By Datti Jinkiri
Clinton High School will be one of the two Central Conference host sites for the opening rounds of the USL League Two Playoffs. There will be four teams playing in Clinton. Kalamazoo FC and Corpus Christi FC will face off at 5:00 p.m., and Mississippi Brilla FC will meet Kings Hammer FC in the nightcap at 7:30 p.m. The winners of those two games will meet on Sunday night at 7:00 p.m.
The winner of Sunday’s match will be among the final eight teams in the playoffs and advance to the Central Conference Championship game. The conference championship game will be played next weekend at a location that is still to be determined.
Here is some information on each of the four teams who will be playing in Clinton this weekend.
Mississippi Brilla FC
Location: Clinton, Mississippi
Record: 8-2-3 (Mid South Division Champions)
Top Scorer: Ciro Damine (7 Goals)
Assists Leader: David Medeiros (3 Assists)
The homestanding Mississippi Brilla FC team will enter the playoffs as the Mid South Division Champions. The division title is Brilla’s first since 2015. The team went undefeated in its first five matches and had another four-game winning streak in a critical part of the season. Argentine striker Ciro Damine paces the team with seven goals, and midfielder David Medeiros leads the team in assists with three.
Kings Hammer FC
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Record: 8-2-3 (Third Place in Great Lakes Division)
Top Scorer: Daniel Barlow (4 Goals)
Assists Leader: Daniel Barlow (5 Assists)
Kings Hammer FC has run a successful youth program for many years, but this season is the team’s first in USL League Two. The team has been paced by Daniel Barlow, a forward who leads the team in goals (four) and assists (five). Kings Hammer FC boasts experienced former MLS player Kenney Walker in its ranks.
Corpus Christi FC
Location: Corpus Christi, Texas
Record: 7-4-2 (Second Place in Mid South Division)
Top Scorers: Francesco Brunetti, Pablo Guillen, Deni Cresto (3 Goals)
Assists Leader: Pablo Guillen (3 Assists)
Corpus Christi FC clinched a playoff berth with a 1-0 road win over the Little Rock Rangers in the team’s final match of the season. The team is paced in the goal charts by Francesco Brunetti, Pablo Guillen, and Deni Cresto, who each have scored three goals. Guillen also leads the team in assists with three.
Location: Kalamazoo, Michigan
Record: 9-1-4 (Great Lakes Division Champions)
Top Scorer: Cyrus Harmon (8 Goals)
Assists Leader: Chay Strine and Tyler Green (2 Assists)
There will be two division winners playing in Clinton on Friday, as Kalamazoo FC clinched the Great Lakes Division title in its first ever USL League Two season. Cyrus Harmon leads the team with eight goals, and the team’s assist lead is shared by Chay Strine and Tyler Green with two apiece. Kalamazoo FC also boasts Madison Central graduate Deon Travis on its roster.
More Playoff Info
These playoff matches will have an admission charge. Tickets for the first round matches can be bought in advance for $5.00 or bought at the gate for $8.00. The ticket is valid for BOTH first round matches. Online tickets can be purchased HERE. Online ticket sales will end tomorrow at 4:00 p.m.
Fans can also buy tickets from the Clinton Courier office at 105 East Main Street in Clinton. Tickets can be purchased Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
All soccer players aged 18 and under will get in for free if they wear their youth team jerseys. Also, all Clinton Soccer Association players are invited to arrive at 7:15 and participate in the walkout ceremony with the Brilla team on the field prior to the match. Just wear your jersey and report to the merchandise tent at 7:15 pm.