The FC Tampa Bay Rowdies reserve team, the MPS Portland Phoenix, has continued their successful first season into the conference playoffs in the USL Premier Development League. Entering the playoffs with a 10-2-4 record, the Phoenix sit second in the Northeast Division of PDL with 34 points. In their last regular season match, the Phoenix beat the Long Island Rough Riders 5-1, giving them the points needed to qualify for the playoffs.
Led by Head Coach and Maine Premier Soccer General Manager Paul Baber, the Phoenix take on Reading United AC, who share the same record as the Phoenix at 10-2-4, on Saturday, July 31 in the semifinals of the Eastern Conference. If the Phoenix beat Reading, they will take on the winner of the Ottawa Fury (11-2-3) and Ironbound Express (10-3-3) match on Sunday, August 1 for the Eastern Conference Championship.
“We are delighted to reach our goal of reaching the playoffs as a first year franchise,” said Baber. “We have had a tremendous season to date and we look ahead to post-season play with confidence, carrying fantastic momentum into this weekend.”
Portland forward Chris Banks is the team’s leading goal scorer with nine goals in 11 games, as well as the points leader with 19. Forward Nicholas Weightman is not far behind Banks with a total of eight goals in 11 games, racking up 18 points this season. Paul Nicholsen, defender for the Phoenix, is tied for first in USL PDL for minutes played with 1,440 minutes. He has played every minute of each match this season.
The Phoenix’s exceptional debut is another expansion success story for the sister organization of Mass Premier Soccer. The Phoenix has first team status within the MPS organization, which previously fielded the Cape Cod Crusaders PDL franchise. The Crusaders had a long and outstanding reputation of success after winning back-to-back national championships in 2002 and 2003.
From the NASL Website.
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