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Northeast Division: Season in Review

By COLTON CORESCHI -, 11/01/17, 11:30AM EDT


Seacoast United Phantoms emerge atop strong Northeast Division

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In a strong Northeast Division, over half of the teams competing posed a winning record in 2017.

With several winning teams behind them, the Seacoast United Phantoms emerged on top of the Northeast Division, securing one of the two available playoff spots, with the Long Island Rough Riders close behind in second place.

They were followed up by the Western Mass Pioneers, FC Boston, GPS Portland Phoenix, AC Connecticut, and Westchester Flames.

Here's a closer look at the Northeast Division's Season in Review.


AC Connecticut

Photo by AC Connecticut

Record: 2-10-2, -16 GD

Northeast Division Finish: 6th

Playoffs: N/A

MVP: Louis Greenway-Tambini - 9 goals, 3 assists

AC Connecticut had a fairly consistent season, but one in which their wins were too spaced out to remain competitive in a very difficult Northeast Division. The team opened their season with a five-match winless streak before earning their first victory over GPS Portland Phoenix, 4-1, in early June. That taste of success wouldn’t be repeated until early July, however, as the team went another five winless before taking down the Westchester Flames by an identical 4-1 score. AC Connecticut would then close the year with two losses, ultimately winding up in sixth place in the division and missing out on a playoff opportunity. Offensively, the team posted a respectable 19 goals, with an astounding season from Louis Greenway-Tambini who contributed to 12 of those by scoring nine and assisting another three. Also contributing multiple goals were Ryan Mingachos and Alex Harrison, while University of Virginia standout Edward Opoku also contributed. The team’s struggles mounted defensively though, as Joe Martin and Strain Robert saw most of the time in net for AC Connecticut and allowed 35 goals over the team’s 14 matches for a 2.5 GAA.

FC Boston

Photo by FC Boston

Record: 6-5-3, -3 GD

Northeast Division Finish: 4th

Playoffs: N/A

MVP: John Doran - 4 goals, 3 assists

While FC Boston put together one of the most impressive second-half of the season performances of any team league-wide, it wasn’t enough to overcome their early-season woes as they finished just out of reach of a playoff position. The team posted a 5-1-1 record over their final seven matches of the season, but their four-match winless streak to open it, along with winning just one in their first seven overall, doomed them to a mid-table finish. Still, FC Boston managed to emerge from the year with a winning record, and took wins off all three teams that finished above them in the standings. That included a five-match winning streak from mid-June to late July. Offensively, the team performed well, with John Doran leading the charge with four goals and three assists, and Harrison Swartz leading the team in scoring with eight goals. Alexander Ainscough also put up three goals for FC Boston, with Shalrie Joseph contributing three assists as well. Goalkeeper was a rotating door, with the quadruplet of David Price, Brian Salazar, and Robert Hurstak splitting time relatively evenly, with Price the most-used and most-effective of the three.

GPS Portland Phoenix

Photo by GPS Portland Phoenix

Record: 4-9-1, -1 GD

Northeast Division Finish: 5th

Playoffs: N/A

MVP: Luke Brown - 9 goals, 3 assists

By early June, the GPS Portland Phoenix appeared to be the team to beat in the Northeast Division, but 2017 proved not to be the team’s year. The Phoenix started very strong, winning four of their first five matches, including a pair of 6-0 wins over AC Connecticut and the Long Island Rough Riders, and emerged early as a strong contender for the division crown. After those first five matches, however, things took a negative turn, as the team would go winless over its last nine, including an eight-match losing streak from early June to mid-July. Their defensive struggles would sink them, as the team would fall to fifth place in the division, despite a nearly-even goal differential. Offensively, the team was prominent, placing second in the division in goals scored with 29. A good chunk of those came via Luke Brown, who knocked in nine while assisting teammates another three times. Also making their mark were Clay Dimick, with four goals and two assists, and Keith Francisco and Graham Forsyth who scored three goals apiece. It was the team’s aforementioned defensive woes that would hold them back, however, as they gave up 3 goals per game over their last nine contests. Andrew Pesci had a hard time in net in the majority of minutes, and while Eduan Naude fared a bit better, it wasn’t enough to keep the Phoenix competitive in 2017.

