FC London to host Seattle in PDL semifinal (updated)
London Community News
Photos by Mike Maloney/London Community News/Twitter:@mdmaloneyphoto
There has been a new chapter written in the FC London history book. On Sunday (July 22), the upstart London squad earned themselves a berth in the United Soccer Leagues (USL) Premier Division League (PDL) semifinals by upsetting the Great Lakes Division leading Michigan Bucks by a score of 2-1.
The win came on the heels of a 1-0 win over the Thunder Bay Chill the night before to set up Sunday’s date with Michigan.
Having never won a PDL playoff contest in club history, FC London found themselves playing in unfamiliar territory.
Jordan Ayris would give London the early edge when he tagged the game’s first goal in the 21st minute of play.
Midway through the second half, Martin Lange managed to tip one past the Bucks keeper to widen the London lead to 2-0.
Michigan wasn’t long though getting back in contention. Collecting his own rebound, Tom Catalano narrowed the gap to one in the 74th minute but that was the only goal Michigan could muster as London held on to post the 2-1 victory.
FC London coach Martin Painter had nothing but praise for his players.
Speaking on Monday afternoon (July 23), Painter referred to his team’s weekend accomplishments as “massive wins.” He remarked that while Ayris and Lange may have scored the winning goals, no one player could be singled out for particular praise. “There are too many guys that have stepped up their game to name just one.”
With the win, FC London advances to face the Northwest Division Seattle Sounders in the PDL National semifinal in a game that will be played here in London at Cove Road Stadium starting at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday (July 28).
For FC London, the Seattle Sounders are an unknown quantity. “I know they are a good team but we are not quite sure what kind of game Seattle will be bringing with them,” said Painter.
“I’ll be touching base with some people I know with the (Vancouver) Whitecaps and Victoria (Highlanders) to find out as much as we can about them before the weekend,” indicated the London coach, referring to the two Canadian squads that regularly play against Seattle in the Western Conference.
Thrilled to be playing at home in such an important game, Painter fully expects some jitters on the part of his players leading up to the game on Saturday.
“Right now the guys are riding high,” Painter commented. “Some nerves leading up to a big game are healthy,” he added.
“But once the game starts, they are gone and the guys just go out there and play.”
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