2022/23 Matchweek 14 Review
A massive weekend of results in the National Futsal Premier League has significantly changed the locations of the playoff games! Check out the highlights and play-by-play below for each match.
Grand Rapids OLé 5-6 Columbus Futsal
A heroic effort on the road from Columbus Futsal sealed all 3 points against Grand Rapids OLé in a clash between two Great Lakes teams that will eventually play a semifinal rematch for a berth in the NFPL 2023 Championship game.
Unfortunately for Columbus, the match started with a nasty ankle injury to Tiago Ramos, the team's second-leading scorer this season. He would not return for the game and we wish him a speedy recovery in anticipation of the playoff matches later this month.
The home side would strike first - a lovely give-and-go freed up Urbano Romero to find Yosof Abden open at the back post to tap in from close range. A minute later, Romero got his second assist on another give-and-go with captain Lito Esquivel who slid the ball beyond the stranded Columbus goalkeeper. Just like that, a 2-0 lead for OLé.
Columbus would respond with two quick goals toward the end of the half. Jesus Alcauter continued his excellent run of form, slicing open the OLé defense and finding Gui Karaoglan to score from the left side. Karaoglan scored his second just a minute later, finishing a volley at the near post from a corner kick taken by Marcelo Matos for his league-leading 12th assist of the season.
OLé would sneak in one goal before the halftime break, with Uriel Garcia's long-range shot sneaking through Victor Barbosa's hands with 6 seconds to play, taking a narrow 3-2 lead into the break.
Barbosa would get his revenge in the second half as he saved Columbus numerous times, frustrating Grand Rapids OLé and earning a worthy man of the match award to help secure Columbus the second-half comeback and the win.
The opening minutes were hectic. Mose Crawfordtapped in at the back post after Johan Vazquez's sublime first touch opened space at the back for Columbus. The Columbus response was immediate - a well-worked corner routine gave Juliano Castilhos a free opportunity to smash the ball across goal where Karaoglan waited to score his third of the night with his chest.
However, Grand Rapids OLé took back a two-goal advantage shortly afterward - quick feet on the sideline from Jair Real presented Jeo Garcia a chance to bundle the ball beyond Barbosa to take a 5-3 lead with 16 minutes to play.
With under 12 to play and still down two goals, Columbus found another gear. Marcelo Matos started off the comeback, finishing into the bottom corner unassisted to make the score 5-4. OLé would maintain that lead until under 5 minutes to play.
Columbus's tying goal came from an unlikely source - Matheus Oliveira scored his first goal of the season from close range after a Vinicius Galvao corner played directly across the line. Shockingly, the winner came from an even more unlikely source - Victor Barbosa, flying high in search of the winner, channeled some foot skills and finishing ability from the injured Tiago Ramos, beating one defender and firing into the bottom corner to score the game-winning goal!
Two massive saves from Barbosa in the final two minutes maintained their lead and fired them into first place in the Great Lakes Conference.
Both matches this season between Columbus and Grand Rapids OLé have included late-game heroics and fireworks and the semifinal matchup should be insanity. With the win, Columbus Futsal have put themselves in a prime position to host the semifinal game if they can win their final game of the season at home against Futsal Factory.
Ginga FS 11-4 Futsal Factory
Ginga FS finished their season on a high note, beating Futsal Factory in back-to-back weeks by a combined scoreline of 18-8. The wheels came off for Futsal Factory this season as they will finish up in Matchweek 15 at the bottom of the Great Lakes conference.
It started badly and just got worse for Futsal Factory as Ginga FS took a 1-0 lead in the opening 3 minutes. Kensuke Nakai continued his blistering welcome to the league, scoring from a TJ Manning assist. Jorge Guinovart had another night to remember, scoring four goals, with his first coming after 6 minutes played. The third for Ginga was not far off as they spread around the goals - Tre McKinney got on the scoresheet after Rashawn Lamar found him open at the back post. It was 3-0 with 8 minutes played.
A gift of a goal for TJ Manning took a 4-0 lead with 10 minutes played. Nakai's peach of a pass was turned in at the back post by McKinney to score their 5th of the first half.
It wasn't until the final minute of the first half that Futsal Factory got on the board. Already forced to fly the keeper in hopes of coming back. Soham Narang won a penalty that was converted low and hard by Drew Ducker for his 6th goal of the season, sending the two teams into the halftime break at a 5-1 score.
