2022/23 Matchweek 12 Review
A big weekend in Matchweek 12 came to a close with some massive results across the league! Make sure to check out the goal highlights by clicking on the links in this article to get sent directly to the clip on the NFPL YouTube channel.
Columbus Futsal 2-3 Grand Rapids OLé
- Grand Rapids OLé are an excellent team that deserve to be at the top of the division
- Columbus Futsal have probably improved the most out of any team in any division from the beginning of the season to the end.
Grand Rapids OLé set the tone early, with a goal a minute into the game, holding on to possession from the kickoff and working the ball around patiently. Khloe Koelling found Citlali Luna's overlapping run and her toe poke smashed the ball in at the near post to take a quick 1-0 lead.
The game ebbed and flowed for several minutes after that, with OLé taking the majority of the possession but Columbus getting their fair share of chances. With about 11 minutes left in the half, a rough challenge presented the home side with a shooting opportunity from a free kick. Larissa Ramos stepped up and brilliantly stroked it into the top corner, undoubtedly one of the best free kick goals of the season.
A 1-1 draw at halftime left everything to play for in the final 20 minutes. Grand Rapids OLé would take a two-goal lead in the final ten minutes of the game, with Luna coming through for the visitors and scoring a hat trick to win the game.
The dynamic duo of Koelling and Luna struck again when the high press forced a giveaway and they capitalized on the 3-on-2 break, with Koelling on the left flank finding Luna to get the ball over the line from close range.
Luna's third was the backbreaker for the home side. A lovely ball through from Brianna Rose set Luna free behind the Columbus defense and one-on-one with the goalkeeper, and her unerring finish into the right corner was just out of reach. In a game where the goalkeepers and defense had played well, the third goal proved too great a task for Columbus to recover from.
Regardless, Columbus have never given up when down this season and they didn't in this game, either. Wth under 3 minutes to play, it was none other than Erin Boulanger scoring her 7th goal of the season, collecting a deflected pass before finishing under the OLé goalkeeper.
The regular season of the Women's Division came to a close with this match and both teams can be proud of their performance in the game and throughout the season.
COLUMBUS FUTSAL 6-6 GRAND RAPIDS OLÉ
Wrapping up the Saturday doubleheader in Ohio featured the Men's Division teams from Columbus Futsal and Grand Rapids OLé with an absolute banger of a match. With these two teams the most likely to make the playoffs in the Midwest Conference, NFPL fans got to watch a potential semifinal matchup between these two heavyweights.
Similar to the women's match, the visitors took an early lead. You can see the stylistic and philosophical similarities between the Men's and Women's teams of Grand Rapids OLé: highly technical players, a desire to dominate possession, and clinical finishing. With all of those attributes on show, Samuel Esquivel continued his excellent season by opening the scoring with a rocket smashed past Victor Barbosa into the far post. Under 2 minutes played and the home side were chasing the game.
However, Columbus demonstrated their considerable qualities as well: a never-say-die attitude, an unending work ethic, and excellent players that fit their systems like a glove. The lead wouldn't last long, with Juliano Castilhos getting on the end of a give-and-go with Gui Karaoglan to slide the ball into the net from close range. 7 minutes later, they would take the lead.
An immediate response from OLé would prompt a Columbus timeout with the game tied. The OLé pass-and-move offense pulled apart the home defense, with Lito Esquivel finding Samuel Esquivel, and his square ball made it to Jeo Garcia to tuck his finish into the top corner.
The teams would be tied 3-3 at halftime, after OLé took the lead once more through Lito Esquivel capitalizing on a rare Matos mistake. The home side's goal was brilliant, with intricate passing and running in the middle of the court beating OLé at their own game and ending with Dener Marques finding Diego Bernal to finish at the back post.
The second half brought more of the same: brilliant, breathless, back-and-forth futsal. Columbus regained their lead with under 2 minutes played through Castilhos again. Excellent running and dribbling down the line and across the court from Karaoglan made space for Castilhos to slot the ball in at the near post and go up 4-3.
The lead was doubled and OLé's perfect record was put in jeopardy when Matos picked the ball up in his own half and once more pulled the strings, causing mayhem in the OLé defense before slipping the ball through to Karaoglan to tap in.
The two-goal lead wouldn't be enough. Samuel Esquivel pounced on a Columbus mistake at the back with an incredible Goal of the Month contender, flicking the ball over Matos before volleying into the net. You have to see it to believe it. The tie came through Lito Esquivel, burying a 1-on-1 chance low and hard into the bottom corner to tie the scores as 5-5 with 8 minutes to play.
Both teams looked for the winner as we entered the final stages without fully committing to opening themselves up defensively. Columbus took a 6-5 lead with under a minute to play through a well-taken inbounds play. Matos found Williams Palma alone with the OLé defense sleeping to knock it into the goal with Cervantes out of position. Down a goal on the road, it was Grand Rapids OLé's turn to channel some of their opponent's attributes. It was the unlikely hero of goalkeeper Miguel Cervantes with a brilliant first-time finish from a tight angle after Esquivel's excellent pass found him with under 10 seconds to play.
