Pioneers Knocked out of Playoffs

Reading United AC Dominate Second Half


The Pioneers 2016 season came to an end last night when they were eliminated 3-1 at Reading United AC.  This was the first meeting between these two franchises.  Reading won the Mid Atlantic Division with a 10-3-1 record, which paired them with Northeast Division second place finishers the Pioneers (7-4-3 record).

Both teams saw a competitive first half that saw the Pioneers strike first from an amazing goal off a volley by Maxi Viera in the 23rd minute.  But United began to control the game shortly after, and equalized in the 40th minute.  After the second half, the Pioneers appeared fatigued in spots and couldn’t keep up with the attacking play by Reading.  Pierrot from United would score in the 71st minute to give his team a goal advantage, and Reading would put the game out of reach with another goal in the 90th minute.

It also wasn’t a good night for Western Mass divisional rivals GPS Portland Phoenix, which also lost 3-1 at home to the Mid Atlantic Division second place finisher Ocean City Nor’easters.  Both Reading and Ocean City advance to the Eastern Conference Championship, along with the Charlotte Eagles and Carolina Dynamo.

“It was difficult for us to lose this game 3-1, but we played an excellent team at a tough place to play” commented head coach Federico Molinari. “At the beginning of the year, our goals were to make the playoffs and qualify for the US Open Cup. We did that.  Now I want more, and the team does too”.

It was a highly successful year for Western Mass.  It was their highest divisional finish at second place since joining the PDL in 2010.  Before this year, the last time the Pioneers made the playoffs was in 2008, when they competed in the USL Second Division.  The Pioneers also had a four game win streak along with an eight game unbeaten streak.  It is also very likely the team qualified for the US Open Cup, a prestigious competition the team has appeared in 9 times before.

Maxi Viera