2016 PDL Champion Michigan Bucks / PDL
PONTIAC, Mich. – The Michigan Bucks captured their third title in thrilling fashion, tallying in the closing minutes to defeat Calgary Foothills FC 3-2 on Saturday in the 2016 PDL Championship at the Ultimate Soccer Arenas in Pontiac, Mich.
The Central Conference Championship winners went down 2-1 in the second half, but Russell Cicerone, named the PDL Championship MVP following the match, led the comeback. The University of Buffalo talent scored two goals and provided one assist to lift his side over the Western Conference Championship winners. David Goldsmith scored the game-tying second goal for the Bucks, while Nico Pasquotti and Dominic Russo netted for Foothills FC.
After scoring the opener with a well-placed shot from the left in the first half, the Bucks conceded their first goal of the 2016 PDL Playoffs in the 37th minute. Pasquotti’s equalizer was also the first goal the Bucks had conceded at the Ultimate Soccer Arenas all season long.
After the break, Foothills FC added another, putting the pressure on the home side. Russo, ranked 12th in the sixth edition of the 2016 PDL Top Prospects list, powered a shot by Bucks goalkeeper Drew Shepherd. Russo was active throughout the 90 minutes, causing plenty of problems for the Bucks.
Pressing higher up the field in search of an equalizer, the Bucks found it in the 74th minute. Once again, it was Cicerone, ranked 18th in the latest PDL Top Prospects list, creating the opportunity down the left wing. He sent a stellar cross into the box, and Goldsmith rose highest to meet it. His header looped up and over the outstretched Dylon Powley to level the score at two apiece.
With time winding down, Cicerone stepped up to seal the Bucks’ third title – a PDL record. The attacker coolly slotted his penalty kick into the back of the net in the 88th minute.
The Michigan Bucks finish the 2016 PDL season with a 16-2-0 record, including postseason wins, while Foothills FC ends the year with a 12-4-3 record.