At full time, Columbus Futsal likely felt disappointed by the result but can't be too unhappy with the performance. These two teams meet once more in the regular season and then most likely again in the playoffs with their season on the line.
Joy Athletic 10-9 FC Tryzub
Well, the Great Lakes Conference just got very, very interesting as Joy Athletic proved FC Tryzub are human, laying waste to their perfect season and announcing to everybody that they would compete with FC Tryzub for an appearance in the NFPL Championship game.
An early goal from Denis Reveachin was canceled out by Griffin Price's 9th goal of the season and brought a 1-1 stalemate in the opening minutes, with the next goals not coming until 5 minutes left in the first half. FC Tryzub then took the lead through Igor Bych, an unassisted goal tucked into the far corner that increased his tally to a league-leading 16 goals on the season. Zinedine Kroeten's stepped up for a penalty kick and would tie the game with under 3 minutes to play and the inevitable Tryzub response was thundered through the Joy goalkeeper's hands by Andrew Gavrylyshyn.
Joy Athletic were happy to welcome Phillip Caputo back to the side, and his presence paid dividends as his deflected shot tied the game before halftime: 3-3.
The second half was insanity, fireworks, and grittiness. Both goalkeepers were busy, making several saves while also letting in a handful of goals of real quality, the first of which came from Reveachin. His delightful first-time chip from Pejovic's throw is an instant Goal of the Month contender.
As has so frequently been the case this season, Tryzub's defensive press led to Joy Athletic errors, and they've been deadly in front of goal this season. You can't give Bych opportunities from within a few yards, let alone a few feet. A good initial save from Kroonblawd wouldn't deter Bych, who toe-poked the ball through a sea of legs to take a 5-3 lead.
Good teams don't let their heads go down, and Joy Athletic are a good team. Caputo led a lethal fast break and got on the end of a give-and-go to finish from close range. The tying goal was a minute away - Simeon Friesen drilling a long-range effort beyond Pejovic to bring the score to 5-5.
Then came an insane two minutes of play that included five goals, with four coming from the home side that propelled them into a 9-6 lead. Three quickfire goals from Joy in the 12th minute from Price, Kroeten, and Denilson Ramos gave them a 3-goal advantage. Price did brilliantly to flick in with his heel, with Kroeten sneaking one in at the near post and Ramos finishing calmly beyond Pejovic after leaving his defender behind.
Bych came to the rescue, staunching the bleeding with an amazing first touch that took Kroonblawd out of position and a clean finish into the goal. However, the response from Joy looked like it might end the game - Price again flicking in from close range off a Friesen pass to make the score 9-6 before they added a tenth through Ramos on an empty net with 5 minutes to play.
The Tryzub comeback attempt would fall just short, but it did make for a nervy ending for Joy Athletic fans due to their 3 goals in the final 90 seconds. First Gavrylyshyn blasted a shot from beyond the halfway line, a genuinely fantastic strike that gave the visitors a boost. Andrii Sadovskyi, playing as the flying keeper, made it a two-goal game with 48 seconds to play, firing in from close range. However, the last goal came too late with just 5 seconds left in the game - Reveachin got his third of the game by tapping in as he stood basically on the goal line.
A close win for Joy brings them firmly back into the playoff picture, while the first loss of the season for Tryzub means that if they make the Championship match, they may no longer have home-court advantage. The regular season meeting between FC Tryzub and Grand Rapids OLé may be decisive in many ways.
Brusa FC 8-6 Colorado Futsal Academy
An early goal from Jonnathan Segura gave Brusa FC an early lead in the opening minute, although the responding goal from CFA came just a minute later. Diego Galan did brilliantly well to turn his defender and fire into the far corner to tie the game.
After 5 minutes played, it was Segura pulling the strings once more, finding a great ball into the center for Zach Alhajjaji to slam past the keeper. Colorado would keep the game close, tying it up 5 minutes later after a well-thrown ball from Juan Carlos Caro found Enberth Padilla's chest - his excellent chest pass was sent across the goal for Galan to score his second of the evening.
Moments later, Colorado took the lead. Caro's excellent distribution led the way again, with a cutting pass to Kevin Valenzuela putting the Brusa defense on their heels. His square ball to Padilla put him alone against the keeper and his cutback and powerful finish gave the visitors a 3-2 lead.
Despite numerous chances on both ends, it looked like they would go into halftime at that score, but Colorado sneaked one in just before the half. Ronnie Ochoa's quick feet carved some space down the Brusa left side and his pass found Jeiver Villamizar in the middle to drill into the bottom corner.
The second half provided with attitudes flaring, ejections and cards, unsavory hard challenges, and 8 more goals for a big Brusa FC comeback. Colorado would get a three-goal lead in the first few minutes, with Ochoa again causing havoc down the left and finding Padilla in front of the net to tap in.
