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Top PDL Performers: College Week in Review (Sept. 26-Oct.2)

10/03/2016, 11:15am EDT
By AARON CRANFORD - aaron.cranford@uslsoccer.com

Wingate provides two assists for New Hampshire; Pahkasalo nets seven in two games


Photo courtesy of New Hampshire Athletics

In one of the must-see games of the weekend, Chris Wingate rose to the occasion for New Hampshire.

The midfielder provided two assists to help his program improve to 9-1-0 in the 2016 college campaign, headlining the list of PDL Players to Watch who stood out from Sept. 26 to Oct. 2. Nico Campbell, Marcello Borges, Aleksi Pahkasalo and Dominic Russo all also earn honors after sensational performances.

The PDL Players to Watch list includes players named to and considered for the six 2016 PDL Top Prospects lists throughout the summer. More than 20 scouts across North America provided the PDL with valuable insight on players who were performing at the highest level within the league, possessed strong technical and tactical qualities and had the potential to play at the professional level. The Top Prospects list serves as a useful resource for professional clubs who are interested in identifying and scouting high-level performers.

TOP FIVE PERFORMERS

Chris Wingate – New Hampshire – Sounders FC U23

Wingate was instrumental in helping New Hampshire record its ninth win of the college season on Friday.

The senior midfielder from Norway provided two assists to lead New Hampshire to a 3-0 win against UMBC at Bremner Field. Wingate played all 90 minutes in the America East Conference tilt, extending the program’s win streak to five games.

Wingate featured for the Sounders FC U23 in 2016, scoring one goal and providing one assist in seven games played. In 10 games for New Hampshire, Wingate has scored two and assisted six.

Aleksi Pahkasalo – Lindsey Wilson – Derby City Rovers

Pahkasalo can’t stop scoring since returning from his injury.

The forward, who earned 2016 PDL All-Central Conference Team honors after scoring 11 goals and providing two assists for the Derby City Rovers during the PDL regular season, scored seven goals across two games.

Pahkasalo netted four in a 7-0 win against Cumberlands on Tuesday. On Friday, he and Lindsey Wilson – ranked 21st in the latest NAIA Men’s Soccer Coaches’ Top 25 Poll – played eighth-ranked Campbellsville to a 4-4 tie. The 5-foot-9 senior scored a hat trick in the tie, including two sensational free kicks. Pahkasalo now has 10 goals and one assist in five games played in the current college campaign.

Dominic Russo – Calgary – Calgary Foothills FC

Russo continues to shine in the Canada West Universities Athletic Association.

The Calgary forward scored two goals and provided two assists in a 7-1 win against MacEwan on Saturday. Russo then provided an assist that sparked a comeback against Alberta on Sunday; the match finished 3-3.

Russo finished the 2016 PDL season ranked 12th on the final edition of the 2016 PDL Top Prospects list. After scoring six goals and providing one assist in 11 regular-season matches, the 22-year-old forward earned 2016 PDL All-League Team honors. Russo then led Calgary Foothills FC to an appearance in the 2016 PDL Championship, scoring four goals and providing one assist in the 2016 PDL Playoffs.

Nico Campbell – Valparaiso – Des Moines Menace

Nico Campbell, who finished the 2016 PDL season as the highest-ranked goalkeeper on the PDL Top Prospects list, came up big when Valparaiso needed him.

The Des Moines Menace talent made two saves in the first half of his program’s 3-0 win against Eastern Illinois on Tuesday before earning a shutout against Oakland on Saturday. The 6-foot-4 senior from Kingston, Jamaica, made five key saves in the 1-0 win vs. the Golden Grizzlies.

Marcello Borges – Michigan – New York Red Bulls U23

Marcello Borges, who made eight appearances for the New York Red Bulls U23 in 2016, helped lead Michigan to two important wins.

The sophomore defender looked strong in 64 minutes of action against Detroit, helping his side secure a 2-0 win on Wednesday. Borges then played 75 minutes and recorded an assist in his program’s 2-0 victory against Big Ten Conference foe Penn State.

Honorable Mentions

Miles Robinson – Syracuse – FC Boston

Miles Robinson helped Syracuse secure a shutout against a strong UNC-Chapel Hill attack.

The sophomore defender, who appeared in six games for FC Boston during the 2016 PDL regular season, played all 110 minutes in the 0-0 tie at SU Soccer Stadium. Robinson, alongside teammate and PDL Player to Watch Kamal Miller, held the Tar Heels to just six shots – two on goal.

Foster Langsdorf – Stanford – Portland Timbers U-23s

Foster Langsdorf proved to be the hero for Stanford on Sunday.

The junior forward scored the game-winner in a 1-0 victory for the Cardinal against California. Langsdorf, who played for the Portland Timbers U-23s during the summer, showed off his strength, shielding the ball while sprinting towards goal, before netting the decisive strike in the 47th minute of play.

Langsdorf now has seven goals and one assist in nine games this college campaign.

Kyle Bjornethun – Seattle – Sounders FC U23

Kyle Bjornethun, a standout performer for the Sounders FC U23 in 2016, helped Seattle record back-to-back 2-0 shutouts.

Named to the 2016 Missouri Athletic Club’s Hermann Trophy Watchlist, the senior defender was impressive in 90 minutes against CSU Bakersfield on Friday. He then played all 90 minutes against Utah Valley, attempting three shots – one on goal.


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