Finally..... Bucks Win PDL Title|
Michigan lowest seed ever to capture PDL Championship
Saturday, August 12, 2006
LAREDO, TX -- The Michigan Bucks scored twice in the first nine minutes of an action-packed Premier Development League Championship match Saturday night in Laredo, edging the host Heat 2-1 in front of nearly 7,000 fans. One of the most storied and successful clubs in league history, the Bucks finally won their first league title in their 11th season and 10th playoff appearance.
Ironically, the championship run for the Bucks came from the 13th-seeded position, the lowest ever in league history. Along the way they knocked off third-seeded Boulder (4-0), fourth-seeded Chicago (4-1) and ninth-seeded Orange County (2-0) before topping the fifth-seeded Heat.
The fast start left the home side down 2-0 for the second game in a row.
All-League forward Kenny Uzoigwe put the Bucks on the board four minutes in with a powerful blast. A goalkick from Steven Clark found Uzoigwe in the offensive third. He pushed the ball forward to Mychal Turpin, who played the ball back to Uzoigwe. Uzoigwe took the ball forward a few yards before feeding it to league Assist Leader Nate Jafta inside the box. Jafta's attempt to return the ball to Uzoigwe deflected off a defender, but sat perfectly into his stride for a one-time rocket into the back of the net.
Five minutes later the Bucks doubled the lead as the result of a penalty kick. Turpin was taken down as he was driving into the box to earn the penalty only to see his shot to the right stopped by All-Conference selection Ryan Shaughnessy. The rebound on the hard shot, however, fell out to the right side of the penalty area where Tyis Shipalane was charging in hard on the play and ripped a low shot under the outstretched hand of Shaughnessy, who had done well to get up after the initial save.
Looking for another comeback as they had done a week ago against the Westchester Flames when they tied the match before halftime and won 3-2 in the 90th, the Heat nearly did it again.
In the 16th minute a corner into the six was headed low past Clark only to be cleared off the line by Shipalane, who was guarding the far post on the play.
Two minutes later though, the Heat did cut into the lead on a corner from the opposite side, finally taking advantage of a series of corner kicks over the previous few minutes. Juan Ibarra sent his corner toward the near post, where it was flicked on to the far post. Defender Jose Macias was there to put the ball away and give the home side hope.
The remainder of the match saw numerous chances for both sides, including one for Laredo in the 70th that was snuffed by Clark, who made a diving effort to stop the ball on the line when a free kick into the six was only headed to the far post by a Bucks player, giving the Heat a chance to redirect the ball on goal.
Comments from Michigan goalkeeper Steve Clark (Championship MVP)
"I think all year everyone knew, and about three games left to go in the regular season I looked at the coach and said 'hey, we're gonna win the national championship.' And he was like 'hey, we just wanna win these next few games,' and I'm like, 'we're gonna win the national championship."
"Dan Duggan is absolutely the best owner in this league. It's just an awesome feeling to be a part of this team and win it for him cuz all the guys in the huddle and stuff are like 'lets do it for Dan and our coaches.'"
"I remember when I was in in the eighth grade and looking up the Bucks on the internet. It's just a dream to be here. I followed the Bucks and its just awesome. I can't describe the feelings."
"We were just trying to weather the storm and I told the guys at halftime we were alright," he said regarding a wave of Heat chances in the first half. "We got out of there and we got a lead, and they threw everything and the kitchen sink at us."
Comments from Michigan owner Dan Duggan
"The attitude of this team from the very beginning was they understood the mission, knew what had to be done. Very early we didn't know each other very well. They understood their roles as we went on later in the season. We made a nice run after we played the Columbus Crew in the Open Cup. It's all heart and desire."
PDL CHAMPIONSHIP VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS