DAYTON,OH (news release) — The Wilmington Hammerheads locked up the second seed in the USL PRO American Division playoffs as goals by Jack Avesyan and Chris Banks earned the side a 2-1 victory against the Dayton Dutch Lions on Saturday night at Miami Valley South Stadium.
Andryi Budnyy assisted on both goals, creating the opening goal for Avesyan in the 21st minute that sent the Hammerheads to the break with a lead. Dayton hit back in the 58th minute as Eric Kissinger scored his fourth goal of the season off an assist from Eddie Hertsenberg, but the Hammerheads regained the advantage three minutes later as Banks scored his seventh of the season from Budnyy’s pass.
Wilmington will now host the Richmond Kickers at Legion Stadium on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. in the USL PRO American Division semifinals. Richmond entered the weekend with a chance to overtake the Hammerheads, but a 0-0 draw with the Los Angeles Blues on Friday night allowed Wilmington to regain control over its playoff destiny.
The Kickers won both games between the two teams this season, though, earning a 2-1 win early in the season at City Stadium before winning their last encounter 2-0 on Wednesday night at Legion Stadium. The Kickers finish their regular season on Sunday night with a second contest against the Blues.
The winner of the Wilmington-Richmond contest will face the winner of the other American Division semifinal that sees the Charleston Battery travel to face Orlando City.