MATCHWEEK 3 REVIEW:
Santa Fe Gloom Win Debut Match Over Colorado
We got our first look at newcomers Santa Fe Gloom, and they didn't disappoint! A great match in front of a great crowd ended with the home side winning their NFPL debut 8-4 over visitors Colorado Futsal Academy.
Santa Fe GLoom 8-4 Colorado Futsal Academy
The NFPL Southwest kicked off in Matchweek 3 with both teams looking to start strong, and in Colorado's case, correct some previous woes on road trips. However, a first-half flurry of goals from debutants Santa Fe Gloom was enough to take all 3 points and they'll be looking down on the rest of the division from the top of the table until 2024.
It didn't take long for the Gloom to get started - a goal in the opening 10 seconds set the tone, Luiz Rodriguez turning his defender on the line and burying a driven strike into the far corner.
A few minutes later, Gloom goalkeeper Hector Castaneda took it upon himself to punt the ball into the net to go up 2-0 with the Colorado goalkeeper caught out of position. Moments later, Castaneda preserved the advantage with two huge saves.
Colorado were able to stem the bleeding, with big chances and saves from each team. Shortly after a Colorado timeout, Nick Cashmere scored a fantastic bicycle kick that would be called back by the officials. However, he wouldn't be denied a second time as he curled a left-footed finish past the goalkeeper from his own box to go up 3-0.
With just 3 seconds left in the half, the Gloom hit the buzzer-beater to get their fourth of the half. Castaneda's quick-thinking distribution found Valdez and his toe-poke was smashed into the top corner to solidify an impressive opening 20 minutes in the NFPL for the Santa Fe Gloom.
The second half was significantly better for the visitors, but they never got close enough to make the home side too nervous. However, an early goal from Anderson Gualdron just after kickoff on a give-and-go gave them hope and reduced the deficit to 3.
Castaneda continued to be a massive wall in the net, frustrating Colorado time and time again, building on a game in which he'd already claimed one goal and one assist.
The teams went into a timeout near the halfway point of the second half with the score still at 4-1, and shortly after that, Colorado scored once more, a brilliant solo goal showing off fast feet and an incredible finish from Nicolas Lasso.
However, the momentum swung back towards Santa Fe. Jim Guzman's fantastic volley into the top corner nearly blew the roof off the gym as the home side opened up a 3-goal lead once again. Just moments later, the lead was back to 4. Bryan Rivas played an excellent game that deserved a goal, but his shot was deflected, saved, and then the rebound was cleaned up from close range by Guzman once again just 16 seconds later.
With about 3:30 to play, Colorado would score off a corner kick, with Beckan Ovalles pouncing on a loose ball to score from close range to make the score 6-3. Less than 10 seconds later, it was back to 6-4 as Colorado goalkeeper Jean Caro made up for past mistakes, thumping the ball into the top corner to bring the visitors back within touching distance.
The visitors continued to dominate most of the possession as Caro played higher and higher up the field, pressing the Gloom back into their half. However, with under 2 minutes to play, a misplaced pass gave Luiz Rodriguez his second of the night, passing in from his own half to secure all 3 points. With less than a minute to play, Peter Torres finally got his goal, scoring for Santa Fe from close range off a rebound and the game would end 8-4.
All in all, an impressive NFPL debut for the Santa Fe Gloom against a good Colorado Futsal Academy that showed up on the road and continued to fight despite being down from the opening minute. We're looking forward to seeing how both of these teams match up against the rest of the Southwest this season.
A LOOK AT THE TABLE AFTER MATCHWEEK 3:
Just one game remains in 2023, featuring the two teams at the bottom of the Midwest: Detroit Imperial Futsal will host Futsal Factory Academy in Matchweek 4.
THE NFPL RETURNS...
With 1 game in Matchweek 4! 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.