August 31, 2012
USL PRO ROUNDUP
Charleston, Wilmington advance to final
The USL PRO Championship Game will see the No.3-seed Charleston Battery host the No.5-seed Wilmington Hammerheads at Blackbaud Stadium on Saturday, September 8 after the two teams advanced in the semifinals of the USL PRO Playoffs on Friday night.
WILMINGTON HAMMERHEADS 4, ORLANDO CITY FC 3
ORLANDO, FFLa---The Wilmington Hammerheads recorded the upset of the season as they defeated defending champion and No.1-seed Orlando City 4-3 at the Florida Citrus Bowl.
The only side to beat regular-season champion Orlando in the regular season, Wilmington took an early 2-0 lead as Corey Hertzog first converted from the penalty spot after being brought down in the penalty area in the fourth minute before Luke Holmes finished a turning shot in the ninth minute.
Hagop Chirishian made it 3-0 for the Hammerheads on the half-hour mark, but Matt Luzunaris gave the Lions hope of a comeback as he scored a minute before halftime to reduce the deficit to a pair of goals. The Hammerheads restored their three-goal advantage in the 59th minute, however, as Hertzog scored his second goal of the game, and while the Hammerheads were reduced to 10 men, Dylan Riley being sent off with 25 minutes to go, Wilmington was able to hold on to take victory, stoppage time goals by Jamie Watson from the penalty spot and George Davis IV leaving the Lions just short.
CHARLESTON BATTERY 1, ROCHESTER RHINOS 1 (4-3 pks)
ROCHESTER, NY---The Charleston Battery came through a penalty shootout to defeat the No.2-seed Rochester Rhinos at Sahlenís Stadium after the two teams played to a 1-1 draw after regulation and extra time.
The Battery claimed victory in the seventh round of penalty kicks, earning a 4-3 win in a dramatic shootout as J.C. Mack scored the decisive goal to give his side victory. The Rhinos had the opportunity to win from the penalty spot in the fifth round, only for Troy Roberts to shoot wide, and after Andrew Dykstra saved from Tyler Rosenlund to open the seventh round, Mack made no mistake to send the Battery on to the final.
Charleston almost didnít have the chance to even get to a shootout, but sent the game to extra time in second-half stoppage time as Tony Donatelli headed home from close range against his former team. Kendell McFayden scored 10 minutes into the second half to score the goal that almost put the Rhinos in their first USL Championship Game since 2006.
The Battery and Hammerheads split three contests in the USL PRO regular season, with the Battery taking a 3-1 victory at Charlestonís Blackbaud Stadium on July 14 before the teams played to a 2-2 draw at the same location on August 3. The Hammerheads won the final game of the season series, 2-1 at Legion Stadium on August 4.
USL PRO PLAYOFFS SCHEDULE
No.5 Wilmington Hammerheads at No.3 Charleston Battery, 7:30 p.m. ET, USLNation.com