[USL PRO PREVIEW: Quarterfinals]USL PRO's third season moves into the playoffs with regular-season champion Richmond Kickers, 2011 champion Orlando City, 2012 champion Charleston Battery and Harrisburg City Islanders opening at home on Saturday. For a look at the four quarterfinal matchups ...
USL PROSCHEDULE, Quarterfinals:
Saturday, August 24
Richmond vs. Dayton, 7 p.m. ET
Orlando City vs. Pittsburgh, 7:30 p.m. ET
Charleston vs. Los Angeles, 7:30 p.m. ET
Harrisburg vs. Charlotte, 2 p.m. ET
RICHMOND-DAYTON. The Kickers concluded the 2013 regular season atop the standings with a 15-1-10 record and 55 points, clinching the title with a 2-0 win against two-time defending regular-season champion Orlando City last week.
Zimbabwean Joseph Ngwenya leads the Kickers with 10 goals and six assists in all matches, while Matthew Delicate, the Kickers' all-time leading scorer, has posted five goals in his last four games. Goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra, on loan from D.C. United, finished the season with a goals-against average of 0.86, the lowest in the league.
Dayton (10-9-7) ended the regular season on a high note with a convincing 3-1 win over Harrisburg that clinched a playoff berth. Forward Gibson Bardsley had a goal and two assists to lead Dayton with nine goals and seven assists for the season.
ORLANDO CITY-PITTSBURGH.The four points Pittsburgh took -- including three in a 1-0 win at the Florida Citrus Bowl three weeks ago -- cost Orlando City a third straight regular-season title.
The Riverhounds are led by forward Jose Angulo, who shared the Golden Boot title with Dom Dwyer with 15 goals. Dwyer left Orlando City in mid-season to return to MLS's Sporting Kansas City.
Orlando was working to get midfielder Jamie Watson and goalkeeper Jon Kempin back to full health.
“Depending on where they are, they may be available for Saturday’s game,” said Orlando coach Adrian Heath. “The important thing is to not rush them back.”
CHARLESTON-LOS ANGELES.The No. 3 seed Battery split the two games with the Blues in 2013, winning the first match, 3-0, at Blackbaud Stadium on July 27 behind goals from Nicki Paterson, Dane Kellyand Heviel Cordoves, and losing the return match, 2-1, away two weeks ago. Kelly scored the lone Battery goal and Matt Fondy had both Blues goals at UC Irvine.
Kelly led the Battery during the regular season with 11 goals and two assists in 24 games. Nicki Paterson and Heviel Cordoves both recorded seven goals for the season with midfielder Mike Azira scoring five.
Fondy led the Blues with 10 goals, while playmaker Rodrigo Lopez had 11 assists.
HARRISBURG-CHARLOTTE.The City Islanders, the 2011 runners-up, will start the postseason against the Charlotte Eagles in a rubber match at Skyline Sports Complex. Each team won on its opponent’s home turf in 2013.
Lucky Mkosana had 10 goals in his last eight games to finish with 13 goals for Harrisburg, while Sainey Touray, who scored 10 goals, will need to find his mid-season form for the Islanders to make waves in the postseason.
Charlotte’s top two scorers both scored goals in the Eagles' visit to City Island. Jorge Herrera and Christian Ramirez have the most goals by far with 10 and eight, respectively. Eric Reed, the Eagles goalkeeper, has been solid all year, posting a total of eight shutouts.