EPPING, NH - This past weekend, the Seacoast United Phantoms’ season came to an end as they bowed out to Western Mass Pioneers in the USL 2 Eastern Conference Semi-Final. After a hard-fought match at the Lusitano Stadium which saw the score line finish 0-0 after extra time, the Phantoms lost on penalties.
The Phantoms headed into the playoffs off the back of a fantastic run of form which saw them win their last four home matches. In total, the home team managed to score 15 goals and concede only once which was one of the best records across the whole of the USL 2. With that, they were able to book their place in the playoffs and a match up against the Long Island Rough Riders. The playoffs were hosted at the Lusitano Stadium (Western Mass’s home). The Phantoms secured a 2-1 win with the main highlight being a number of Academy players featuring in the starting eleven including young Connor Thompson. The result meant that they would progress to the conference semi-final massive with another match against Northeast division winner Western Mass Pioneers, a team in which the Phantoms had a 1-1-1 record against during the regular season.
The match took place Saturday evening and had a bit of everything in it, including a 30-minute lightning delay. Since this was the fourth time the sides had met this season, it was a very close contest between both teams. With no winner after extra time, the game had to be decided by penalties. There wasn't much to separate the two sides in the penalty shootout and the Phantoms ended up losing 5-4 by the smallest of margins. Even with the disappointing loss, the Phantoms persevered all season long and proved they weren’t a club to mess with throughout the USL.
“We are incredibly proud of the boys.” Said Head Coaches Alex Ryan & Paul Baber. “We had such a talented group of individuals but to come together in such a short space of time shows how much they bought into the program and more importantly, each other.”
Dominic Laws finished the season as the leading goal scorer with a total of 8 goals. Not too far behind was midfielder and captain Jamie Davis who scored 7 times, with an additional 6 assists making him the decisive play maker within the side. In addition to being an impressive attacking side, the Phantoms remained solid at the back, only allowing an average of 1.375 goals per game. The biggest milestone for not only the Phantoms, but Seacoast United as a whole was the number of current Academy players and alumni that featured in the squad. Jack Burgess, Taig Healy and Connor Thompson, who all play for the Seacoast United MLS Next Boys’ Academy, were key members in the squad this year and further proof that the Academy is developing some of the best talent in the region. To add to that this season’s current roster included 11 former Seacoast United Boys Academy Players.
“To have the Academy lads involved this summer, and going toe-to-toe with college athletes speaks volumes about what we are doing here at Seacoast.” Said Ryan. “Peter Decker (Boys’ Academy Director) and his staff are providing a real pathway for these athletes and the results in the USL this season prove that.”
The Seacoast United Phantoms would like to thank all of the staff, players, families and community members for making this a memorable season. Special thanks to Blue Water Mortgage who was the official sponsor for the Seacoast United Phantoms. For more information on the program, please email Alex Ryan at email@example.com. Thank you and best of luck to Western Mass Pioneers in the USL 2 Eastern Conference Final.