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Bavarians Crowned: Premier League of America Tournament Recap

by on 1 August 2016

The Premier League of America held its inaugural postseason tournament this weekend in Toledo. RWB Adria (East Division champions), Milwaukee Bavarians (West Division champions), Cedar Rapids Rampage United (second place in the West), and hosts Toledo United (second place in the East) challenged not only for the PLA Championship trophy, but also for a spot in the 2017 US Open Cup. Milwaukee Bavarians were crowned champions on Sunday afternoon after notching wins over Toledo United and RWB Adria.

FIRST SEMIFINAL
Milwaukee Bavarians 1, Toledo United FC 0
July 30, 2016

Toledo United made the tournament in its first season of existence. Though Toledo played teams with long histories of success, the team showed no lack of confidence. They came into the tournament in second place, having been leapfrogged on the last day of the season. The Phoenix hung with Bavarians for most of the first half hour, but Brett Dietz launched a rocket across the penalty area and into the back of the net in the 28th minute to put Milwaukee up 1-0. Milwaukee looked to be the better side for much of the game, but survived a few scares. Toledo came closest to equalizing in the 75th minute when Oliver Verdult sent a shot flying off the crossbar. Bavarians were able to see out the remainder of the match and hang on to advance to the championship game.

SECOND SEMIFINAL
RWB Adria 2, Cedar Rapids Rampage United 0
July 30, 2016

RWB Adria looked to repeat as champions (won the Great Lakes Premier League in 2015) but needed to get past Cedar Rapids, a team that made the tournament in its first season fielding an outdoor team. The Iowans had their foot on the gas early on, but conceded a penalty to Adria in the 12th minute. Semir Mesanovic stepped up and missed the spot kick, but the game evened out from then on, both teams playing with good tempo. The first half ended scoreless, but Adria went ahead directly after the restart with Derek Huffman heading a cross home in the 46th minute. Both teams had good chances to score in the next 15 minutes, but neither could finish them off. Adria added an insurance goal in the 86th minute to secure their place in the championship game.

THIRD PLACE GAME
Toledo United FC 2, Cedar Rapids Rampage United 1
July 31, 2016

Toledo and Cedar Rapids had nothing but bragging rights on the line in the third place game, but that didn’t stop the teams from putting on a show. Cedar Rapids captain Gordy Gurson gave his team a 1-0 lead after burying a pass from teammate Kenan Malicevic. The scoreline would stay that way until just before the hour mark of the game. Toledo talisman Kyle Breitmeyer was awarded a penalty and calmly put it away to equalize. Unfortunately for Toledo, Camden Buescher’s season ended with a straight red just two minutes later and his team was forced to finish with ten men. The disadvantage made little difference however; Breitmeyer found a way through the Cedar Rapids defense and slotted home his second of the match in the 76th minute. This proved to be the game-winner as the ten remaining Toledo players put in a strong defensive effort to close out the game and claim third place.

CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Milwaukee Bavarians 4, RWB Adria 2
July 31, 2016

Two of the oldest clubs in the league–if not the country–faced off the in the inaugural PLA Championship on Sunday. Bavarians were first on the board just ten minutes into the game when a free kick found the foot of Scott Lorenz who put it away. Lorenz then added an assist near halftime when he connected with Braden Andryk in the 39th minute to double the lead. Adria made it a game in the 44th minute with Derek Huffman’s penalty kick. The heat and some lack of discipline led to a disjointed second half, although both teams had their share of offensive chances. The 77th minute saw Nick Wilson score on a long range effort to put the Bavarians up 3-1 and Andryk made it a brace in the 82nd minute for a 4-1 lead. Taylor Bond cut into the lead just two minutes later, but it was too little too late. Bavarians went on to win 4-2 and claim the first Premier League of America Championship.

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