Matchweek 5 Review
A busy weekend in the NFPL featured two Women's Division matches and two Men's Division matches, with honors split evenly between the home and away sides.
FUTSAL Factory Academy 9-1 Columbus Futsal
The debut game for the Columbus Futsal Women's team ended in defeat to top-of-the-league Futsal Factory Academy. Despite the result, it was an historic day for the visiting team and a strong second-half performance will encourage them as they take on the other teams in the Division.
Futsal Factory Academy started off on the front foot, creating early chances through quick footwork, clean passing, and smart running. They dominated the first half, with Beanie Harshe opening the scoring on a free kick with almost 5 minutes gone. Laci Jernigan doubled their lead less than a minute later, tucking home a rebound after Columbus GK Audrey Gibson-Zweifel's point-blank save.
FFA's GK Brooklyn Harding would answer with a few big saves of her own to maintain their advantage before Nicole Grimaldosmashed one into the top left corner from a corner kick: 3-0 to the home team. Two minutes later, it was 4-0, this time Chloe Ricketts with a finish off the post after a nice give-and-go with Elyse Wiacek.
The second half was much more evenly balanced, with Columbus Futsal competing for every ball and working hard. Both goalkeepers remained busy between the posts, with the first 15 minutes off the half going by without a goal from either team.
Harshe would get her second of the night off a Niomi Grimaldo corner kick and Jasmyn Goldsmith got on the board after a swift give-and-go and strong finish into the bottom corner after Columbus flew the keeper, pulling Gibson-Zweifel out of position.
With Columbus flying the keeper, Ricketts would steal and score two goals on an empty net from close range to make the score 9-0. The first and only goal for Columbus came off a corner kick, with GK Audrey Gibson-Zweifel smashing the ball into the roof of the net off an Erins Boulanger assist with about one minute left to play.
Futsal Indy 3-9 Grand Rapids OLé
A strong first half from the visitors gave them a 4-2 advantage at the halftime break, with a penalty kick coming early in the second half to break the home side's back. OLé would take a 6-2 lead that would eventually end in a 9-3 victory. Margaret Periard led the way for OLé, with 3 goals and 2 assists.
FUTSAL FACTORY ACADEMY 3-7 COLUMBUS FUTSAL
The Michigan vs. Ohio rivalry doesn't end on the football field, with the Futsal Factory Academy and Columbus Futsal clubs frequently playing intense, physical, evenly-matched games on the court. Saturday's Matchweek 5 bout was no different, with the visitors taking all 3 points in Michigan.
An early injury to FFA captain Drew Ducker pulled him out of the game after just a few minutes, a tough blow to the home side that may have changed the proceedings. Regardless, Futsal Factory Academy dominated much of the first half in terms of chances and possession, with Columbus GK Victor Barbosa coming up huge multiple times to give the visitors a 2-0 lead at the half.
Tiago Ramos scored both for Columubs, the first after a bouncing ball led to a nice finish from a tight angle past FFA GK Hunter Heyman, filling in for Robert Damron who was out with illness. Ramos' second came on a brilliant counter attack, smashing into the corner from close range, giving Heyman no chance.
Halftime gave FFA a chance to regroup and they came into the second half with more precision and decisiveness in front of goal. Two early goals from Ben Pritchard tied the game at 2-2, the first an incredible first-time long-range strike into the top corner. A possible foul in the buildup of Pritchard's second may have been missed by the referee, but it doesn't take away from the quality teamplay between Pritchard and Nik Djokic that ended in Pritchard tapping home from close range.
With the momentum feeling like it was shifting towards the home team, it was Ramos again to break FFA hearts. A fantastic pass from Marcelo de Matos set Ramos up to beat his defender and finish from close range.
Several scoreless minutes followed until Matos stripped the ball from an FFA defender on the halfway line before finishing past the FFA goalkeeper to take a 4-2 lead.
The two goal lead wasn't safe, it quickly became 3 as Matos scored his second unassisted goal of the night, intercepting a pass before lethal footwork set him free against the FFA goalkeeper.
Even the three goal lead didn't feel safe - moments later, Thomas Dono broke free on an excellent solo goal, going box-to-box before slotting past Gabriel Oliveira in net for Columbus.
Chasing a two goal lead, FFA subbed a field player in net and Columbus were able to punish them, scoring two goals in the final three minutes to win 7-3. Dave Blamo was found unmarked with just the goalie to beat, and then Yul Illidge scored his first of the season, bringing down a long ball over the top of the FFA defense and finishing easily.
FC Tryzub 9-3 Joy Athletic
This highly-hyped matchup between Great Lakes Conference powerhouses was one-way traffic from the jump. FC Tryzub jumped all over the visiting Joy Athletic, winning 9-3 in dominant fashion. Away games can be tough in the NFPL, and Joy Athletic were certainly missing some big names - but take nothing away from the home team, who left no doubt on the scoreboard and announced to the NFPL that they had well and truly arrived.
Tryzub's first goal came just over a minute into the game, with Vasyl Skrylov scoring unassisted. Both teams played an intense half after that, with Bojan Pejovic and Diego Kroonbland busy between the posts for both sides. After 16 scoreless minutes, Bohdan Ruchka found Ivan Kleban open in front of the goal and he smashed home to take a 2-0 lead. With less than a minute to play, Serhii Strakhovskyifinished from a tight angle to go into halftime with a 3-goal cushion.
Strakhovskyi got his second of the night with 16:36 left in the second half to take a 5-1 lead for Tryzub, and eight minutes later it was Taras Dydych scoring from close range after a long throw by Pejovic. The seventh goal came on Tryzub's next attack, with a nice give-and-go between Bych and Reveachin resulting in Bych hammering the ball past the Joy goalkeeper from close range.
Tryzub might be the best counter-attacking team in the league: their eighth goal of the night came on a lightning fast counter, with a nice reverse pass finding Ruchka who quickly found Kleban open at the back post for his second of the night. At 8-1 with just about 5 minutes to play, the game was basically done.
Joy Athletic would find two late goals through Simeon Frieson and Zinedine Kroeten, with Friesen scoring unassisted after leading a counterattack himself and then providing the ball across for Kroeten to tap home from close range. However, Tryzub would get the last laugh, with Bych getting his third of the night from close range.
A LOOK AT THE TABLE AFTER MATCHWEEK 5:
A busy weekend in the NFPL results in Futsal Factory Academy extending their lead at the top of the Women's Division. On the Men's side, FC Tryzub take sole possession of the Midwest, while Columbus Futsal establish a foothold in the playoffs spots in the Great Lakes Conference.
THE NFPL RETURNS...
With 5 games on Super Saturday, January 28th! 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.