Pittsburgh Soccer Now Featured Game of the Week:
FINAL: Franklin Regional 4, Plum 1
WPIAL Boys – Class 3A, Section 4
Jared Todhunter photo gallery (Franklin Regional vs Plum – 9/21/2020)
Franklin Regional stayed perfect early in the 2020 campaign with a 4-1 win at Plum on Monday evening, as Franklin Regional’s All-American candidate Anthony DiFalco notched a goal and two assists.
After Franklin Regional took a 2-0 lead into halftime, Plum responded with an early DD Flowers goal in the match’s 42nd minute that made things interesting.
Plum had a few quality chances to get the equalizer between the 43rd and 62nd minutes, but couldn’t capitalize, as Franklin Regional’s Gianni Diacopoulos came up with a pair of big saves and a few additional shots missed the mark.
“We played with them,” Plum’s Head Coach Raf Kolankowski said after the match. “We just couldn’t finish.”
After setting up the two first half goals from Blake Cooper and Colton Hudson on a direct free kick and another indirect, DiFalco gave the Panthers another two-goal lead in the 63rd minute.
Just a minute later, Franklin Regional showed its impressive firepower when Jacob Kimmick gave the Panthers a comfortable, three-goal lead.
Plum drops to 2-1 in section, while Franklin Regional (4-0) remains unbeaten. The teams will meet again next Monday at Franklin Regional.
Look for more photos from Jared Todhunter along with Franklin Regional’s Head Coach Rand Hudson’s postgame Zoom interview to be posted later.
POSTGAME ZOOM INTERVIEW WITH FRANKLIN REGIONAL’s RAND HUDSON
— Jared D. Todhunter (@TodhunterProds) September 21, 2020
FR – 4-1 – Jacob Kimmich, 64′
FR – 3-1 – Anthony DiFalco, 63′
Plum 2-1 – Darius DD Flowers, 42′
FR – 2-0 – Blake Cooper, 29′
FR – 1-0 – Colton Hudson, 23′
Here’s Popchock’s live audio broadcast from the game:
Plum (2-0-0) vs Franklin Regional (3-0-0)
Plum High School | 7:30 p.m.
While it may be a light night on the WPIAL boys soccer scoreboard, Pittsburgh Soccer Now is featuring one prominent match on Monday evening, as the two-time defending WPIAL Class 3A Champions, Franklin Regional travel to take on a new section foe, but one they know pretty well. The Panthers will face the Plum Mustangs, who have dropped in classification from 4A to 3A, but are coming off a Section championship season in 2019.
THEY SAID IT
“I started coaching here in 2005, and it’s like we’re getting our old section back,” Rand Hudson, Franklin Regional’s coach said. “The Plum-Franklin regional thing. Across all sports. Its almost back to that section. It’s come full circle. It’s good to have the rivalry back. It’s next door and section play. It’s going to be stiff challenge. They’ll be ready. They have gifted, quality players.”
MORE GAME NOTES
Franklin Regional is the favorites to repeat in Class 3A, but they’ll be facing plenty of challenges along the way this season. In addition to Class 3A being stacked with the most teams, and talented programs in other sections (including West Allegheny, South Fayette, Mars, Moon to name a few), they’ll be in for a test in their own section with the addition of Plum to this classification.
The Panthers went 21-1-1 last season and 20-1-1 two years ago, reaching the PIAA semifinals both times.
Plum were the kings of Class 4A, Section 3 in 2019, under the direction of Head Coach Raf Kolankowski in his first year. The Mustangs were upended by eventual WPIAL Champion Canon-McMillan in last year’s district quarterfinals.
If the results from these two teams’ first week are any indication, this will be an important match to decide who gets a leg up on superiority in this section.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Franklin Regional Panthers
Anthony DiFalco (JR) – 30 goals last season and was an all-state and United Soccer Coaches Region II All-American selection.
Blake Cooper & Zach Lorenz (SR) – if opponents take away DiFalco, they better be prepared to deal with this talented midfielder
All seniors on back line and in net: Cole Kaforey, Luke Kimmich, Jake Sciorilli and goalkeeper Gianni Diacopoulos
DD Flowers & A.J. Koma – senior forwards who bring plenty of experience. Flowers was included on PSN’s Players to Watch list entering the season.
Luke Kolankowski – scored 3 goals and 4 assists and 1 game winner in Plum’s first two games last week
Franklin Regional Panthers
- Woodland Hills – W – 15-0
- Gateway – W – 7-1
- West Mifflin – W – 9-0
- Woodland Hills – W – 11-0
- Penn Hills – W – 5-0