The Buffalo & District Soccer League finals match-ups are set after a crazy Sunday which saw a memorable clash between BSC Raiders and BUSS, as well as an upset in the other premier tilt.
Here's a look at the results from the semifinals in BDSL's premier and championship divisions:
BSC Raiders 4, BUSS 3 (2OT)
Recap: This match will go down as one of the wildest playoff contests in league history. It boasted a little bit of everything over the 120 minutes.
Raiders spotted BUSS three goals and an extra man after 20 minutes. Mohamed Musse struck in the fifth minute when his deflected strike found its way into the back post. Three minutes later, BSC's Kyle Rogers dragged down Hunter Walsh after a miscommunication with his goalkeeper, Ryan Arvin, and Abdi Sabtow sent the keeper the wrong direction on the ensuing spot kick.
The match seemed to unravel completely for Rocky Palmeiro's team when, with the assistant referee's help, it was determined Rudy Pikuzinski III had thrown an elbow into Sabtow's face, and a straight red card was awarded to BSC's center midfielder.
To add insult to ejection, the foul was ruled inside the 18-yard box, giving BUSS a second penalty kick - which Hunter Walsh smacked into the upper-right corner with conviction.
A key moment came around the 30th minute, as tempers began to flare and Raiders appealed regularly for penalty kick calls of their own. A forceful collision near midfield - where Hunter Sherman clattered into Ryan Walter - was deemed cynical; the center referee went to his front pocket and dismissed Sherman.
Although Raiders didn't get on the scoreboard until the second half, the leveling of the playing field rejuvenated BSC. Ryan Walter, Raiders' chief antagonist, hammered a right-footed shot from 20 yards off a defender and past BUSS goalkeeper Drew Colosimo, then Kwadwo Asante cut the margin to one on a header a couple minutes later. Chris Walter's corner kick to set up the goal was immaculate.
BSC then had a golden opportunity to tie the match when converted fullback Anthony Johnson cut past a defender and was dragged down in the penalty box. Raiders striker Kendell McFayden stepped to the spot, only to see his finessed penalty saved with relative ease by Colosimo, BUSS' clear man of the match.
Asante played a key role in the equalizer, which arrived in the 85th minute. The pacy winger scooted down the left end line and waited patiently to draw Colosimo to him before laying the ball back to Rogers. The center back faked a shot with his right, cut to his left and tucked the ball inside the left post.
Following a rather uneventful first overtime - a Colosimo kick save on Ryan Walter was the highlight of that 15 minutes - Raiders finally went ahead in the fourth minute of the second frame. Derkacz's corner kick was placed perfectly, meeting the head of Kendell McFayden, who knocked in from close range, redeeming himself from the earlier squandered penalty. If BUSS had any glaring issues, it was marking on set pieces.
A diving block from Johnson prevented a clean strike from Musse from testing Arvin, likely saving a goal in the final five minutes.
Soho FC 4, Sharpshooters 1
Recap: Who saw this coming? After conceding first in the third minute, surging Soho rode a hat-trick from Pablo Ordonez and a stellar defensive performance from Andrew Larracuente to a victory over the defending champions.
Several other Soho players chipped in, too, as goalkeeper Bryan Staniszewski robbed Brendan Lawler on a second-half free kick bound for the corner (watch below), and Jake Montante - the hero of the quarterfinal overtime win over Clarence - equalized in the first half off an overhead kick from the top of the 18-yard box.
— John Netter (@Netterisbetter) August 6, 2017
Ordonez, who played at Erie Community College and Medaille, must have been licking his chops with Sharpshooters missing their top two goalkeepers on the roster - field player R.J. Grampp filled the role admirably, stuffing Ryan Mangano on a breakaway, but he did get lobbed from 40 yards by Ordonez on the go-ahead goal late in the first half.
With Amherst pushing numbers forward as the second half progressed - they nearly leveled when Eric Brodfuehrer's effort clanged the pipe - Ordonez tacked on his final two on counter attacks in the game's final five minutes for a more lopsided score.
Final: No. 3 BSC Raiders vs. No. 5 Soho FC
5:30 p.m. Aug. 13 at Nichols School
Wolfpack 1, Williamsville Willies 0
Recap: Braden Scales scored the match's lone goal on a header from Cal Richards' first-half delivery, and Wolfpack goalkeeper Andrew Renkas and a team-wide defensive effort kept the speedy, direct Willies out of the scoring column.
Willies, fresh off potting five goals against Niagara FC, found the going tough against a physical, organized Wolfpack side, which took few chances after earning the lead.
Although Willies sorely missed Justin Bonetto and Noah Bachwitz in the final third, they did carve out a few glorious opportunities. Over the first 45, long dribbling forays from Matt Soos and Jeff Bellinger, in close succession, eventually led to a neat cross from the latter to Yohan Andraud, stationed at the back post. Andraud couldn't connect with the cross cleanly, and Renkas gobbled his effort.
Minutes later, a long, high service from Thomas Jackson met Andraud's head - the winger did better this time, nodding the ball into the ground toward the back post - Renkas dove to his left to deny Willies the early edge.
In the second half, after a one-two with Jason Harris, Pat Mathiebe saw his left-footed try from close pushed aside by Renkas, and Bellinger's follow smacked off the near post and out.
At the death, Ian Harris wriggled free along the end line to serve a low cross to Bellinger, but Renkas' got his mitts up quickly to push away the heavy strike.
Aside from the goal, Wolfpack's best chance came when Nick Cavalieri raced in behind the Williamsville defense, holding off a defender for 15 yards of his run, before a last-ditch tackle from Nick LaMastra foiled his opportunity.
Southtowns FPFC 1, Beast City SC 0
Recap: That's more like it, championship division. The two semifinals featured just one goal apiece, and it was Southtowns that exorcised the demons of 2016 and earned promotion to premier after slaying the Beast.
It's fair to say Southtowns' 1-0 win was a touch more comfortable than Wolfpack's, as it was the higher seed that created the most dangerous opportunities. The victors did have to buckle down over the final 15 minutes when Beast pressed hard for the equalizer, but unlike last year's semifinal loss to East Aurora, Southtowns' defense stayed composed and held firm.
Crafty Elias Kubera beat Beast goalkeeper Sam Rodriguez from a bad angle in the 20th minute, while defensive stalwart Will Smith made life miserable for Beast's star striker, Noah Keem, who scored four goals in last weekend's thumping of Panthers.
With usual starter Bill Littere unavailable, James Quinn stepped in to keep the clean sheet, showing aggression in the 18-yard box when called upon. Hilbert College's Nick Rodriguez put forth a sterling effort with regular defenders Rob Booker and Andrew McDonagh not in attendance.
Final: No. 1 Southtowns FPFC vs. No. 2 Wolfpack
5:45 p.m. Aug. 13 at Nichols School