NFPL Matchweek 1 Review
The 2022/23 National Futsal Premier League has kicked off and with it come our first weekend of results. We opened the season with a hardfought Battle for Ohio with Ginga Futsal hosting Columbus Futsal. Completing the weekend was Futsal Indy making the trip up to Minnesota to take on Joy Athletic.
Ginga Futsal 4-5 Columbus Futsal
The Battle for Ohio: Part I
We thought this game would be a closely-contested firecracker of an opening game, and the two Ohio-based futsal clubs did not disappoint. A crowded, fun, vocal home atmosphere in Cincinnati contributed greatly to an excellent match.
Columbus Futsal Club opened the scoring just three minutes in, with Jimmy Galvan scoring the first goal of the season and his first goal for the club, tucking a right-footed finish past the Ginga Futsal goalkeeper after Yul Illidge found him in space on the left wing.
The next 10 minutes were a back and forth battle - both teams were evenly matched and knew that the next goal would be important. It would be Columbus that struck again, with Galvao making it 2-0 after an assist from goleiro Victor Barbosa. Less than a minute later it was 3-0, with Dave Blamo getting his first of the night. Things looked grim for the home side, despite forcing Barbosa into a number of huge saves between the posts.
Ginga Futsal's Moses Lian would pull one back shortly afterward, with a quick counter attack ending with Jorge Guinovart finding him open at the back post for a tap in to make the score 3-1. However, the lead was short-lived with Marcelo de Matos for Columbus to send the visitors into the halftime break with a 4-1 lead.
Ginga Futsal showed a lot of heart to bring the game back. A right footed strike into the far corner from captain Erik Hegerty brought the score to 4-2, and a few minutes later it was 4-3 with Vicente Ocampo smashing a fierce strike off the bottom of the bar from close range after TJ Manning found him in the middle. Game on!
However, Columbus Futsal would not be denied, with Tiago Ramos finding the eventual gamewinner. Flying the keeper late on led to own goal that set the score back to 5-4 in favor of the visitors, but despite a tense few minutes to end the game, Columbus Futsal Club headed back upstate with all 3 points in the bag.
Joy Athletic 18-3 Futsal Indy
As we saw last season, when Joy Athletic are in full force they can be incredibly lethal and the unfortunate victims of Futsal Indy were beaten without mercy in Minnesota during Matchweek 1.
One other thing we've learned is that when teams have a shallow bench, they are rarely setting themselves up for success and that was the case here. That's nothing to take away from a rampant Joy Athletic, who were the same or better than the team that came in second last season: fast, young, skillful, relentless, passionate, exciting, and fun to watch.
Philip Caputo opened the scoring in just the second minute, and the rout was on. Joy would take a 9-0 lead in the opening ten minutes of play, with Futsal Indy's Ben Diatta pulling one back to go into the halftime break with a 9-1 deficit. Among the first half scorers were Bennett Kouame, David Riera, Siddiq Madson-Keita, Simeon Friesen, and several others as the goalscoring was spread around.
The second half was more of the same, with the game eventually ending with a dominant victory for Joy Athletic, 18-3 over Futsal Indy. Diatta would score one more, with Sebastien Strauss making up the third goal for the visitors from Indianapolis. Meanwhile, Caputo racked up 4 goals with another 3 coming from Kouame and Ramos for the home side.
A Look at the Table after Matchweek 1:
A crushing performance from Joy Athletic gives them a nice goal differential at the top of the Western Conference. A crucial 3 points on the road against in-state rivals has Columbus Futsal off the mark. After Matchweek 1, we've still got everything to play for and a long season ahead.
The NFPL Returns...
The NFPL is back for Matchweek 2 this coming weekend! We've got four games, including the inaugural game of the NFPL Women's Division!
Saturday, December 10th:
- Futsal Factory Academy (H) vs. Grand Rapids OLé (A) at 6pm EST
- Futsal Indy (H) vs. Joy Athletic (A) at 7:30pm EST
- Cadence SFC (H) vs. FC Tryzub (A) at 7pm CST
- Futsal Factory Academy (H) vs. Grand Rapids OLé (A) at 8pm EST
Follow along and stay tuned here and on the National Futsal Premier League social platforms for coverage, previews, highlights, and more.