NFPL Matchweek 8 Review
A thriller in Michigan, The Battle for Ohio, and the league leaders staying on top — Matchweek 8 delivered!
COLUMBUS FUTSAL 2-4 GRAND RAPIDS OLÉ
Seeking their first win of the season, Columbus Futsal hosted table-topping Grand Rapids OLé. Grand Rapids have hardly budged an inch this season in home or away games, holding the NFPL's tightest defense while consistently overpowering their opposition offensively.
The match began conservatively, with both teams looking to keep things solid at the back. Columbus pivo Yul Illidge worked hard to create chances for the Ohio-based futsal club while they were kept busy by Jonathan Stout, Cole Russell, and Adrian Diaz for Grand Rapids.
OLé would get on the board first with two smart finishes from Adrian Diaz before Columbus ala Dave Blamo put one past the Grand Rapids defense, setting up a 2-1 halftime score in favor of OLé.
The second half provided two additional goals for Grand Rapids, with Diaz securing his hat trick and Chris Mendez adding another. Columbus scored a second goal through Pau Piang but OLé were able to keep the ball in the final minutes of the game to prevent the score from getting any closer.
Grand Rapids continue to move through the NFPL matchweeks with a first-placed regular season finish in sight. They hit the road again to play Cadence SFC in Matchweek 9, while Columbus Futsal face Ginga FS in an immediate rematch of the Battle for Ohio.
Futsal Factory Academy 6-5 Futsal Indy
Futsal Indy made the trip up to Michigan to take on Futsal Factory Academy in what ended up being a thrilling back-and-forth game of futsal. Futsal Indy opened the scoring early with #5 Tiago Ramos smashing a right footed shot past FFA goalkeeper Robert Damron from 15 yards out.
The lead was short lived as a few minutes later FFA captain #10 Drew Ducker stole the ball from Ramos at midfield before playing a quick give and go with #16 Ahmed Zaky that ended in a Zaky tap in at the back post: 1-1.
Moments later, it was 2-1 to Futsal Factory, with Zaky tackling Indy's #6 Pedro Valladao before taking the ball the length of the court and poking it past Futsal Indy goalkeeper Cesar Porifirio.
Both goalkeepers stood tall and chances for both teams went unfulfilled until the final minutes of the first half. Having already proven themselves deadly in transition, Futsal Factory again won the ball in their own half with a tough tackle and slick back-heel from #9 Matt Sherman that released #10 Miki Djerisilo up the field in a 2v1 with Ducker. Ducker beat the goalkeeper to score his first of the night and go up 3-1.
Their two goal advantage lasted less than 20 seconds as a shot from #12 Dener Marques was saved by Damron, but #6 Valladao was quickest to the rebound and lashed it home to go into halftime with the score 3-2.
After six scoreless minutes, Futsal Indy tied the game up after an impressive cross-field pass was well-controlled by Indy captain #7 Diego Lenos. His lay off to #9 Alan Aguilar was put into the back of the net through traffic.
A minute later it was Ducker and Djerisilo again for Futsal Factory. A save by Damron gave Ducker the ball in space in his own half, who beat a man and played a pass to the wide-open Djerisilo for a great finish from a tight angle.
Down a goal with only a few minutes to play, Futsal Indy flew the goalie to great effect. A lengthy spell of possession ended with a back-post tap-in for #3 Luis Soriano to tie the game at 4 apiece. Less than 90 seconds later, sloppy defending at the back left Soriano unmarked on a corner kick to score from close range and take the lead and forcing Futsal Factory to fly their goalkeeper.
With about 1 minute left on the clock, Futsal Factory found the breakthrough from Zaky for his third of the night, smashing one past the Indy goalkeeper to tie the game at 5-5. Both teams went for the win and a stray touch saw Djerisilo win the ball in their half before starting the lethal Futsal Factory transition team. Zaky latched onto a long ball forward before passing across the face of goal to get Ducker a tap in and second goal of the night.
All in all, breathless stuff in Detroit and an incredible game from both teams. Futsal Factory Academy have a bye week for Matchweek 9, while Futsal Indy play at home to second-place Joy Athletic in what should be an excellent game of futsal.
Ginga FS 8-8 Columbus Futsal
The Battle for Ohio
Our first Battle for Ohio in the 21/22 NFPL season did not disappoint! In a highly-anticipated and high-octane game, neither team could pull away from the other and spoils were shared as Columbus Futsal took their first point of the season back up I-71, while Ginga FS will be disappointed not to have secured more in the home fixture of this local rivalry.
The game was brought to life from the opening whistle, with the first goal for Columbus Futsal coming after just 3 minutes of play from Yul Illidge. A second goal from Columbus #15 Cade Remy just two minutes later woke Ginga FS up, prompting a strong finish from TJ Manning that gave the home fans with something to cheer about. However, less than a minute later #33 Zak Boggs for Columbus got his first of the night, running the length of the court before smashing past the Ginga goalkeeper in the 8th minute to give Columbus a 3-1 lead.
A toe-poke in the 11th minute by Nick Rumisek would keep things close, but Yul Illidge answered for Columbus just two minutes later to maintain the two goal lead for Columbus until Erik Hegerty scored in the 16th minute. After a foul at the top of the box, the Ginga FS captain stepped up and smashed one past the Columbus goalkeeper to put the game at 4-3. We'd seen 7 goals in the opening 15 minutes and we weren't close to being done yet.
Less than a minute later, Rumisek was on the scoreboard again at the back post to tie the game at 4 goals apiece as the teams headed into the halftime locker rooms. Breathless, end-to-end stuff.
Thankfully, the fans were given another 8 goals in the second half! Less than 30 seconds into the half a precise combination gave TJ Manning his second of the night. Ginga would take a two goal lead just a few minutes later with Rumisek bagging his third of the night on a swift goal in transition.
Ginga's two goal cushion was shortlived. Columbus answered quickly through a goal from #7 Jaie Pelletier less than a minute later, and two minutes after that Remy grabbed his second of the night to tie the game at 6 goals each in the 29th minute!
With ten minutes to play and the scores tied, both teams went for all 3 points. A deflected kick-in gave TJ Manning his hat trick and the lead to Ginga, which was answered in the 33rd minute by a goal from Columbus #20 Manu Krac. At 7-7, we were wondering what would happen in the final minutes. Boggs stepped up to put home a free kick and take the lead in the 35th minute before Captain Fantastic Erik Hegerty tied the game in the 37th minute for Ginga on a penalty kick.
At 8-8 and the game in it's dying moments, Columbus committed another foul and Hegerty stepped up with a chance to win the game but a great save from the Columbus goalkeeper resulted in the Ohio futsal clubs splitting the points evenly in front of the sold-out crowd in Cincinnati.
If somehow the first Battle for Ohio didn't provide enough for the fans, the two teams meet again in Columbus for Matchweek 9 on Friday Night, March 4th.
THE NFPL RESUMES...
Friday, March 4th:
- The Battle for Ohio: Part 2
Columbus Futsal take on Ginga FS at home in an immediate rematch at 7:00pm EST.
- Cadence SFC take on Joy Athletic in their first home game of the season at 7:00pm CST.
Saturday, March 5th:
- Futsal Indy host Joy Athletic in Indiana as Joy look to keep pace with Grand Rapids on a two-game road trip at 8:00pm EST.
- Cadence SFC host the league-leaders Grand Rapids OLé at home at 7:00pm CST.
Stay tuned here and on our social platforms for our Matchweek 9 preview!