Home Crowd Helps Fuel Indiana Fire Past Players Development Academy in U-17/18 Playoff Opener

Westfield, Ind. (June 22, 2017) - Urged on by a large and vocal home crowd, the Indiana Fire opened the 2017 U.S. Soccer Development Academy U-17/18 Playoffs with a 3-0 victory over Players Development Academy on Thursday evening at Grand Park. Justin Ingram, Parker Washburn and Thomas Warr were on the scoresheet for the Fire in the victory.

"This is us, it is our hometown, our guys have a lot of character, they lead themselves, they coach themselves, they strategize together," said Indiana Fire U-17/18 head coach Philip Presser. "We had moments of play that were very good and the time when (PDA) had the advantage early in the game our guys stepped up and started to figure out where the pockets were, where the holes were, and it led to two (first half) goals."

Players Development Academy started brightly as Ibrahima Diop rang a shot off the crossbar inside the opening five minutes of the contest.

Indiana Fire broke the deadlock in the 42nd minute as Ingram put the Fire in front. Ingram received the ball all alone 30 yards from goal with time and space to turn towards goal. Taking a couple of touches, Ingram unleashed a rocket into the upper 90 past a helpless Hunter Pinho in goal for PDA to give the Fire a 1-0 lead.

The Fire doubled their advantage just before halftime on a goal from Parker Washburn. Maintaining possession just outside the PDA penalty area, the ball was played into Thomas Warr with his back to goal. Warr back-heeled a pass to an open Washburn eight yards from goal and Washburn made no mistake as he gave Indiana Fire a 2-0 advantage.

PDA was on the front-foot early in the second half as they pushed to get back in the match. The New Jersey-based club earned five corner kicks in the opening quarter-hour of the second half but was unable to unlock the Indiana Fire defense.

Indiana Fire put the game out of reach with an 89th minute goal from Warr. Ingram clipped a ball in behind the PDA defense and Warr beat the offside trap to go find himself alone in front of the goal. Warr slotted his shot past PDA goalkeeper Ethan Koehler to give the Fire a 3-0 victory.

"I told the guys to live it up," Presser said of playing at home. "They were playing in front of friends, family, school buddies and they were all walking in during warm-up; I told the guys that when they crossed the white line and the whistle blows they wouldn't hear any of it. So I think they had an idea of when they could have fun and when it was serious."

In the second game of the U-17/18 playoffs, the Fire will meet Pateadores while Players Development Academy will square off against Orlando City, both games are scheduled for Saturday, June 24.