July 17, 2012
Three more teams will advance this weekend
Round two of the National Premier Soccer League playoffs kick off this weekend with three games set to determine who will join South champion Chattanooga FC at the final four in San Diego.
Sonic FC will face the New York Red Bulls Academy U23s on Saturday at Lehigh University. Cleveland AFC will host the Madison 56ers the same evening, while the Sonoma Sol FC visit the Bay Area Ambassadors on Sunday.
Chattanooga advanced to the NPSL final with a 1-0 win over the Georgia Revolution last Saturday. In the 72nd minute, Luis Trude dribbled through several defenders to score the only goal of the game.
Sonic advanced to their semifinal matchup with a 2-0 win over the Brooklyn Italians. In the 30th minute, Kevin Strunk took a restart from 24 yards and made good on his strike, beating Brooklyn ‘keeper Antonio Salluzzi to give Sonic the lead.
With time running out and Brooklyn desperately needing a goal, Sonic midfielder Nate Squire served a beautiful ball to Leslie Fraser who made a run toward the back post, beat Salluzzi to the ball and calmly passed the ball into the net for the 2-0 score.
The Red Bulls Academy advanced to their matchup with Sonic by beating the Morris County Colonials. John Gurel’s header in the 86th minute broke a scoreless tie and two Red Bull subs combined on the insurance goal, as Keith Francisco, who had come on in the 63rd minute and would get off five shots while also creating chances for his teammates, assisted Bolu Akinyode, who scored seconds after entering the lineup in the 90th minute.
AFC Cleveland advances to their matchup with the Madison 56ers by winning two playoff games over the weekend. After beating Detroit 2-1, AFC Cleveland came up with their second playoff win of the weekend, beating the Erie Admirals 5-4 in penalty kicks on Sunday.
Erie midfielder Steve Mahon put the Admirals up 1-0 early, a lead the home team held at halftime. A successful penalty kick by South African striker Dean Miller in the 79th minute put things even at 1-1.
The Bay Area Ambassadors advanced with a 3-2 win over Santa Clarita. Stefan Clemens scored in the first half as Bay Area went down 2-1. Yousef Samy scored a penalty kick after a Santa Clarita defender blocked an Ambassador shot with his hand. With eight minutes left, the Ambassadors took the lead 3-2. Francis Lopez crossed the ball in that found Brayan Walle’s feet for the winner.
Sonoma Sol defeated the SD Flash after a long battle on the field, which ended in penalty kicks after a double overtime score of 2-2.
New York Red Bulls Academy U23s 2
Morris County Colonials 0
FC Sonic 2
Brooklyn Italians 0
Bay Area Ambassadors 3
Santa Clarita 2
SD Flash 2
Sonoma Sol 2 (Sonoma advances 4-3 on pks)
AFC Cleveland 2
Detroit FC 1
Erie Admirals 1
Greater Binghamton 0
AFC Cleveland 1
Erie Admirals 1 (Cleveland advances 4-3 on pks)
Sat. July 21 NY Red Bulls vs FC Sonic @ Lehigh University 7:00 pm ET
Sat. July 21 Sonoma vs Bay Area @ Raimondi Park, Oakland 7:00 pm PT
Sun. July 22 Madison 56ers vs Cleveland AFC @ Brecksville/Broadview Hts High School 2:00 pm ET