New England Soccer Today

Pioneers Fall Short of Playoff Bid

Photo credit: David Henry/sweetdogphotos.com

A stoppage time penalty strike sunk the playoff hopes of the Western Mass Pioneers following Sunday’s 1-1 draw to the Long Island Rough Riders.

Holding onto a one-goal lead – not to mention their postseason hopes – going into stoppage time, a handling call inside the area was called against the Pioneers. Moments later, Junior Rosero hit it true to rip away the two points needed for Western Mass to secure its playoff berth.

Carlos Ruiz gave the Ludlow selection the early lead when he struck from the spot in the 23rd minute.

The Pioneers entered Sunday’s match on 26 points, needing a victory against the 27-point Rough Riders to claim the second and final playoff spot in the Northeast Division.

Ruiz’s goal gave them hope as they held back the hosts going into stoppage time. But the handling call and Rosero’s subsequent penalty strike doomed their efforts to reach the PDL postseason for the second straight year.

With the draw, Western Mass concludes its campaign on 27 points with an 8-3-3 mark, good for a third-place finish, but painfully one point shy of a playoff berth.

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