Sullivan Silva was a man on a mission Friday night.
The Brazilian import scored four times, lifting himself into a temporary tie for most goals in the Premier Development League this season. But more importantly he’s given the Thunder Bay Chill new hope in their bid to host the first round of the playoffs.
The Chill, who thanks to Silva easily knocked off the Kansas City Brass 5-1 at Chapples Park, got good news out of Kentucky, where the River City Rovers upset the unbeaten Michigan Bucks 2-1.
Should the Chill beat Kansas City in Saturday’s rematch and the Bucks either lose or tie at home against River City on Sunday, Thunder Bay would likely host next weekend’s four-team Central Conference championship.
“Unless they say (we) didn’t meet the bid requirements,” said Chill GM John Marello, asked about the possibility of the league giving the series to the first-place Bucks regardless of the standings.
But that’s getting a little bit ahead of the story for now.
On Friday it was all Silva, who finally produced the way he thought he could in making his PDL return in 2012.
“I was looking for that since the beginning,” said Silva, who has 13 goals and a league-leading 30 points, pending the outcome of Friday’s remaining contests.
“Fortunately I could get four goals today, but my teammates helped me out. They were working hard and just putting balls for me to score.”
Like the nifty backward pass Juan Velez made from inside the box in the 23rd minute, his back to the net, but his instinct telling him exactly where Silva was.
Seventeen minutes later Silva grabbed a rebound and blasted it into the Kansas City net, helping the fans at Chapples Park forget a bit of sloppy passing in the opening minutes.
Sam McCrillis, with his first as a member of the Chill, made it 3-0 in the 51st minute, before Ryan Robinson snapped Steven Paterson’s shutout bid in the 67th.
Then Silva was back to work again, netting his hat trick goal in the 71st and adding a fourth just four minutes later.
“Sully getting his four goals was great, but also Juan contributing to his first two, which made it pretty easy for Sullivan (was great). That’s what you want from your strikers, to combine and make things dangerous for the defenders.”
There was no doubt the Chill were aware of what the accumulating goal and point totals meant for Silva, who set a club single-game scoring record in the process, breaking Brandon Swartzendruber’s former mark of three goals in a game, a feat he twice accomplished.
Silva played all 90 minutes, and was trying his best to make it five in the dying minutes.
“It was going to be either Juan or Sullivan to come out, and because Sullivan is in the scoring race, we decided to leave him in there and take Juan out. Otherwise (Sullivan) would probably have come out. Tomorrow will be a different perspective,” Colistro said.
Silva was well aware of where he stood too.
He wants to win – but not at the expense of his team’s fortunes.
“Yeah, it’s very important, but we’ve got to look for victories. That’s the most important thing. I’m going to do my best to help my teammates out and just get the victories.”
The Chill and Brass finish off their respective PDL seasons on Saturday at Chapples Park. Game time is the usual 7:30 p.m.
Pitch marks: Michigan has wrapped up the Great Lakes Division title, leaving Forest City London and the River City Rovers to play a 2-3 play-down for the right to advance to the conference championship … The Heartland Division teams opted not to go that route because of the travel involved with Colorado in the division … Jordian Farihani and Sicelo (Stitch) Buthelezi both sat this one out, Buthelezi because of a red card handed to him last weekend in Des Moines, Farihani for collecting his sixth yellow card of the season … Veterans Gustavo Oliveira and Wilson Neto will join the team next weekend for the playoffs.
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