For the fourth straight season a club from the PDL Northwest Division has advanced to the national semifinals. In 2010 the Portland Timbers U23’s won it all. In 2011 the Kitsap Pumas were national champs. In 2012 the Sounders U-23’s made it to the semis. This time the club from our region still alive is the Victoria Highlanders.
TAMPA, FL. – (USLsoccer.com) The Austin Aztex will host the 2013 PDL Championships presented by Nike after a thrilling weekend of action saw four teams advance from the PDL Conference Championships to keep their hopes of a title alive. The Aztex will welcome the Ocean City Nor’easters, Thunder Bay Chill and Victoria Highlanders to House Park for the conclusion to the 2013 PDL season.
Austin claimed victory in the Southern Conference, with more than 5,000 fans on hand at House Park over two days of competition. The Aztex defeated Mid South Division rival the Laredo Heat to earn their berth in the semifinals as Khiry Shelton had a goal and assist to lead his side to victory.
The Aztex will face the Eastern Conference Champion Ocean City Nor’easters in the semifinals after Ocean City defeated the Carolina Dynamo in a penalty shootout in Saturday’s conference semifinals before recording a 3-1 victory against the Ottawa Fury in Sunday night’s final. Coming off back-to-back Mid Atlantic Division titles, this is the Nor’easters first trip to the PDL Championships since joining the league in 2003.
The Victoria Highlanders will also be making their first appearance at the championships after taking a pair of well-fought victories against the Ventura County Fusion and Portland Timbers U-23s to advance as the Western Conference Champion. The Highlanders got three goals in two games from Brett Levis, both of which proved to be game-winners, as they edged out Northwest Division rival Portland 1-0 in Sunday’s final.
The Thunder Bay Chill will face the Highlanders in an all-Canadian semifinal after they booked their return to the championships with a 3-0 victory against defending champion FC London on Sunday evening in the Central Conference Final. The 2008 champion is making its second appearance in the past three seasons after reaching the semifinals in 2011, and its fourth appearance overall at the championships.
The schedule for the semifinals and championship game will be announced shortly, with a full schedule for the championship weekend to be finalized later today.
Highlanders crowned Conference Champions
Posted on: Sunday, July 28, 2013
(VictoriaHighlandersFC.com) The Victoria Highlanders capped off their California playoff trip with a 1-0 victory over Northwest Division rival Portland Timbers U-23. Brett Levis scored his third goal of the weekend in the opening half to give the Highlanders a lead that they would carry till the final whistle.
Following Saturday’s match that required extra time, the Highlanders hit the pitch Sunday evening looking for their second win of the weekend to earn the Western Conference crown and place them in the Premier Development League Final Four championship. Victoria’s Andrew Ravenhill provided his club with a spark early, flying down the wing early and creating chances and generating the team’s initial corner kick of the match.
On nine minutes, Portland received an opportunity of their own, when Portland’s Greer crossed a neat pass in front of the net hoping to find a Timbers player, none were in a position to get a touch.
Victoria seemed content to sit back and wait for opportunities in the opening 15-minutes of play. That opportunity would come in the 16th minute, when Blair Sturrock broke the line with a perfectly placed pass to Levis’ feet, who then easily shifted past his marker, firing a left-footed shot past the Timbers ‘keeper to push the Highlanders up 1-0.
Portland began to find their feet after 30-minutes, gaining increased possession and firing a couple attempts that would amount to nothing. Quality chances would become sparse for either side, save for a chance in the 40th minute by Tarnvir Bhandal, who received a pass from Kalem Scott but was unable to place it to the back of the net. The first half would end with the Highlanders maintaining their 1-0 lead.
Both teams opened up in a conservative manner to open the second half, with no large chanced until the 67th minute, when a free kick for Portland sailed overtop of Victoria ‘keeper Elliot Mitrou. Captain Tyler Hughes would take down a Portland player minutes later, allowing Timbers U-23 another free kick opportunity. Hughes would redeem his error, heading the ball away and preventing any opportunity for the opposing club.
Mitrou would keep his clean sheet intact as he deflected a shot on net in the 75th minute, Bhandal would also lend to the defense as he slid across to deflect an opportunity three minutes later.
Portlands largest opportunity of the half came in the 82nd minute, when a blast from Timbers player Macchionne sailed just over the net from eight yards out. Portland would press in the final minutes of the half, but would be unable to break the Highlander defense. The Highlanders would hold their 1-0 lead to the final whistle, winning the Western Conference title and earning a berth in next weekend’s Final Four competition, to be held in Austin, Texas.
For more information please visit http://www.victoriahighlandersfc.com