MATCHWEEK 1 REVIEW:
OLÉ Start The Season In Style, Toppling IMPERIAL 6-2
The 2023/24 National Futsal Premier League season kicked off on December 3rd in Grand Rapids, with newcomers Detroit Imperial Futsal taking on the reigning conference champions Grand Rapids OLé.
Grand Rapids OLé 6-2 Detroit Imperial Futsal
With three out of four teams in the Midwest Conference residing in Michigan, nearly every game will feel like an in-state rivalry. In front of a sold-out crowd, Grand Rapids OLé got the ball rolling on a brand new season.
Both teams spent the opening quarter of the game getting a feel for one another, but despite the home side having the better chances, Detroit Imperial would take a 1-0 lead with under 10 minutes to play in the half with AJ Santavy finishing on a breakaway after a nice controlled touch and turn.
With 4 to play in the half, the home side would equalize. A classic, expertly-worked OLé free kick including a fake shot, a dummy run, and a lightning bolt finish into the back of the net from the exciting new addition Cesar Ayalo.
Just before halftime, Gabe Villagomez made it 2-1 to the home side - a brilliant first touch beat his defender and his finish was unerring, hitting the back of the net to take a lead into the halftime break.
Following the break, OLé put their foot on the gas and ran away with the game. Two quick goals in the two minutes immediately after halftime showed their class. A well-worked passing move resulted in Sammie Esquivel finding Aaron Gomez alone at the back post to tap in, and shortly afterward Esquivel was allowed too much time and space to drill the ball low and hard into the far corner.
At just under 15, the home team scored their fifth unanswered. Quick thinking, quick feet, and a quick give-and-go from an inbounds play gave Villagomez the chance to poke home from close range for his second goal of the night, and Esquivel's third assist.
Detroit Imperial took a much-needed timeout and the bleeding stemmed for a time, but the damage was done. Flying the goalkeeper helped them in possession and they were able to pull a goal back as Omar Lahbiki hit the ball sweetly on the half-volley to make the score 5-2.
With under 4 to play, Grand Rapids OLé sealed the game and put it out of reach. Cesar Ayalo beat his defender down the line before squaring to Marco Real in front of goal for an easy finish.
Grand Rapids OLé improve to 1-0 on the season, while Detroit Imperial fall to 0-1.
A LOOK AT THE TABLE AFTER MATCHWEEK 1:
Still awfully early with plenty to play for! Grand Rapids OLé hit the road in Matchweek 2 to take on Futsal Factory Academy.
THE NFPL RETURNS...
With 1 game in Matchweek 2! 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.