Long Island Rough Riders

Photo by Long Island Rough Riders

Record: 8-2-4, +9 GD

Northeast Division Finish: 2nd

Playoffs: Lost in Eastern Conference Finals

MVP: Daniel Bedoya - 4 goals, 3 assists

Though the Rough Riders finished just behind the Seacoast United Phantoms to claim second place in the Northeast Division, they can take pride in making it further in the playoffs than any other team in the division. After winning twice in the post-season, the Rough Riders fell in the Eastern Conference finals to eventual PDL Champions Charlotte Eagles. Even so, the regular season was notable for the Rough Riders, as they finished with an impressive 8-2-4 record, failing to take points only twice all season. The team opened the year with a three-match winning streak, won back-to-back matches two other times in 2017, and managed two draws against the Phantoms. Defensively, the team was second-best behind the Western Mass Pioneers, with just 19 goals allowed past the trio of Dylan Castanheira, Oliver Hansen, and Jonathan Rico all season long. The Rough Riders couldn’t keep up with the Phantoms blistering offensive pace however, as they were able to manage 28 goals scored, good for fourth in the division. The team effectively spread the offensive wealth though, with Daniel Bedoya and Arthur Bosua contributing massively on the offensive end. Also making their presence felt were Tyler Arnone, Junior Rosero, and Tyler Botte.

Seacoast United Phantoms

Photo by Seacoast United Phantoms

Record: 11-1-2, +24 GD

Northeast Division Finish: 1st

Playoffs: Lost in Eastern Conference Semifinals

MVP: Donnett Sackie - 9 goals, 4 assists

Though they were knocked out of the playoffs earlier than they would’ve liked, the Seacoast United Phantoms had a year to remember in 2017. The team won 11 of its 14 matches on the season as they topped the Northeast Division as champions. The Phantoms started out strong, winning their first five matches of the season before battling through two hard-fought draws with the Rough Riders to reach the midway point unbeaten. They’d be just as strong in the second half, winning six of their last seven to clinch the division title by a comfortable seven-point margin. Defensively, the Phantoms were stout, allowing just 20 goals in their 14 matches, good for a 1.43 GAA from Thor Arne Hoefs and Daniel Milton in net. But where the team really shined was on the offensive end of the field, as their 44 goals scored were 15 more than the next closest team in the division. It’s difficult to narrow down the praise for the attack, but Donnett Sackie and Audi Jepson stood out, with the former notching a team-high nine goals and four assist and the latter recording a team-high eight assists and scoring three as well. Also contributing significantly were Terence Carter with seven goals, Leonardo Paiva with seven goals and three assists, and Marcos Bautista with four goals and one assist.

Westchester Flames

Photo by Westchester Flames

Record: 2-11-1, -26 GD

Northeast Division Finish: 7th

Playoffs: N/A

MVP: Jordan Ayris - 7 goals, 1 assist

If the Phantoms had a year to remember, the Westchester Flames had a year to forget in 2017, finishing at the bottom of the Northeast Division with a 2-11-1 record. After struggling through the first half of the season with only a draw sandwiched between six losses in their first seven, the team improved in the second half with two wins over the final stretch. Their 4-1 win over FC Boston and 4-2 win over the GPS Portland Phoenix marked the high-point of the season, but those eight goals constituted more than half of the team’s 14 scored this year. It was even tougher defensively, as the team allowed 40 goals over their 14 matches, leading to a division-low -26 goal differential. It was a tough year all around, but a few bright spots managed to stand out. On the offensive end Jordan Ayris recorded seven of the team’s goals this year, fully half of the overall output, and assisted one other. Abduakim Byabusha also contributed well, with three goals and one assist to his name. In goal, Matthew Apicella and Raul Bonilla took the majority of time in goal, doing what they could to keep the team in their matches.

Western Mass Pioneers

Photo by Western Mass Pioneers

Record: 8-3-3, +13 GD

Northeast Division Finish: 3rd

Playoffs: N/A

MVP: Carlos Ruiz - 6 goals, 1 assist

In any other season, the Western Mass Pioneers would’ve found themselves in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Unfortunately for the Pioneers, the Phantoms and Rough Riders happened to also have phenomenal seasons and the Pioneers found themselves one point out of the playoffs. Despite posting an impressive 8-3-3 record this year, they were narrowly edged out by the Rough Riders, with a single draw separating the two teams. Still, it was a hugely impressive season overall, as the Pioneers posted the best defensive record in the division, with only 16 goals allowed over 14 matches. The team was no slouch offensively either, scoring 29 goals, good for second in the division. In goal, Benjamin Martinez saw most of the time, posting a huge 75.6 percent save rate while helping the Pioneers establish a wall defensively. On the attack, Carlos Ruiz led the team with six goals and an additional assist, while Pierre Villez was close behind with four goals and two assists of his own. Chae Brangman and Guilherme Rodrigues also contributed three goals each.

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