FC London wins semifinal
London Community News
Photos by Mike Maloney/London Community News/Twitter:@mdmaloneyphoto
They had to do it the hard way but FC London is off to the United Soccer League (USL) Premier Development League (PDL) championships.
Playing before a packed house at the Cove Road Stadium on Saturday (July 28), London lit up the second half of their PDL semifinal game to defeat the Seattle Sounders by a score of 3-2.
It was a game that started out with a lot of promise for London but two early goals by the Sounders at the 21- and 34-minute marks had the home team looking for some spark as they headed to the dressing room at the half, trailing Seattle 2-0.
FC London coach Martin Painter must have had some very inspirational words for his club in that room over the intermission because London came out like a team on fire in the second half.
Carl Hayworth brought the fans to their feet just a minute into the second frame, picking the ball out of traffic then threading a shot through a sea of legs in front of the Sounders goal to put London on the board.
Five minutes later, it was Bryan Da Cruz’s turn to make the crowd roar once again.
Taking a pass from Thomas Owens from out of the right side corner, Da Cruz nailed his shot past Sounders keeper Doug Herrick.
With momentum on their side, FC London continued to take the game to Seattle.
In the 83rd minute that pressure paid off. It would be the hometown boy — Alex Lewis — in a foot race down the left side, lacing a shot to the right side of the Seattle goal to give London the 3-2 lead.
Seattle would press the attack but FC London was more than up to the task, running down the clock to the win.
“It’s unbelievable … an incredible win,” said coach Painter.
What exact words Painter used with his players during the half were ones he didn’t think wise to repeat but the London coach did say they talked about coming out an playing with more confidence and belief in themselves.
Add to that, a change in formation and bringing two guys in off the bench, proved to be just what the team needed.
And it was one of those players that were substituted into the game — Da Cruz — that would score London’s second and the game’s turning point goal.
“I didn’t think about it, I just did it,” said Da Cruz. “I shot the ball, it went in and I went nuts. At that point, the game was ours and I knew it.”
FC London will now go on to face the Eastern Conference champion Carolina Dynamo for the PDL title next Saturday night (August 4). Carolina will host the game at Macpherson Stadium in Browns Summit, North Carolina.
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