Scoring machine Dzenan Catic netted two goals, including this one in the first half. Photo credit: Art Schramm Photography
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Friday, July 25, 2014 – With goals from Dzenan Catic coming 90 minutes apart, the Michigan Bucks ousted the St. Louis Lions from the Premier Development League Playoffs this evening at Valley Stadium.
Catic, who took the PDL Golden Boot with 16 goals in the regular season, scored in the 13th and 103rd minutes of the 3-1 overtime win. The Bucks advance to tomorrow’s 7:30 P.M. PDL Central Conference championship match, facing the winner of tonight’s nightcap between the host Des Moines Menace and K-W United FC.
Gerald Ben, a second-half substitution, scored the eventual game-winner less than three minutes into the first of two 15-minute extra periods. Catic’s second score sealed the match 10 minutes later.
“We’re happy to be moving on. It feels great,” said Michigan head coach Demir Muftari. “A well-earned win for us – it took everything we had.”
The regulation goals came in the early going. The Lions drew first blood in the 10th minute, when Vadim Cojocov controlled Carson Pryor’s pass and fired just over goalkeeper Adam Grinwes’s left shoulder.
The Bucks evened the match just three minutes later, with Catic’s volley of a cross from David Goldsmith. Catic, the reigning PDL Player of the Week, beat the Lions’ Iain McTurk – the goalkeeper on the league’s current Team of the Week.
Michigan, the Great Lakes Division champion, controlled much of the match, with St. Louis mounting a few attacks and fending off the Bucks, who outshot the Lions, 28-11.
“The response from our boys was great,” Muftari said. “They kept battling. It would have been easy for them to put heads down. We didn’t, and we go on to another day.”
Making its fifth straight playoff appearance – and 17th in 19 seasons – Michigan (10-2-3) looks to get past the conference final for the first time since back-to-back trips to the PDL final. The Bucks won the championship in 2006 and finished second in 2007.
The Lions are winless in two postseason trips in nine years. Their previous playoff berth came in 2007. St. Louis (6-5-4) finished behind PDL regular-season champion Des Moines (12-1-1) in the Heartland Division standings.
Match: Michigan Bucks vs. St. Louis Lions
Date: Friday, July 25, 2014
Competition: Premier Development League Playoffs: Central Conference semifinal
Venue: Valley Stadium (turf) in West Des Moines, Iowa
Weather: 80s, sunny and windy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 OT1 OT2 F
MICH 1 0 1 1 3
StL 1 0 0 0 1
MICH – Dzenan Catic (David Goldsmith) 13:00; Gerald Ben 93:00; Catic 103:00
StL – Vadim Cojocov (Carson Pryor) 10:00
Stats Summary: MICH / StL
Shots: 28 / 11
Saves: 5 / 8
Corner Kicks: 9 / 3
Fouls: 13 / 17
Offside: 3 / 1