the field in the 15th minute. Jade Mesias scored the eventual winner in the 51st minute, blasting a free kick off the crossbar and in.

OKC Energy U23 2, South Florida Surf 1: Noah Keats, who scored 13 goals during the PDL regular season, netted the opener from the penalty spot. Ben Conway scored the second goal of the game, while the Surf made things interesting in the 65th minute. Kamar Marriott scored a header, but the Florida-based team was unable to complete the comeback.

Western Conference Championship

Calgary Foothills FC 1, FC Golden State Force 0: Dominic Russo seemed the most likely to score after creating a couple of chances inside 70 minutes of play, and he finally found the breakthrough in the 71st minute. Russo ran onto a ball played behind the Force’s high back line, then he slotted a shot through the goalkeeper’s legs for the only goal of the semifinal. With minutes remaining in the game, goalkeeper Dylon Powley made an incredible diving stop to keep the Force off the score sheet at Kino North Stadium.

FC Tucson 2, Burlingame Dragons FC 0: It was a tale of two halves in Tucson, but the home side was resilient. Pedro Espindola scored an incredible goal to start the show, and Michael Turner netted a goal before the break to give the home side a two-goal advantage. Dragons FC fought back after the break; Khalid Arramdani and Christian Thierjung both scored to level the contest. However, Tucson’s Ozzie Ramos drilled a shot into the back of the net following a corner kick into the box to see the Arizona-based club through to the Western Conference Championship final. 

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