2022/23 Matchweek 11 Review
COLUMBUS FUTSAL 3-4 FUTSAL FACTORY ACADEMY
The season was on the line for Columbus Futsal this weekend, as anything less than a win would knock them out of playoff contention. Compared to their prior meeting, which was not a close game and ended 7-1 in favor of Futsal Factory Academy, this was an entirely different story. Futsal Factory were made to work for this win, and Columbus can be proud of the progress they've made this season and how they've pushed the division's top teams.
The early stages of the game presented chances for both teams, although the visitors dictated more of the possession and the game was frequently played in Columbus's half. After a nice bit of play down the right wing, a quick restart opportunity taken by Columbus goalkeeper Cayla Coleman got the ball up front to Lauren Deckert's feet, with just the Futsal Factory keeper to beat. She rounded the goalie and slotted the ball into the net to take a 1-0 lead with 14 minutes to play in the first half.
Futsal Factory continued to work hard, dominating ball possession, but the home side were dangerous on the break. Beanie Harshe would tie the game up for the visitors, scoring her 9th goal of the season by getting on the end of the lovely layoff from Niomi Grimaldo and sending a rocket into the top right corner - an excellent finish.
The visitors took the lead with 5 minutes left to play - a misplaced pass near center court gifted the ball to Elyse Wiacek, whose pass found CharlieBleu Saunders. The Columbus defense left her with too much time and space and her composed finish into the top right corner was clinical.
The back-and-forth game would continue with Columbus tying the game through Leanyeli Moreno - the successful high press from the home side forced a turnover in Futsal Factory's half, and Moreno's fast feet made space to poke the ball into the net beyond Harding.
The third goal from Columbus was fantastic, coming just about a minute after they tied the game. Deckert again showed off her quick feet, destroying her defender near her own corner to begin the break. Her lovely weighted pass was picked up in the middle by Kayla Steber, and her layoff to Loren Gormley with just the keeper to beat was simple, composed, and perfect.
Columbus went in to the halftime break with the 3-2 lead having played an effective half of futsal, trusting in their defense and hitting the visitors on the counter.
However, the halftime adjustments and team talk from the Futsal Factory coaching staff must have lit a fire in their players as they come out immediately on the front foot. In a goal very similar to Moreno's for Columbus, their high press left Saunders with an opportunity from close range and she was able to poke home past Coleman to tie the game at 3-3 with less than a minute played in the second half.
The eventual game-winner came a few minutes later, with a shot from Harshe spilled into Jasmyn Goldsmith's path. Her scrappy finish would get all 3 points for the visitors. The final 15 minutes were a display of how strong in net Coleman was, an excellent deputy to the missing Audrey Gibson-Zweifel, and the Columbus defense stepped up massively, holding back the Futsal Factory production line.
The win for Futsal Factory puts them in a pole position to host the Women's Division Championship match - on the other hand, the loss effectively ends the season for Columbus Futsal, preventing them from making the playoff cut.
Futsal Factory Academy 12-8 Joy Athletic
A delayed start due to inclement weather wouldn't prevent an exciting game of futsal provided by Futsal Factory Academy and Joy Athletic, with two young teams facing off and providing a great deal of skill, verve, competitiveness, and surprises.
The home side took a shocking 7-0 lead into the halftime break, a consequence of several factors: highly effective counterattacks and finding the open option on odd-man breaks, excellent saves by Robert Damron in net, and clinical finishing from the Futsal Factory attackers.
The opening goal came just two minutes in. The Joy Athletic players showed high technical ability throughout the game, but they were caught a little too slow on a few too many occasions. A tackle from Ben Pritchard led a 3-on-1 counterattack, which turned into 3-on-none after Riera's ill-judged slide tackle resulted in nothing for the defense. With the goalkeeper stranded, Josh Jasinkiewicz squared the ball beyond the keeper's reach to Abdisa Kabeto for a first-time finish from a tight angle.
