Kings Hammer ended the regular season with a 2-2 draw with the South Bend Lions on Sunday at Xavier University’s Corcoran Field. The draw gives Kings Hammer a third-place finish and a trip to the USL League Two playoffs.
Kings Hammer is awaiting word on where its match will be. There are two possibilities for where they end up in the first round, Iowa or Mississippi. Either way, it’s a long road trip for the boys. The playoff format puts 26 teams into the tournament, and today is the last day matches can be played. The playoffs are to start on Friday.
A Different 18
Knowing that they were already in the playoffs, Kings Hammer rested a few players that had played significant minutes over the summer. Noticeably absent from the selection were Danny Barlow, Karson Kendall and Marcello Jones. Jared Brown also wasn’t in the starting 11, and Northern Kentucky’s Daniel Bermingham saw his first start of the season.
With those pieces resting, you take a draw, right? There are a number of factors that went into the decision to rest some of the guys that have a lot of minutes. Kendall’s minutes with KHFC are off a bit in that bunch, but he played in World Cup Qualifiers for the U.S. Virgin Islands during his time with Kings Hammer as well.
In the 25th minute, Kings Hammer scored off a Kenney Walker corner. Roberto Burlew buried it off of a header that snuck past South Bend keeper Keagan McGlaughlin. South Bend equalized in first-half stoppage time when Nana Tuffour collected his sixth goal of the season. That sent the teams into the locker rooms knotted up at the half. There was obvious frustration on the faces of Kings Hammer coaches and players as they conceded yet again right before the half.
The second half saw both teams with various chances, but South Bend did a great job at applying pressure. Amass Amakona scored on an Olympico in the 78th minute, scoring directly off of a corner kick as a Kings Hammer defender appeared to duck out of the way of the ball. It seemed as there was a miscommunication between the defender and goalkeeper Danial Bermingham. That being said, Bermingham made a number of solid saves that kept KHFC in the match.
In the 89th minute there was a no-call on a play that appeared to be an obvious penalty. Even the South Bend bench seemed to wonder what was going on with the play. A corner kick was awarded, and on that corner kick, a penalty was given to Kings Hammer after some light contact in the box. What appeared to be a makeup call lead to Alex Krakowiak-Castro burying the penalty kick and bringing the kings of the Queen City even right before time expired.
As soon as we have more information about the playoffs, we will have a USL Two playoff preview for you here at cincinnatisoccertalk.com