[USL PRO] The Wilmington Hammerheads, who had handed defending champion Orlando City its only defeat in the regular season, repeated the feat as they raced out to a 3-0 lead after a half an hour and held on to beat the No. 1 seed, 4-3, in the USL PRO semifinals Friday night at the Florida Citrus Bowl. The No. 2 seed also fell as No. 3 Charleston Battery scored the tying goal in stoppage time and went on to defeat the Rochester Rhinos in a shootout at Sahlen’s Stadium. The Battery will host the Hammerheads Sept. 8 in the championship game.
Wilmington led on goals by Corey Hertzog, Luke Holmes and Hagop Chirishian before Matt Luzunaris gave Orlando hope of a comeback as he scored a minute before halftime.
The Hammerheads restored their three-goal advantage in the 59th minute on Hertzog's second goal of the game. They were reduced to 10 men when Dylan Riley was sent off with 25 minutes to go, but it wasn't until stoppage time that Orlando took advantage with goals by Jamie Watson from the penalty spot and George Davis IV.
In Rochester, the Battery claimed victory in the seventh round of penalty kicks when Andrew Dykstra saved from Tyler Rosenlund and J.C. Mack made no mistake to clinch a 4-3 win.
The Rhinos had the opportunity to win from the penalty spot in the fifth round only for Troy Roberts to shoot wide. They were also seconds away from winning in regulation when Tony Donatelli headed home from close range against his former team. Kendell McFayden scored 10 minutes into the second half for the Rhinos.