TAMPA, Fla. - For the first time in club history, Calgary Foothills FC has been crowned PDL champions, defeating Reading United AC 4-2 at Gurski Stadium in Reading, Pennsylvania, to cap a fantastic 2018 season.
Foothills FC struck first, continuing what has been a strong run through the playoffs that has seen them shutout every opponent it has faced to this point. On a free kick from about 25 yards out, Ali Musse, who scored the game-winner for Calgary in the semifinals last week, placed a free kick off the crossbar and in, out of the reach of Reading goalkeeper Bennet Strutz.
Reading was determined not to be another scoreless victim, however, and found an answer just before the halftime whistle. Reading captain Aaron Molloy, the PDL's No. 1 Top Prospect, lined up a free kick of his own and placed a nearly identical finish too far away from 2018 Golden Glove winner Marco Carducci to equalize.
The second half proved just as exciting as the first. With about 15 minutes remaining in the match, Reading struck through Kieran Roberts, in what looked to be the game-winner. Unfortunately for the host, it was reduced to 10 men shortly afterwards, as defender Kamal Miller was sent off with a second yellow card. That allowed Calgary to gain momentum and push back, ultimately equalizing through PDL All-League Honorable Mention defender Dominick Zator - on an incredible volley - with just five minutes remaining in regulation.
Regulation ended with another moment of importance, however, as Chris Serban received a straight red card for a hard tackle just before the final whistle. The first half of extra time - with both sides reduced to 10 men - was a back-and-forth affair, but neither club was able to find the breakthrough needed to take an advantage leading into the final 15 minutes.
With just two minutes left in the 30-minute extra time, Calgary's All-Western Conference midfielder Nico Pasquotti finally found the separation, giving Calgary a 3-2 lead with moments remaining. As Reading was forced to push forward for an equalizer, Foothills FC struck one more via Musse - who grabbed his second goal of the Championship.
For scoring the game-winner, Pasquotti was named PDL Championship MVP. With a sense of redemption after 2016's runner-up finish, Calgary returns home with the silverware for the first time.