As pointed out earlier in the week, the trend of upsets in the postseason came to an end after several years during the conference playoffs over the weekend as 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. But, results also showed great parity as clubs from different divisions squared off.
Of the dozen games played last weekend, only two were decided by more than a goal, a pair of 2-0 victories in conference semifinal matches. Seven matches finished with one-goal margins and three others were decided in penalties after 120 minutes of stalemate soccer.
As far as the rankings are concerned, the Western Conference showed that on paper it is still very deep with all three games decided by a goal or less, which says a lot for the California clubs that traveled north and acquitted themselves well, despite first-game exits, with a draw and narrow loss, boosting their power ranking.
Kitsap, unfortunately, fell with the loss at home combined with Thunder Bay and Reading claiming their conference titles. Forest City remained in the top four with only their second loss of the year coming 1-0 at the hands of host Ottawa Fury.
Baton Rouge moved up slightly, but was hurt by the close nature of the conference playoffs as the Southeast Division looked to be far better on paper than the Mid South. The Capitals drew 1-1 and needed penalties to get past a Laredo side that finished the regular season poorly and unbeaten Mississippi was knocked out from the spot after a 2-2 draw against 7-5-4 Houston, the lowest seed in the playoffs. Baton Rouge then narrowly edged Houston in the conference final, 2-1. As a result, Mississippi took a big drop in the rankings while Laredo and Houston each made a move up the list past a number of teams that were not in the playoff field, having proving they deserved to have been in the postseason.
The Soccer Barn’s PDL Power Rankings
(yellow denotes Final Four participant)
1 – Portland Timbers U23s (16-0-0): 2-1 wins over Hollywood and host Kitsap.
2 – Thunder Bay Chill (12-2-2): 1-0 win over London, 2-1 win against Michigan.
3 – Reading United AC (10-2-4): 2-1 wins against MPS and host Ottawa.
4 – Forest City London (10-1-5): 0-1 loss to host Thunder Bay.
5 – Kitsap Pumas (12-2-2): 1-1 draw against Ventura County, 1-2 loss to Portland.
6 – Baton Rouge Capitals (9-2-3): 1-1 draw versus Laredo, 2-1 win over Houston.
7 – Ventura County Fusion (11-4-1): 1-1 draw against Kitsap.
8 – Mississippi Brilla (11-0-3): 2-2 draw against Houston, knocked out penalties.
9 – Hollywood United Hitmen (10-3-3): 1-2 loss against Portland.
10 – Michigan Bucks (11-3-2): 2-0 win over Rochester, 1-2 loss to host Thunder Bay.
The Rest of the Best: 11 Ottawa Fury (11-2-3) – 12 Houston Leones (7-5-4) – 13 MPS Portland Phoenix (10-2-4) – 14 Laredo Heat (9-5-2) – 15 Dayton Dutch Lions (8-3-5) – 16 Rochester Thunder (10-3-3) – 17 Real Colorado Foxes (7-3-6) – 18 Chicago Fire (9-5-2) – 19 Ironbound Express (10-3-3) – 20 Long Island Rough Riders (8-4-4) – 21 Tacoma Tide (9-4-3) – 22 Atlanta Blackhawks (6-4-4) – 23 Central Florida Kraze (6-5-3) – 24 Central Jersey Spartans (8-5-3) – 25 Victoria Highlanders (7-6-3)
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