August 4, 2012
Forest City caps off incredible run
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Forest City London claimed its first PDL Championship as Jordan Ayris scored a second-half goal to lift his side to a 2-1 victory against the Carolina Dynamo on Saturday night at Macpherson Stadium.
Ayris, an All-Central Conference selection, used his quick feet to capitalize on a scramble in the Dynamo penalty area to score the game-winning goal.
The victory capped a remarkable run by London through the playoffs that saw the club not only win its first playoff game, but defeat the Thunder Bay Chill, Michigan Bucks and Sounders FC U23 on the way to the championship game.
Carolina took the lead in the 26th minute on a counter-attack after a turnover in midfield, and Hakan Ilhan’s pass split the defense to find Donnie Smith, who timed his run perfectly as London’s back four looked for an offside flag. The UNC-Charlotte standout easily rounded Reese Richardson and tucked his finish into the back of the net.
London was able to get back on even terms quickly, as the Dynamo’s goal spurred it forward in greater numbers. They were rewarded for their pressure as Bryan Da Cruz sent in a good cross from the left that was flicked goalward by Ayris. A Dynamo defender headed away, but the ball came to Carl Haworth as he cut through the penalty area and hit a perfect right-footed volley into the right corner of the net.
The decisive moment came with 14 minutes to go as London got a free kick about 35 yards from goal. The Dynamo were able to clear the initial free kick, but Tyler Hemming picked up possession on the right side and cut back onto his left foot. The center back floated a cross into the penalty area, and the ball landed at the feet of Ayris, who flicked the ball quickly onto his left foot and finished tidily.