The second half was better from Futsal Factory, but the giant hole to climb out of left them exposed at the back and Ginga FS were able to further their lead. Another misplaced pass at the back gave Guinovart his second of the night after barely a minute had been played.
He continued to terrorize the Futsal Factory defense, scoring his third of the night with a lovely combination of passes and holdup play, finalized with a tidy finish beyond Heyman in goal.
Two quick goals from Futsal Factory gave them a bit of hope - Abdisa Kabeto's deflected shot looped over the Ginga FS goalkeeper and into the goal, and a minute later Narang got on the scoresheet, finishing strongly into the far post after the 5-man attack opened up the home team.
Ginga's 8th goal of the evening came from Lamar open at the back post to slam the door shut on Futsal Factory, earning Manning his 4th assist on the night.
As the game moved towards its predictable conclusion, Guinovart scored his 4th of the night on an empty net, Narang got his second of the evening from a tight angle, Nakai tucked one into the top corner, and Zack Wallace scored his first goal of the season with a lovely one-touch finish to put the cherry on top of a great performance from Ginga FS.
FC Tryzub 11-3 Futsal Indy
FC Tryzub bounced back from their first loss of the season to destroy bottom-of-the-league Futsal Indy and put an end to Indy's dismal season.
The two teams traded off early goals, with Serhii Strakhovskyi opening the scoring after 30 seconds on an assist from Igor Bych. Garrett Nolan would respond for Futsal Indy, his deflected shot going in off the Tryzub goalkeeper. That was as good as it got for the visitors, as FC Tryzub overpowered them for the rest of the game.
Dmytro Zbuzhovyy scored his 4th goal of the season a few minutes after Indy had tied it, and Bych got on the scoresheet to take a 3-1 lead with 13 minutes to play. With the game played primarily in Indy's half, they could do very little about the onslaught of attacking movement and finishing that has been customary in FC Tryzub matches this season.
Strakhovskyi smashed in his second of the night with 8 minutes to play as he and Bych continued to feed each other goals. An unfortunate own goal made matters worse for Futsal Indy and gave Tryzub a 5-1 lead. Far from finished, they capitalized on a mistake at the back to tap in from close range, with Andrii Sadovskyi providing the finishing touch.
A lovely passing move ended with the 7th goal in the back of the Indy net - Mikhailo Ryabui got in on the action, finishing into the far post after losing his marker. At this point, energy and confidence on the Futsal Indy side had been sapped entirely and they went into halftime lucky to be down 7-1.
Ujasiri Sikabwe provided a rare spark of life for Futsal Indy, opening the second-half scoring by showing off his pace to burst through the Tryzub defense and score beyond Fedyk. However, the Futsal Indy defense was able to contain FC Tryzub for much of the second half and displayed a much better showing defensively. It wouldn't be enough to fully close the gap, but it was certainly an improvement and prevented Tryzub from truly running away from the game.
Tryzub didn't score their 8th until there were under 6 minutes to play in the game as Jonathan Perez blasted in a shot from distance. Futsal Indy were able to respond 30 seconds later through Alan Aguilar's toe-poke finish into the left corner, and that would be that for the visitors.
Late goals in the final minutes from Tryzub completed the rout. Sadovskyi danced around the goalkeeper to score his second of the night, Dmytro Fedyk became the second goalkeeper to score this matchweek with a nice assist from Reveachin, and Strakhovskyi earned his hat trick with the final goal in the final minute of play.
Back to winning ways for FC Tryzub will be good for them as they welcome Grand Rapids OLé to Chicago this weekend in a game that will potentially decide who hosts the NFPL Championship game - if either of these two teams makes it!
San Diego Voyagers 6-8 Brusa FC
Matchweek 14 kicked off on Sunday with San Diego Voyagers hosting Brusa FC, the current leaders of the Southwest Conference.
Brusa FC opened the scoring and never looked back, keeping the lead into a 6-2 halftime lead and hanging on for the 8-6 win on the road. Joey Fuller's early finish on the counter under 2 minutes into the game for Brusa was an indicator of how the first half would go for the Voyagers as they took an early 1-0 lead. As usual for Brusa, it was Jonathan Segura pulling the strings, chalking up his 8th and 9th assists on the season for Brusa's first two goals as Fuller put in a second from close range 2 minutes later.
