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July 2, 2012
Week in review: Thunder Bay Clinches Heartland Division

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – The Thunder Bay Chill clinched the PDL’s Heartland Division on Sunday afternoon as a pair of goals by Dominic Roberts led his side to a 3-2 victory against the St. Louis Lions at the Tony Glavin Soccer Complex.

The win moved the Chill eight points clear of the second-place Real Colorado Foxes, who have only two games left to play in the regular season.

Thunder Bay doubled its lead soon after the break through Juan Velez, but the Lions hit back at the midway point of the half through Jamie Lovegrove to make it 2-1. Roberts’ second goal of the game appeared to have sealed victory with 15 minutes to go for the Chill, but Lovegrove struck again in the 82nd minute to give St. Louis hope of taking something from the game. The Chill were able to hold on, though, and will now get the chance to try and defend their Central Conference Championship in the postseason.

: The GPS Portland Phoenix took their fifth consecutive victory as Eric Anderson’s two late goals earned victory against the Worcester Hydra at Foley Stadium. The win moved the defending Northeast Division champions into the top spot with four games to play in the regular season.

Worcester twice took the lead against the Phoenix, with Ebrima Badgie opening the scoring in the 17th minute to give the Hydra a halftime lead. The Phoenix hit back through Chris Banks in the 57th minute, but 10 minutes later Alencar Junior restored the Hydra’s lead with his eighth goal of the season.

Portland grabbed victory at the death, however, with Anderson tying the game in the 87th minute after a good piece of work by Ben Havey. Anderson then gave the Phoenix victory in the final minute, capitalizing on Jason Massie’s second assist of the game to earn his side all three points.

: The Kitsap Pumas reclaimed first place in the Northwest Division, but needed to rally past the Washington Crossfire at Bremerton Memorial Stadium to take victory after falling behind early to the surprise division title contenders.

The Crossfire opened the scoring in the second minute as Nathan Sackeyfio took advantage of a defensive miscue to set up Zach Hammond for his third goal of the season. After both teams were reduced to 10 men just before halftime, as Kitsap’s Jarret Robbins and Washington’s Thomas Chamaraud were sent off, both also hit the woodwork early in the second half.

The Pumas began their rally with less than 20 minutes remaining when Matt Friesen drove in a finish after a Crossfire turnover to even the score. With five minutes to go, Robbins timed his run perfectly to meet Kyle Johnson’s corner kick to give the Pumas victory.

Kitsap went on to bolster its lead on Sunday night, taking a 2-1 win against the North Sound SeaWolves that also sealed the defending PDL champions’ place in the playoffs.

: The Austin Aztex moved back into first place in the Mid South Division, on goal difference ahead of the Laredo Heat, as they completed a big week of action with a victory on the road against the New Orleans Jesters at Pan American Stadium.

After going ahead through an own goal, Austin’s Kris Tyypak scored twice either side of halftime to give his side a comfortable lead. Tyrpak played a key role for the Aztex as they moved closer to a playoff berth with victories in both games of their trip, scoring the game-tying goal in their 2-1 win against former division leader the Laredo Heat on Wednesday night.

Kekuta Manneh, who had the game-winning goal against Laredo, also got his name on the score sheet against the Jesters, giving him nine goals in 10 games this season. New Orleans’ Patrick Mullins scored a late consolation goal, but the Aztex took their third successive win to put themselves six points ahead of the third-place El Paso Patriots with four games to play in the season.

VENTURA COUNTY FUSION 2, FC TUCSON 0: The Ventura County Fusion claimed their berth in the PDL Western Conference playoffs as goals by Mickey Daly and Chris Tsonis either side of halftime earned victory on the road against FC Tucson at the Kino Sports Complex.

The top two teams in the Southwest Division had played to a 1-1 draw in California in their first meeting. This time, Daly gave Ventura County the lead in the 34th minute as connected with a cross from the right by Rodrigo Lopez after making a late run into the penalty area.

The Fusion had the better of the game from then on, although Tucson could have equalized in the 65th minute only for Conor Spence to head over the crossbar from close range. Ventura County put the game away with 15 minutes to go, however, as Chris Tsonis headed home Frankie Lopez’s cross.

The Fusion are now eight points clear of Tucson, who are still well placed to join Ventura County in the playoffs in their first season in the PDL. Tucson leads the Fresno Fuego by three points, and has a game in hand, with four games remaining in the regular season.

: The Carolina Dynamo took control of the South Atlantic Division as they took a back-and-forth battle with Real Maryland at Richard Montgomery Stadium.

The Monarchs took the lead five minutes before halftime as Allesane Kane opened the scoring. The Dynamo hit back quickly in the second half as Thomas McCready tied the game in the 58th minute, and Nyepon Mamadee added a second eight minutes later.

Real Maryland got back on even terms in the 71st minute as David Neuberth continued his standout season, notching his 10th goal, but Hakan Ilhan put the Dynamo back on top with 11 minutes to go before Fejiro Okiomah sealed the win three minutes from time.

The Dynamo are now eight points clear at the top of the South Atlantic Division, and are battling the Ocean City Nor’easters for the best record in the Eastern Conference with three games remaining.

OCEAN CITY NOR'EASTERS 4, BERMUDA HOGGES 0: The Ocean City Nor’easters bolstered their lead at the top of the Mid Atlantic Division with an impressive victory against the Bermuda Hogges at Carey Stadium.

Looking to make its first playoff appearance since 2009, Ocean City now holds a four-point lead against the Jersey Express and Reading United with each side having four games remaining in the regular season. On Sunday, the Nor’easters took the lead just past the half-hour mark as Zoncher Dennis tucked home Frank Tweneboa’s cross from the left for his sixth goal of the season.

The Nor’easters doubled their lead three minutes before halftime through Tapiwa Machingauta, and then added a third on the hour-mark as Jason Plumhoff found the net. Terry Gibbs’ free kick with 19 minutes to go capped the scoring in a comfortable victory.

OCALA STAMPEDE 3, FT. LAUDERDALE SCHULZ ACADEMY 0: Three second-half goals allowed the Ocala Stampede to defeat Ft. Lauderdale Schulz Academy at Lynn University and build their lead in the Southeast Division. The victory was the Stampede’s fifth in a row, and moved them five points clear of the IMG Bradenton Academics in second place.

Tishan Hanley opened the scoring for Ocala five minutes into the second half as he cleaned up the rebound after Karamba Janneh’s shot was parried. The Stampede then doubled the lead in the 69th minute through Rhuan Penaforte before Janneh completed the scoring 10 minutes later.

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