Eagles Capture 2017 PDL Championship
Eagles Earn First PDL Championship with 2-1 Win on Saturday
MATTHEWS, N.C. – The Charlotte Eagles earned their first PDL Championship, third Championship in club history, on Saturday night with a 2-1 win over the Thunder Bay Chill.
Thanks to midfielder Ryan Williams’ free kick in the 61st minute, the Charlotte Eagles beat the Thunder Bay Chill 2-1 in front of 1,427 fans at the Sportsplex in Matthews.
It was a come-from-behind victory for the Eagles, as the Chill registered the opening goal of the contest in the 21st minute. Thunder Bay earned a corner kick when defender Hazeley Pyle tried to play the ball to goalkeeper James Pyle along the end line, but instead kicked the ball out for the corner. Chill Forward German Altaro fired the ensuing set piece into a danger area in front of the goal and found defender Patricio Arce, who successfully headed the ball onto frame.
Though the ball appeared to strike Curren Page’s hand the ball was across the goal line at the time and therefore Page escaped further punishment for placing hand to ball in his own penalty area.
But the Chill’s advantage didn’t last for long. The Eagles leveled only five minutes later in the 26th when Costa took advantage of a cross from defender Gio Bejarano in the far corner. When the ball landed in the goal box, Costa threw a leaping scissor kick to send the ball towards the near post and past goalkeeper David Elias, leveling the game at one-all.
After intermission, the second half proved to be a chippy affair, yielding two yellow cards in the first 15 minutes. The first belonged to forward Charlotte’s Ashley Sibisi’s in the 54th, followed by Thunder Bay midfielder Eduardo Sanchez six minutes later. Sanchez’s foul, which took place just outside the penalty box, proved to be costly for the Chill, as Williams was able to guide his free kick over Thunder Bay’s wall and into Elias’ net for Player of the Game honors on what proved to be the game-winning goal.
After Williams’ tally, the Chill’s attack only increased in efforts to force overtime. The Eagles were hard pressed to maintain any possession of real value due to Thunder Bay’s defensive line playing at midfield, resulting in multiple scoring opportunities for the Chill. Fortunately for Charlotte coach Dave Dixon, Pyle and the Eagles’ defense stood tall to reject all four of Thunder Bay’s set pieces to hold on for victory.
Charlotte closed the season on a seven-match winning streak dating back to July 8th vs NCFC U23. Joao Costa’s goal was his 16th of the season, both regular and post season, the most for the Charlotte Eagles in the PDL era
Saturday’s crowd was also an Eagles PDL record, as 1,427 braved the heat to watch the Eagles win their first PDL Championship.