One win away from playoffs
London Community News
By Jonathon Brodie/London Community News / Twitter: @jonathonbrodie
FC London added some cushion to their United Soccer League’s Premier Development (PDL) playoff push after a dominating performance in a 4-0 home win against the River City Rovers in a battle for second-place Friday (July6).
It wasn’t a do-or die game for FC, but they played like it; Attacking River City from the opening kick-off, but whether it was perennial scorer Carl Haworth shooting wide or team goal-leader Jordan Ayris missing an open net with the goalie out of position, FC couldn’t find themselves on the goal sheet in the first half.
The score could have easily been 4-0 for the home team at Cove Field at halftime.
“I wouldn’t say worried, but given our track record of outplaying and out chancing teams and not putting games away,” said FC defender Tyler Hemming, who didn’t let a ball past him all night, throwing his body for headers and crossing the field to help teammates in trouble. “We wanted to make sure we came out in the second half and put a lot more pressure on them and score goals.”
It didn’t take long for London to find their scoring in the second half after Ayris hit the back of the net in the 47th minute, stealing a River City defender’s pass to the goalkeeper and walking in for the score.
He followed it up with another goal in the 55th minute when he collected a perfect airmail pass just inside the 18-yard box from Haworth, which probably couldn’t have even been completed in a videogame it was so nice. FC head coach Mark Painter called it one of the best goals he’s seen in the PDL since coaching in 2009.
“I had a couple of good chances,” Ayris said, scoring his seventh and eighth goals of the year. “But, I compensate when I’m about to score.”
The cushy lead gave London a chance to put some of their substitution players in the game, giving starters some time to rest before the final three games of the season—all in the next week.
“We know we have some depth and it was good it showed today and we’re going to need it in the next three games,” Martin said. “It was good to see when we did make a change, we didn’t lose anything.”
The subs did more than maintain the tempo, actually adding to the scoreboard when Bryan DaCruz, coming off the bench, found the back of the net for the first time of the year in the 72nd minute to puch the lead 3-0.
Haworth put the finishing touches at the 86th minute marker, ripping a goal in the low corner that might have taken some leather off of the ball it was so hard.
The win is a big three points on the stat sheet for FC who now move two points ahead of the Rovers for second place in the Great Lakes Division, but River City has played one less game than London.
If FC picks up one more win in their remaining games, they secure a spot in the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year.
In the Great Lakes Division, the second and third place teams play a one-game knockout to decide who will face-off against the first place team in the Division Championships. The Michigan Bucks, with 32 points, wrapped up the top position.
London is sitting pretty and a win might not be necessary. Currently, FC is standing seven points ahead of the out-of-playoffs Chicago Fire, Cincinnati Kings and Chicago Inferno in the fourth, fifth and sixth spots in the division—all with 15 points and, like London, have only three games left.
“With a little bit of help, we have a good chance at finishing second and getting a home playoff game,” Painter said. “The key is we follow this up with a really good performance. We’ll forget this really quick if we go out on Sunday and don’t play well.”
London will be working to solidify their playoff appearance starting on the road Sunday against the Chicago Fire before staying put in the Windy City to faceoff the Chicago Fire Tuesday (July 10).
FC wraps up their regular season Friday (July 13) hosting the Toronto Lynx at Cove Field.
London opened their season against Toronto with back-to-back wins.
Find us on Facebook: London Community News