With 15 minutes left in the second half, the Brusa comeback began and like a runaway train could not be stopped. Colorado hit the post and then pulled the ball out of their own net in a matter of seconds - Segura finding Garrett Bauer to tap into an empty net. A few seconds later they'd brought the score to 4-5, with Antuan Almeida striking a volley top shelf - a seriously impressive finish.
With 11 minutes to play, they tied the game - Joey Fuller's corner found an unmarked Kahlin Gonzalez, who struck it well across his body into the far corner. A timeout was called but it wouldn't stop the bleeding for Colorado. Brusa FC took the lead with 9 minutes to play, and once more it was Segura who answered the call when Brusa were in need. He scored once more, robbing a Colorado defender and scoring from close range to take a 7-5 lead with under 6 minutes to play.
The last few minutes were intense. Tackles flying everywhere, players crowding the refs, cards shown to coaches and fans - a distasteful end to what was a great game of futsal. Colorado would pull one back with just over a minute to play to create a wild end to the game. A lovely turn from Ochoa, typical of him this game, and a beautifully chipped finish from Davidson Diaz into the far corner were great but not enough to rescue any points from the game.
Christian Lima's late penalty struck low and hard would seal the win and all 3 points for the home side. Brusa FC are top of the league, and while Colorado had a great showing on the road, they'll be disappointed not to get another shot at the leaders this season.
Cadence SFC 3-3 Futsal Factory Academy
For the first time this season, the two teams went into the halftime break at 0-0. Despite the scoreline, it was an even match with a high level of skill and tactical positioning from both teams, although they both may have been lacking just that little bit of composure in front of goal.
Padilla leads all scorers for Cadence SFC this season and has been a threat in every game he's played, and this one was no different - he would score all 3 for the home side including a fantastic second goal less than a minute after his first. Collecting an errant pass in Futsal Factory's half, he dribbled past and around 3 defenders before firing beyond Heyman at the near post in a guaranteed Goal of the Month contender to take a 2-0 lead.
With under 9 to play, a mistake at the back for Cadence gifted Futsal Factory a goal. An attempt to dribble out was tackled by Drew Ducker and Hugo Quintanilha, and his unerring finish into the top corner was a nice one that brought the game back into reach for the visitors.
Padilla's response was emphatic with 6 minutes to play: a great long-range strike past Heyman who saw it late and could do nothing about it. With 5 minutes left in the game, a timeout was called and Futsal Factory looked to regroup.
With Ducker playing as the flying keeper, the tides turned. A thrown pass to Quintanilha was deftly flicked onward to Gustavo Lira, and his first-time finish flew past the Cadence keeper high and hard at the near post. Another timeout was called for Cadence as they looked to secure the defense and all 3 points.
However, it was not to be. Futsal Factory hit the post, applied pressure, defended well, made Cadence uncomfortable, and it looked like they would find the goal eventually. Cadence did miss one huge chance to put the game to bed with 2 minutes to play, a missed opportunity that they'll regret. In the end, it was Futsal Factory tying it up, with Quintanilha again providing the decisive hold-up play and assist to Lira who found the far corner with an excellent finish.
At the final whistle, both teams took home a point. For Cadence SFC in particular, it won't be enough to get them into a playoff position and they'll be disappointed to see their season end without a postseason appearance. On the other side, Futsal Factory have a decisive few in-conference games remaining and if they win out, the table will be very interesting indeed.
Grand Rapids OLé 5-3 Ginga fS
Ginga FS made the trip to Michigan to take on Midwest Conference leaders Grand Rapids OLé. With a 5-3 win for Grand Rapids, Ginga's season comes to an end as they are out of the running for the playoff picture, while OLé consolidated the coveted first-place position in the division and home-court advantage in the playoffs.
The home side opened the scoring first, with Mose Crawford dancing around his defender and slamming a shot off the crossbar and in - an incredible opening goal and potential Goal of the Month contender.
However, Ginga would respond and take a 2-1 lead into the halftime break. Satoru Matsushima's long ball up top was headed beyond Zavala by Kensuke Nakai into the OLé net to tie the game with under 8 to play. A minute later, Ginga FS took the lead with Yuta Umeda rifling the ball into the net after a nicely cushioned header from Jorge Guinovart set him up.
With under 12 to play, Ginga FS took the lead once more. Guinovart's intercepted pass and deadly drive into the far corner were unstoppable. Unfortunately, the inevitable OLé comeback would be too much for the visitors as they were able to score 3 unanswered goals in the final 7 minutes.
Mose Crawford's deflected shot looped over Upgrade Costello to tie the game. Cesar Martinez got his second goal of the season, curling it into the far post to take the lead with only 4 minutes to go. As Ginga flew the keeper and chased a goal, Alphonso Zavala scored from one goal to the other, punting the ball directly into the far net to seal the game.