BELIZE CITY, Mon. Dec. 5, 2016–The red-hot race to the PLB playoffs ended yesterday with Week 18 games to end the regular season in the Premier League of Belize (PLB) Opening Season 2016-2017. And of the 4 teams which have qualified to the playoffs, two are based in Belize City, and will be playing their home games at the MCC Grounds. So, it’s been quite a while, but city fans will be treated to back-to-back weekends of “Fire on the Barracks,” as FC Belize and then BDF FC host their semifinal games at the historic Garden.
The only Saturday night game in Week 18 saw standings leader Belmopan Bandits SC play to a 0-0 draw with visiting BDF FC at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium. Both teams had already secured playoff berths, so the result only lent speculation to their possible meeting again in the finals.
We still have not received any report of a verdict by the FFB Appeals Board that should have decided on the Belmopan Bandits SC appeal of the PLB Disciplinary Committee decision on their Week 1 contest with FC Belize which had ended, 0-0. (If the Board ruled against FC Belize, it could take away the 1 point they had gotten for the draw.) But, as Sunday’s game at the MCC turned out, it didn’t matter. FC Belize, coming off two lackluster performances, rose to the occasion with a resounding 6-1 drubbing of visiting Freedom Fighters FC, thus firmly grasping a spot in the playoffs with 28 points (even with 27, if 1 point was removed). (See standings.) Firing on all cylinders, the FC Belize train rolled over the visitors with goals from Russell Cassanova (4’), Hector Martinez (17’, 39’ & 71’), Jorge Aleman (35’) and Oliver Hendricks (85’); while Freedom Fighters avoided the shutout with a goal from Myron Cadle (56’).
The other Sunday game with major playoff implications was out west at the Norman Broaster Stadium, where Police United FC secured their spot and knocked Verdes FC out of the playoffs with a 3-2 win (scoring details not yet available). The win pushed Police United FC into third place in the standings, as they are tied with FC Belize at 28 points, but Police have a higher goal difference. This means that it will be #3 Police United FC vs #2 BDF FC, and #4 FC Belize vs #1 Belmopan Bandits SC in the semifinals.
Meanwhile, at the Carl Ramos Stadium in Dangriga, visiting Placencia Assassins prevailed, 5-2, over Wagiya FC. Depending on the outcome of the other Sunday games, a victory would give Placencia a chance at the playoffs, and they secured that victory with goals from Dellon Torres (5’ & 54’), Arnie Whyte (60’ & 92’) and Dion Moguel (80’); while Wagiya got goals from Hector Gomez (34’ PK) and Evan Mariano (87’). But with the other game results, the win only pushed Placencia into fifth place with 25 points, not enough for the playoffs. (See standings below.)
With the higher seeded team playing at home last in the best-of-2 semifinal series, Belize City’s MCC Garden will be alive this Sunday with FC Belize hosting Belmopan Bandits SC, while Police United FC hosts BDF FC at the Norman Broaster Stadium; and next Sunday at the MCC, it will be BDF hosting Police United, while Belmopan Bandits hosts FC Belize at the Isidoro Beaton.