Heading to the PDL Championship, the four-team semifinal and final event, to be hosted by the regular season champion perfect 16-0-0 Portland Timbers U23s, winners of the Western Conference title, on August 6-7 are the Central Conference Champion (third seed) Thunder Bay Chill, Southern Conference Champion (eighth seed) Baton Rouge Capitals and Eastern Conference Champion (10th seed) Reading United AC.
Still leading the postseason scoring race so far is Thunder Bay’s Brandon Swartzendruber, who has all three of the Chill’s goals. Kenny Uzoigwe (Michigan), Kevin Struthers (Ottawa) and Phillip Buffington (Mississippi) each had a pair after the first two days with Ottawa’s Justin Dasah tallied two on Sunday, but all three clubs have been eliminated from the postseason. However, semifinal-bound Reading’s Luke Mullholland added a second and Tyler Witmer scored twice against Ottawa Sunday to keep within range. Also of note, Reading’s Charles Sapong has three assists, the only player with more than one.
As far as team results are concerned, the higher seeds in each of the head-to-head match-ups through the playoffs have a record of 8-1-3. The lone higher seed to fall prior to penalties was fifth-seeded Ottawa in a 3-2 affair to Reading, seeded 10th overall. Mississippi, however, was the lone higher-seeded team to be eliminated via the penalty kick tiebreakers while Baton Rouge and Kitsap both survived shootouts in conference semifinal action. Although only two of the four top seeds won their respective conference championship, the results mark the end of a trend in recent years that regularly saw top seeds falter prior to the league semifinals.
Results (Overall PDL seed denoted with first game)
Semi: 14-ROC 0 :: 2 MIC-6: MIC Uzoigwe (Fuzzetti) 14, MIC St. Louis 54
Semi: 7-LON 0 :: 1 THB-3: THB Swartzendruber (Marinez) 5
Final: MIC 1 :: OT :: 2 THB: MIC Uzoigwe 79, THB Swartzendruber (Robertson) 84, THB Swartzendruber (Zardetto) 118
Semi: 13-IRB 0 :: 2 OTT-5: OTT Struthers (Ruesgen) 67, OTT Struthers (Mellor) 72
Semi: 11-MPS 1 :: 2 REA-10: MPS Banks 55, REA Mullholland (Sapong) 73, REA Frimpong (Hogan) 89
Final: REA 2 :: 1 OTT: REA Witmer (Sapong) 35, REA Witmer 49, OTT Dasah 73, REA Mullholland (Sapong) 76, OTT Dasah 90
Semi: 16-HOU (6) 2 :: PK :: 2 (5) MIS-2: MIS Buffington (Rich) 56, HOU Vallentine (Rivas) 69, MIS Buffington (Ihmeidan) 104, HOU Simon 112
Semi: 15-LAR (6) 1 :: PK :: 1 (7) BR-8: LAR Garcia (Bayona) 16, BR Chagnard (Callon) 77
Final: HOU 1 :: 2 BR: HOU Richards 38, BR Settle 75, BR Anderson 88
Semi: 12-HOL 1 :: 2 POR-1: HOL Whitfield 4, POR Braun (Dugoni) 63, POR Evans (Braun) 66
Semi: 9-VC (3) 1 :: PK :: 1 (5) KIT-4: KIT Gordley (Perdido) 3, VC Berrera 31
Final: KIT 1 :: 2 POR: POR Ramsey 24, KIT Lee (Wallace) 42, POR Abrego (Farfan) 82