THEN THERE WERE FOUR...
TAMPA, Fla - Championship weekend is set and four teams will be in Michigan this coming weekend to vie for the Major Arena Soccer League 2 title.
The final two slots were filled over the weekend when San Diego defeated RGV in a game-of-the-year candidate won by the Sockers in overtime, 6-5. Also in are the Muskegon Risers who were methodical in rolling past the Chicago Mustangs 8-2 in Muskegon, site of the league's Championship Weekend.
Cleveland will meet the Risers in a 7 p.m. kickoff Friday night at Mercy Health Arena in Muskegon, the second in a sem-final doubleheader that will start at 4 p.m. when the Sockers will meet the Omaha Kings.
The Sockers lost a three-goal lead in the fourth quarter, only to win it in overtime when Uziel Gonzalez curled a cheeky little restart from the top of the arc into the top right corner of the goal to send San Diego through. The Barracudas tied it with just over 1:30 to go when Jose Echavarria found the mark.
Ismael Rojo scored twice for San Diego, who also got goals from Kevin Aviles, Tito Ramirez and Alan Crespo in building a 5-2 lead four minutes into the final quarter. Jesus Doria had a goal and two assists to lead RGV, who also got goals from Ivan Martinez, Erick Flores and Marco Segura,
Muskegon scored three in the first quarter, and pulled away with four in the fourth to move to the semi-finals. Chicago closed to within 4-2 three minutes into the final frame on a goal from Michael Marchionna, but the Risers spoiled any comeback attempt from there.
Alexis Mendez and Colin O'Keefe each had two for the Risers, who were making their first ever M2 playoff appearance, and also got goals from Aldony Mendez, Francesco Calabrese, Adetunji "TJ" Ifaturoti and Taichi Yamada.