Eagles Head to PDL Final Following 3-1 Win
Eagles off to the PDL National Finals
MATTHEWS, N.C. – With a 3-1 victory, in front of 1,112 fans, over Mississippi Brilla F.C. Saturday at the Sportsplex at Matthews, the Charlotte Eagles have earned their first-ever PDL National Finals appearance.
Though forward Ashley Sibisi registered the game-winning goal – then setting the score at 2-0 – in the 62nd minute, it was the play of goalkeeper James Pyle 15 minutes later that truly swung the match in Charlotte’s favor.
After defenseman Foster Appiah fouled Brilla defenseman Jordan Skelton in the penalty box, Pyle was the lone man separating Mississippi from leveling the match at two-all. Midfielder Maris Mastrangelo tried to squeeze his penalty kick past the goalkeeper off his left post, but Pyle was quick to dive off his line and punch the ball into the far corner.
Of course, Pyle is no stranger to important penalty kick saves. It was only last week in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Long Island Rough Riders that he saved a penalty in regulation and another to win the penalty kick shoot out to earn the Eagles’ berth into the PDL National Semifinals.
Two minutes after Pyle’s heroic save, midfielder Ryan Williams notched Charlotte’s final brace in the 79th minute with a sliding shot from within goalkeeper Jordan Bell’s box on Sbisa’s centering pass from the near corner, setting the 3-1 final score.
Mississippi Brilla goalkeeper Jordan Bell stood tall in the first half facing a wicked attempt from forward Joao Costa in the fourth minute that he managed to deflect over the crossbar, but he was not so fortunate on the second. Costa was again involved in the play, but this time he completed an assist through the Brilla back line to forward Kelvin Omondi in the 31st minute, who rolled his shot off Bell’s left post to score the opening tally of the contest.
Brilla registered its lone goal in the 70th minute courtesy of a rolling shot by Skelton. Defenseman Nicco Mastrangelo took command of a poor clearance by Pyle that didn’t exit Brilla’s attacking third and drove up the near sideline before centering a pass to his fellow defenseman. Skelton completed the play by tapping his shot inside the far post, then setting the score at 2-1.
Charlotte will retake the field in the PDL Final this upcoming weekend against the Thunder Bay Chill who defeated the Golden State Force 1-0 on Saturday night. The date, time and location of that match will be determined at a later date.