By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
PHILADELPHIA, PA. – The Philadelphia Soul are one step closer to their ultimate goal, as they clinched home-field advantage throughout the American Conference playoffs. The Soul won that right with a 72-56 win over the Cleveland Gladiators this afternoon in front of 8,784 fans.
Philadelphia improves to 13-2 on the season. They only trail the San Jose SaberCats with the best record in the Arena Football League, who are 14-1. Cleveland drops to 7-8 overall.
The Soul improved to 8-0 at the Wells Fargo Center, and will have at least two more games at the end of the regular season here. Depending on what happens in the National Conference, they could also host the ArenaBowl at home.
Of their perfect record at home, the Soul has defeated the Gladiators twice – this afternoon and a game back in April. Both games were a blowout, a spark contrast to the three games between the teams last year.
The team also announced that playoff tickets go on sale following today’s game.
The Gladiators won each one of those games on the final play of the game. The Soul put the game out of reach so that would not happen again.
Both teams also traded two touchdowns in the third quarter, before the Soul recovered a fumble to begin the fourth. Marco Thomas quickly answered with a touchdown for the home team to go up even more.
Harvey Binford added a touchdown in the fourth, as he went over the boards and padding onto the concrete to make it 65-34. Ryan McDaniel added a touchdown with a minute left in the fourth, as the team went up 72-40.
With 25 seconds remaining, Amarri Jackson scored to make it 72-48. The Gladiators wouldn’t go away as they recovered the ball, then Dominick Goodman scored on an amazing one-handed catch, as the game got closer. To make matters worse, the Gladiators tackles James Romain in the end zone for a safety, as the score now stands at 72-56.
The Binford TD was his fourth of the game – and what has to be a career-high for the team’s third receiver since Shaun Kauleinamoku got injured. He had seven receptions for 145 yards.
The Soul took a 37-20 lead into halftime, as Binford scored with seven seconds.
After the game was tied at 14 at the end of the first quarter, the Soul struck with back-to-back touchdowns to go up 28-14. Jackson scores to get the Gladiators within 8 at 28-20, before Romain had a PAT return to increase the lead to 30-20.