The second goal was beautiful - with Drew Ducker recovering a loose ball in his own half and sending the ball wide to Pritchard. A double give-and-go with Kabeto presented him with a chance to turn the tables, squaring to Jasinkiewicz to tap in at the back post.
Futsal Factory continued to dissect the visitors with a fantastic first-half display of positioning, passing, and finishing. The third goal came with Damron pushed up as the fifth attacker, creating space and finding the open man at the second post - this time it was Pritchard squaring to Jasinkiewicz for another tap-in from close range to go 3-0 up with 12 minutes to play.
The final five minutes of the half were a disaster from Joy Athletic as they let in 4 goals and missed a penalty. First it was Lucas Yessayan, collecting a loose ball and finishing with his left foot into the bottom corner. Kabeto's fast feet in the penalty area won him a spot kick, and he dispatched it comfortably to go up 5-0. Ducker's beautifully lofted ball was taken down excellently by Jasinkiewicz, and his squared pass to Kabeto was slotted into the corner for their 6th. Their last goal of the half came with a minute left, Kabeto's quick feet finding Ducker in the middle, and his outlet ball presented a give-and-go for Jasinkiewicz to tap in for this third of the half.
And then, the moment that could have changed everything. After a dominant first half, Futsal Factory's youth showed - a moment of madness for Robert Damron as he lost the ball to Griffin Price and subsequently fouled him as the last man back, an easy red card decision for the officials to make. With 37 seconds left in the half, Ducker stepped in between the posts with the undesirable task of immediately facing a penalty. A miraculous save, and another before half time, kept the score at 7-0 going into the break.
The second half would be significantly better for the visitors until the game unraveled late on, with the two teams trading blows in an open match. Still down a man, Futsal Factory conceded early in the second half, with David Riera slotting it in at the near post after a nice spell of possession.
With Ducker in net, the home side has to rely on their young players to dictate play on the court. An immediate response maintained the 7-goal advantage, with Pritchard capitalizing on a quick breakaway. Their defense held Joy at bay for several minutes after that, but then presented Joy Athletic with an opportunity. A bad giveaway left them scrambling, and Lioul Minas's pass found Riera to score his second from the middle of the penalty area.
Moments later, it was 8-3 - Minas's nice flicked pass found Denilson Ramos to run onto and finish past Ducker. After that moment, Ducker stepped out of goal and changed the game once again. His presence on the court calmed things down and opened up space for the home side, slowing things down. Despite that, Joy scored once again, with Minas providing the finishing touch after nice work from Riera. With the score at 8-4 and Joy with the momentum, it felt like things might unravel for the home team.
The next goal was decisive and showed Futsal Factory back to their best. A rollout from Pritchard to Ducker drew attention from the defenders, he found Kabeto and his pass down the line to Yessayan sent alarm bells ringing. Yessayan's first touch was perfect, his second touch was a precise cross to Charlie Lacy who redirected it into the net from a yard out.
5 scoreless minutes later brought us to just 3 minutes to go in the game with the visitors down 5 goals. A flurry of 7 goals in the final 3 minutes presented a crazy end to the game, although it never really felt in doubt for Futsal Factory. Joy Athletic flew the keeper, getting an immediate close-range goal through Siddiq Madson-Keita. Ducker responded with a tight-angled finish of his own to make it 10-5.
3 consolation goals from the visitors in the final minute wouldn't be even to turn the game around as the home side switched off defensively. Price scored from close range, he found a nice cross-court assist to Madson-Keita for a tap-in at the back post, and Riera would dispossess the last man back and round the keeper to pass it into the goal to bring the final score to 12-8.
Grand Rapids OLè 4-0 JOY ATHLETIC
A tough loss Friday night was compounded on Saturday as Joy Athletic traveled to Grand Rapids to take on Grand Rapids OLè in a 2021/22 NFPL Championship rematch. However, Joy Athletic started the game much better than they had the previous night.
