PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — While last weekend didn’t go to plan for the Philadelphia Soul, they will definitely take the end result: a playoff berth and a first-round match-up with Cleveland on Saturday night.
Philadelphia headed into last Saturday’s game with Pittsburgh controlling their own destiny for a playoff berth. A win over Pittsburgh would’ve punched their post-season ticket. But the Soul struggled early and never recovered, losing to the Power, 64-34.
“It was ugly,” Soul head coach Clint Dolezel tells KYW Newsradio. “Can’t really explain why we played the way we did. Pittsburgh played really good, not taking anything away from what they did. You know we just didn’t play well. Not a lot of things went our way, just kind of snowballed on us and got out of hand.”
However, the Soul got help soon after their game when Tampa Bay lost to Cleveland, that clinched the fourth and final playoff spot in the American Conference for the 9-9 Soul.
“We’re excited about it,” Dolezel says. “We’re 0-0 now, just like everybody else and we feel like we have just as good a chance as anybody if we play well.”
The Soul face a tough challenge against the Gladiators. Cleveland finished the regular season with the best record in all of the Arena Football League at 17-1. Two of those wins came at the expense of the Soul. Those two losses for the Soul came by a total of three points and in one of the games, Philadelphia blew a 17-point lead in the final minute.
“They believe,” Dolezel says about Cleveland. “I mean that’s the bottom line. They don’t think there is any situation they can’t come back from. They’ve won so many different games in so many different ways this year. Kind of the opposite story of us, we’ve lost so many games in so many different ways, where we’ve had them won, and two of them have been against them. They’ve kind of had some things go their way against us both times. But we definitely match up well against them. We like our chances.”
Philadelphia and Cleveland will kick-off at 7:00pm on Saturday night.
Leon spoke with Soul Head Coach Clint Dolezel ahead of Saturday’s matchup.