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SOUTHWEST CONFERENCE PLAYOFF PREVIEW #1

07/06/2016, 5:30pm EDT
By NPSL

Albion SC Pros (Home) vs. SoCal SC (Away)

Game Details: Saturday, July 9th, 7:00 pm at Mission Bay High School in San Diego

Ticket Details: $10 adult, $3 kids, can be purchased online at ProSoccerSanDiego.com or albionscpros.com

Albion SC Pros

Albion, the Southwest Conference champions, are coming off an incredible regular season that included an undefeated record (8-0-4) in their first year in the NPSL.  To put this into perspective, only three NPSL teams - out of a total of 82- have an undefeated record at the moment. 

Offense: Veteran striker Matt Clare is an offensive juggernaut, leading the team with 11 goals and seven assists.  He has played for the likes of FC Tampa Bay, Tampa Bay Rowdies, Norfolk SharX, Syracuse Silver Knights, Wichita Wings, Wichita B-52s, and the San Diego Sockers.

Defense: Their defense is led by captain Luke Staats, defender Ricky McKenzie, and goalkeeper Jean Antoine.  Staats, who has spent time at both center back and left back, started all 11 games that he played in.  McKenzie was also a dependable and consistent presence, making 10 starts.  Antoine has seven clean sheets in league play, finishing with an impressive .416 GAA. 

Notable Quote: “It’s been a tremendous season to this point and we are very pleased to have put ourselves in the situation to host deep into the tournament.  The support from the community has been terrific, the players have helped to create a culture of accountability, execution and consistency, and the front office along with countless volunteers are what have made this inaugural season so special.  I am proud of what we have accomplished in such a small window of time and look forward to continuing our success on and off the field.” - Ziggy Korytoski, Albion SC Pros Head Coach

SoCal SC

SoCal SC, based out of San Bernardino, are excited for the playoffs after a 5-5-2 record in the regular season.  They face the conference champions and an undefeated team, but are loaded with talent and skill at every position.

Offense:  SoCal’s attack begins and ends with forward Christian Gonzalez-Diaz, who tallied 12 goals and four assists in eight matches.  The prolific playmaker comes out of the Chivas USA youth academy and recently starred for Cal Poly Pomona, where he was named First Team All-American and two-time Offensive Player of the Year. 

Defense: The SoCal defense is just as dynamic as its offense thanks to the play of two 23-year-old standouts.  Defender Michael Hodis scored the first goal in club history in addition to starting nine games.  The Cypress College standout even had a trial with Hercules CF in Spain.  He is joined by goalkeeper Ashkan Khosravi, who finished with two clean sheets from eight starts.  A product of the Iran youth national team, Khosravi was a four-year starter and two-year captain at UC Riverside.  He would finish as the winningest goalkeeper in that program’s history.  

Notable Quotable: "We are extremely delighted with our season so far, as it was totally unexpected to be where we are in our first year of existence. We obviously play soccer to win, but we were very conscious about the circumstances that affected our community of San Bernardino late last year.  So in reality we have put together a team in a very short period of time, and with limited resources. Therefore we are humbly very pleased to have made it into the Southwest Conference playoffs. We are taking one game at a time now, and we anticipate a very difficult upcoming match, where anything can happen against one of the top teams in the country." - Daniel Gamba, SoCal SC General Manager

Photo Credit: ​Jason Ramirez, Keith and Michelle Dereld

 

 

 

Tag(s): The NPSL