The opening 15 minutes were scoreless, with both teams playing nice possession-based attacking futsal and defending as a unit. They each had good opportunities to score, shots fizzing past posts or over the bar, and both Miguel Cervantes and Diego Kroonblawd coming up big between the posts for OLè and Joy, respectively. The home side broke the deadlock through Sammie Esquivel, a fantastic first-time finish tucked into the top corner after a lovely give-and-go following typical OLè possession and ball movement.
A chance for Joy sailed over the net, the home team hit the post, Kroonblawd had a nice save from close range, and we went into the halftime break with a 1-0 game.
The second half started with more of the same - tense, both teams holding each other at arm's length, some tactical fouls - before Lito Esquivel struck. His defense closed off a Joy passing lane, he collected the loose ball, and his vicious strike into the top corner was absolutely unstoppable. It was a fantastic goal at a great moment for the Grand Rapids OLè captain.
Joy Athletic stayed in it - Griffin Price sent a fizzing shot just wide of the post after some nice footwork in the middle, proving once more why he's been one of Joy's and the league's better players this season. Cervantes and the OLè held their ground, smothering chances and preventing any chance of a comeback.
Mose Crawford popped up with another big goal this season, converting the third for Grand Rapids OLè after an assist from Jair Real. With the way Cervantes and the OLè defense were playing, it felt like this goal put things out of reach for Joy Athletic. When Joy Athletic flew the keeper in the final minutes, OLè still had players like Daniel De Leon making huge tackles to prevent goalscoring opportunities. De Leon was rewarded for his defensive efforts with 3:40 remaining as he initiated the press, collected a loose ball and calmly scored on an empty net to go up 4-0.
Although they went toe-to-toe with one of the NFPL's best, Joy Athletic will be disappointed to be held scoreless in Grand Rapids and will rue the way they began the game against Futsal Factory, culminating in a doubleheader weekend where they collected 0 points on the road.
Futsal Indy 3-14 FC Tryzub
There are perhaps no two teams in the National Futsal Premier League right now with such contrasting fortunes and seasons than these two. After a 14-3 win in Matchweek 11, FC Tryzub are undefeated and on top of the table at 7-0, whereas Futsal Indy sit winless at 0-8.
Regardless, credit must be given to FC Tryzub, they continue to travel well and don't take teams lightly, and they are ready for every match with a consistent, ruthless efficiency that will be making the rest of the playoff-bound teams more than a little nervous.
As has so often been the case this season, FC Tryzub simply suffocates teams. They do it with their tackling and commitment and effort on defense, and they do it with their possession, passing, and movement going forward. They are strong in all phases of the game and they can hurt you in every position.
To open the scoring, it was that tenacious defense that created an opportunity that was converted after Serhii Strakhovskyi's square ball found Andrii Sadovskyi to tap into an open net after 2:26 played. The lead was doubled through Igor Bych, getting his 11th goal of the season after Dmytro Zbuzhovyy stripped the last Indy player back and gifted Bych a tap-in.
A classic period of Tryzub possession was converted moments later to a 3-0 lead, with Bojan Pejovic's beautifully lofted ball finding Oleh Tymovfi streaking into space behind the defender. His volley off the bounce struck the post and in, a delightful finish worthy of a fantastic assist from the visiting goalkeeper. A free kick near the Futsal Indy goal resulted in the fourth, with Strakhovskyi finishing from Sadovskyi's assist this time to make the scoreline 4-0 in the opening 7 minutes for the visitors.
It got worse before it got better for Indy. An own goal after 10 minutes gave Tryzub a 5-goal cushion, and they'd make it 6 before halftime with Sadovskyi tapping in from close range after Rafael Hernandes' assist.
The halftime break provided Futsal Indy with a time to gather their thoughts, and they came out into the second period with improved organization and effort. An early goal came from Miguel Emerson after Alan Aguilar's chipped pass set him free behind the Tryzub defense. The visitors wouldn't let them get too close though - a nice passing move ended with Zbuzhovyy finding Hernandes free in the middle to unleash a rocket into the top corner from 15 yards out.