A free kick was earned at the other end after 8 minutes played and the Voyagers were able to capitalize and get on the board. Duran Rojas squared to Braham Avila, whose first-time finish at the near post was too quick for the Brusa goalkeeper to stop.
Brusa responded moments later - Micah Vasey did well to skin his defender and square for Garrett Bauer to tap in and go up 3-1. Marlon Moneira was able to score unassisted on a counterattack for the Voyagers to bring it back to a one-goal game as the game approached the halftime break.
Christian Lima came alive in those final minutes, scoring 3 for Brusa FC before the break and creating some breathing room to go into the half with a 6-2 lead. The first was a penalty blasted beyond the keeper - he hasn't missed from the spot this season. A lovely low finish on a give-and-go gave Vasey his second assist of the night, and Lima capped off a sub-5-minute hat trick with yet another penalty, this one directed into the top left corner.
It was a tough end to the half, and Voyagers responded well in the second, although it wasn't enough to rescue the points at home. Rojas was found in acres of open space to square to Robert Gomez for him to easily pass into the net. However, it was Lima that destroyed their hopes again and again in this game. His 4th goal of the evening was fired in at the near post on a quickly-taken free kick - the Voyagers had no answer for him as they went down 3-7.
They kept fighting, though - Avila scored his second of the evening, capitalizing on a loose ball to smash into the roof of the net to tighten the gap to 7-4. Rojas gathered his 4th assist of the evening, squaring to Gomez to make it a two-goal game and it felt like momentum was just starting to shift with 8 minutes to play.
Sebastian Llorente put the nail in the coffin for Brusa FC, wriggling past his man on the line before drilling a beautiful finish into the top corner, a worthy game-winner as they went up 8-5. Although Avila got his 3rd goal of the evening by converting a penalty, they wouldn't close the gap any further in the final 4 minutes.
The win for Brusa FC puts the pressure on New Mexico Flagship at the top of the Southwest Conference - if they win out, they will win the conference as Brusa FC ends their regular season on a high note.
Cadence SFC 0-3 Grand Rapids OLé
Cadence SFC closed out their regular season with a well-fought battle at home against the defending champions Grand Rapids OLé.
It's been a season of progress for Cadence SFC and their young team has earned respect on the court with their attitude and ability. In their final game of the season, they held one of the league's best offenses scoreless for 30 minutes. It wasn't until the 32nd minute that Lito Esquivel broke through, scoring a goal and assisting another in under a minute of play to take a quick 2-0 lead.
As they chased the game in the final minutes, Sammie Esquivel scored the decisive 3rd goal for OLé that effectively ended the game.
For Grand Rapids, all eyes will be on their Matchweek 15 matchup as they return to Chicago to take on FC Tryzub in a battle of two teams at the top of the league and the top of their game.
A LOOK AT THE Conferences After Matchweek 14:
In the Great Lakes, Columbus's win over Grand Rapids in MW14 was massive. A win in their final conference match of the season in Matchweek 15 will see them leapfrog Grand Rapids OLé and earn the right to host the semifinal matchup/
In the Midwest, FC Tryzub and Joy Athletic still set far above the chasing pack. It remains to be seen whether Joy Athletic and Cadence SFC will play their postponed matches. Regardless of whether that happens or not, FC Tryzub has the advantage over Joy Athletic through head-to-head goal differential.
FC Tryzub have the best record in the league, although their match this coming weekend against Grand Rapids OLé could be decisive in determining the location of the NFPL Championship match. If Grand Rapids OLé win and make the Championship, they will host over FC Tryzub.
In the Southwest, Brusa FC have completed a great first season in the NFPL with 13 points taken from an available 18. New Mexico Flagship FC can overtake them if they win their remaining matches, a home-and-away against Colorado Futsal Academy. The two teams meet first in Colorado on April 8th.
For Colorado, their season is far from over as they prepare for a busy April with 3 games in 3 weeks. If they win all 3, they can pip Flagship to second place in the Southwest.
THE NFPL RETURNS...
With 2 games on Matchweek 15! Find the full schedule here.
Follow along and stay tuned here and on the National Futsal Premier League social platforms for coverage, previews, highlights, and more.