We are only a few weeks into the PASL-Pro season, but there is a great deal to talk about. First and foremost, there is a lot of excitement surrounding the expansion franchises in Louisville, San Diego, and Cleveland/Canton (Ohio). The Louisville Lightning had a sellout for their first home match, which was a near miss against Cincinnati. This was followed up by a 8-3 drubbing of the Detroit Waza in front of another capacity crowd at Mockingbird Valley Soccer Club. The Lousville squad was sparked by the brilliant play of striker Sefet Kovacevic and keeper Frank Peabody.
The San Diego Sockers have begun their season with quite a surge, defeating the defending champs California Cougars during an unbeaten streak of four games. San Diego has been on the attack with forwards Kraig Chiles and Aaron Susi. The Ohio Vortex are eager to play their first home match after losing a close game in Detroit on a 6-4 margin. The Vortex have a nice mix of experience and youth; they are led by midfielders Steve Gillespie and Allen Eller.
“Everybody’s competitive” is the message sent by the league’s commissioner Kevin Milliken. Like many fans of arena soccer, Milliken is impressed with the quality of play and the parity found across the league. Attendance at games has been impressive, including several sellout crowds. Milliken’s experience as an owner in the USL has helped him develop stability in the PASL.
Reigning PASL-Pro MVP Brian Farber is also excited about the start of the season. He is quick to point out that “everyone’s trying,” meaning every team has gotten stronger and there is more experience on both sides of the ball. The Cougars’ practice sessions have been very serious and intense as the club eyes another championship. Players’ levels of fitness are very high and teammates hold each other accountable on the field. Farber praised Head Coach Antonio Sutton for his leadership and dealing with the transition to new ownership. Indeed much is expected from Farber, who just finished another successful outdoor season with USL’s Portland Timbers. Brian proved to be a scoring machine as he produced 49 goals last season in just 21 games for the Cougars.