It was a busy week for Albion Pros as they wrapped up the last week of the National Premier Soccer League Southwest Conference regular season. Albion was under pressure to earn positive results to win the league with the final three games scheduled in the space of just seven days, the last two being on the road. Despite the pressure, Albion Pros went on to rightfully claim their place as the undefeated NPSL Southwest Conference Champions. Albion Pros end the regular season with an 8W-0L-4D record, allowing only 8 goals against all season and recording the best winning percentage (points per game) in the entire West region. This guarantees Albion Pros home field advantage through the playoffs scheduled to start July 9th!
First up for the Pros was a surprising, wildly entertaining 3-3 draw versus FC Hasental at home on June 18th. Against FC Hasental, Albion’s David Luquen earned Man of the Match honors for two superb goals that equalized the game. For FC Hasental, Cameron Artiguliere also scored two well-taken goals. Albion Pros’ standout goalkeeper Jean Antoine had an uncharacteristic performance in allowing three goals, one more than he had allowed all season.
After a couple of days rest, Albion Pros traveled to face Temecula FC in a game that would clinch home field advantage in the first round of the playoffs. David Luquen was the catalyst again for Albion Pros with a hat-trick performance. Five goals in two games is quite a week for any player, and Albion Pros eventually won 5-0 with fan favorites Matt Clare and Kuba Waligorski rounding out the scoring. Head Coach Ziggy Korytoski was pleased with the performance, especially after a frustrating draw against FC Hasental.
[quote_box_center]“We are starting to put all the pieces together at the right time. Our defense got back to producing shutout performances after two off games. And our offense has scored a lot of goals in the last couple games. It’s exciting to see it all starting to come together, just in time for playoffs.”[/quote_box_center]
On Saturday Albion Pros traveled north on the Interstate 15 to face last placed Corinthians USA. Last time the two teams met, Corinthians was able to earn a 0-0 draw on at Mission Bay High School. This game proved to be vastly different. Corinthians only had 10 men available to play and inevitably conceded early goals. The first half saw Captain Luke Staats open up the scoring, with Tre Hayes, David Luquen and Matt Clare make it 4-0 at halftime. Clare continued to show his attacking pedigree and scored 2 more goals to complete his hat trick. Clare also had two assists to earn Man of the Match honors.
There is no break for San Diego’s Albion Pros. Tuesday they host Club Tijuana Xolos U20 in an international exhibition match. The Pros will want to stay sharp prior to the start of the NPSL playoffs on July 9th. You can purchase tickets to Albion Pros games at ProSoccerSanDiego.com. Kickoff is scheduled for 7pm at Mission Bay High School.