The regular season is coming to an end but FC London has done enough to get into the playoffs.
With two games remaining, the record is 7-4-1 which places them third in the Great Lakes Division, behind K-W United (Kitchener) and the Michigan Bucks.
The start of the year, was as hot as a team could be starting 4-0-1. The first four games on the road included big wins in Dayton, Toronto and Kitchener. The Home opener was an amazing start, beating TFC Academy 5-2.
But since that hot start the team seems to have slowed down. “Playing a lot of games in a short period of time and lost some players with a couple of minor injuries”, said Head Coach Martin Painter.
Losing starting midfielder Tyler Hemming early in the season was a big blow to the team. Minor injuries have been a big factor in there recent 3-4-0 slump which has seen a total of just 8 goals scored, all during their wins.
Veteran Goalkeeper Mark Haynes has had the best view of the recent goal struggles. Now with every goalkeeper frustration might start to become a factor but he says he understands just how hard scoring a goal can be in a tough competitive league like USL.
“Easy from the other end of the field to expect those things right. Obviously at that level goals are hard to come by, you don’t see a lot of 5 and 6 goal performances, a lot of them are one goal games. Yes its frustrating at times but I know what a testament it is to score in this league”.
Though the struggles are there right now there are a lot of positives to take away from the season. The team is in the playoffs, though it will be on the road, they’ve had great rookie seasons from Alejandro Pastor, who leads the team with 8 goals and Kal Okot who looks like stud at the back end every game.
The one aspect of every FC London home game that never changes are the die hard fans. Every Saturday, and the occasional Friday, they have packed the Canadian German Club and cheered on their team. Star Forward and fan favorite James Pucci understands the role the fans play each time they take the field.
“One of the reasons why I came back was because of the fans. I absolutely love them, they do their best no matter what. If we win they’re there for us, if we lose they always have that one thing that pushes us through”.
Now there are just two more games left before the team hits the road for the playoffs. They will be taking on either The Michigan Bucks or K-W United, two tough teams with Michigan being the defending champions.
They’ve lost both games to Michigan and won one of three against K-W United, so the road to the championship won’t be easy, but a route the team is willing to take.
TFC Academy at FC London
Saturday July 11 at 7:00 p.m. German Canadian Club on Cove Road
Pittsburgh Riverhounds at FC London
Saturday July 18 at 7:00 p.m. German Canadian Club on Cove Road