The home side stuck with it, and their efforts got them another goal. Great dribbling from Emerson down the sideline allowed Aguilar to get a yard of space and tuck the ball into the far post. However, Tryzub were too good going forward. Long spells of possession pulled the defense around and eventually Strakhovyskyi sent in a delightful cross to Bych, who's first touch put the ball against the post, around the keeper, and back to himself to tap in.
Indy's defense began to really collapse by this point. An easy tap-in for Sadovskyi came from a nice Reveachin pass across the goal to make it 9-2. If you blinked, you missed Tryzub's 10th - Bych's tackle and lethal finish into the top of the net was fantastic, but indicative of a Futsal Indy team tired of games like this that were becoming all too familiar.
A lovely interchange from Strakhovsky to Bych and back to Strakhovskyi gave him a chance to rifle the ball low and hard past the goalkeeper to go up 11-2, and shortly afterward the two flip-flopped, with Strakhovskyi scoring from Bych's assist for 12-2. Reveachin scored the 13th after a nice thrown assist from goalkeeper Dmytro Fedyk, and then Fedyk himself got on the scoreboard with an excellent left-footed finish into the top corner. A late, late consolation goal from Futsal Indy's Myles Mitchem ended the game at 14-3.
San Diego Voyagers 5-9 New Mexico Flagship FC
Matchweek 11 was closed out in the Southwest Conference, with San Diego Voyagers hosting New Mexico Flagship FC. A big win on the road for Flagship propelled them into second in the conference and extends the Voyagers' poor run of form to 3 losses on the trot.
The game started on the wrong foot for the home side - New Mexico Flagship captain Isai Rivas continued his excellent season, scoring less than 30 seconds into the game to take an early 1-0 lead. The Voyagers were able to steady the ship afterward for several minutes before Rivas struck again for a 2-0 lead, cleanly striking a volley off a corner for an incredible goal.
The two teams would go into halftime at that scoreline of 2-1, with the final 10 minutes presenting some missed opportunities for both sides to tie the game or extend the lead and both goalkeepers coming up big. However, the second half was dominated by the visitors, scoring 6 straight goals to see out the match.
Once again, it was Rivas making the difference. Quick feet took not one, not two, but three defenders out of the game before finishing powerfully into the bottom corner just one minute into the second half. Half a minute later, Pedro Torres won a tackle, played a ball down the line to Axel Esparza, and was there to poke home the rebound when the initial shot was saved to make the score 3-1 in favor of the visitors.
Julian Bustamante made it 5-1 with less than 3 minutes played in the second half, with some beautiful footwork creating space for him to bury the ball into the top corner - a great goal. It went from bad to worse for the Voyagers, conceding two goals in the 27th minute.
Rivas carved open the Voyagers again, getting beyond his defender with ease and running into space before connecting with Bryan Rivas for a quick give-and-go that left the goalie stranded and gave Isai an easy tap-in. The Voyagers called for a timeout but conceded again less than a minute later, with Bustamante bullying past his defender and toe-poking the ball into the corner from 10 yards - the score read 7-1 to Flagship.
Flying the keeper produced the opposite effect for the Voyagers as they lost possession with the keeper out of possession, allowing Torres and Bustamante to lead a 2-on-1 break, which Bustamante converted for this third goal of the night.
A nicely-weighted pass from Marlon Moneira found pivo Julio Hermosa, whose first-time turn and shot from 5 yards squeaked past the goalkeeper to briefly stem the tide for the Voyagers. However, an immediate response came from Rivas for his 5th goal of the night, stripping the goalkeeper and chipping into an empty net from midcourt.
The Voyagers would eventually get their act together, but the hole they'd dug was too deep to climb out of. More quick footwork from Duran Rojas saw him skip beyond the Flagship defender before slamming the ball low and hard into the corner. Two goals with under 30 seconds to play were just consolation goals for the home side, resigned to defeat.
Benjamin Wilson got on the scoresheet after a neat give-and-go with Varon, and he would double his tally with the final goal of the game as the Voyagers press won a rare turnover from Flagship, giving Wilson an open opportunity from directly in front of the goal.