NFPL Matchweek 9 Review
Four games at the weekend in Matchweek 9 have been wrapped up in the NFPL, and at the top of the table remain Grand Rapids OLé and NFPL newcomers Joy Athletic running the show.
CADENCE SFC 6-7 JOY ATHLETIC
Having played just two games this season, Cadence SFC remained a bit of an unknown. We learned a great deal as they played at home against the top two teams in the league in Matchweek 9.
In their first match of the weekend on Friday Night, Cadence SFC hosted Joy Athletic (MN) in Illinois in a fantastic battle between two good teams. A win for Cadence would have made quite a statement in the NFPL, but Joy were able to pip all three points at the end, continuing their run of excellent form as they boast 6 wins in a row after this weekend.
The game started brightly for Cadence, with #17 Matthew Szklarz scoring after just two minutes, followed immediately afterward with a goal from #3 Josue Pfrommer, and then a third goal in the 4th minute from #8 Ignacio Ciotta. With a 3 goal lead in the opening minutes, things were looking good for the Illinois futsal club. However, Joy Athletic would come roaring back with some fantastic individual and team goals.
A goal in the 5th minute by #21 Simeon Friesen (assisted by Dimitri Nair) would stem the bleeding as Joy worked their way back into the game, forcing numerous saves from the Cadence goalkeeper. However, Cadence stood tall and after a 10th minute goal from Szklarz (his second of the night), they shut down the potent Joy attack and went into halftime with a 4-1 lead.
And then Joy really came to life. A halftime team talk from manager Ted Kroeten sparked a furious comeback as a goal from #29 Diego Paulin came in the 22nd minute (Nair's second assist), followed by a goal from #11 John Ryan and a third by #10 Bennett Kouame in the 23rd and 24th minutes, respectively. The game grew in intensity as Joy Athletic tied the score at 4-4.
Cadence would score their 5th in the 27th minute through a goal from #5 Edrik Padilla, assisted by #12 Guilherme Nunes. The defense held firm for a long stretch in the second half until Dimitri Nair scored an unassisted solo goal in the 35th minute to tie it up.
Cadence answered immediately through #12 Nunes, which was quickly countered by a swift combination from Joy's #10 Kouame and #22 Nair that resulted in Kouame's second goal of the night and Nair's third assist of the night. At 6-6 with just a few minutes left, both teams went for the win and, as has happened many times this season (See Matchweek 6), Joy Athletic took the spoils. A goal from Kouame in the 38th minute completed his hat trick with an assist from #13 Luka Guarin.
Cadence will look to bounce back and find their footing in the NFPL with a Matchweek 10 game at home against Futsal Factory Academy. Joy Athletic have a bye week.
COLUMBUS FUTSAL 7-4. GINGA FS
THE BATTLE FOR OHIO: PART II
After a frantic 8-8 draw in Matchweek 7, Columbus Futsal and Ginga FS fought for bragging rights in the second fixture of the Battle for Ohio. Columbus would secure the points and their pride with their first win of the season while Ginga FS maintained 4th place after the disappointing result.
With so much at stake, both teams began brightly and the opening exchanges were immediately characterized with high levels of energy, intensity, communication, and progressive play. Ginga FS captain Erik Hegerty would get on the scoreboard first with a 9th minute goal assisted by Jorge Guinovart. An immediate reply from #5 Hamza Belasri, assisted by GK Victor Barbosa, leveled the game at 1-1.
A goal from #33 Zak Boggs, assisted by Yul Illidge, would give Columbus Futsal a narrow 2-1 lead going into halftime. Although we didn't have quite the first half fireworks that the previous fixture had provided, the second half was fantastic. Boggs would get his second of the night just a few minutes into the second half on another assist from Illidge before Ginga's #2 Satoru Matsushima answered with a goal assisted by TJ Manning to make the score 3-2 in favor of Columbus.
An unassisted goal with 13 minutes to play by #25 Dave Blamo gave Columbus some breathing room until a goal with just under 8 minutes left by #9 Nick Rumisek brought Ginga back into the game. Down 4-3 with time slipping away, Ginga FS flew the goalie but couldn't close the gap despite the additional man in possession.
A goal with 3:36 left by #8 Will Havanas stretched the Columbus lead to 5-3 and as the Cincinnati-based futsal club grew more desperate, they left more open behind them. #10 Yul Illidge scored his first of the night on an unassisted goal with 90 seconds remaining. Zak Boggs wrote his name in Columbus Futsal history by marking his hat trick on an unassisted goal with 1:17 to play, making the score 7-3 to Columbus. A second goal by Ginga's Hegerty with 50 seconds remaining brought the game to 7-4 as time expired and Columbus claimed all 3 points, the glory of Ohio, and their first win of the season.
Columbus Futsal host Futsal Indy in Matchweek 10 while Ginga FS have a bye.
CADENCE SFC 2-11 GRAND RAPIDS OLÉ
Following a narrow defeat against Joy Athletic, Cadence SFC hosted league-leaders Grand Rapids OLé in hopes of getting their first win of the season and a stunning upset at home.
It wasn't to be. Despite an encouraging performance the previous night against Joy Athletic, the Illinois-based futsal club were overrun by the quality and precision displayed by OLé.
A goal in the first minute by #8 Cole Russell (assisted by #21 Jessie Zamudio) set the tone for Grand Rapids, although this was canceled out in the 4th minute by a goal by #3 Josue Pfrommer. Grand Rapids answered in the 6th minute with a goal by #6 Jeo Garcia assisted by #18 Chris Mendez. Despite an answer in the 11th minute by #12 Guilherme Nunes to tie the game at 2-2, Cadence SFC wouldn't have enough in the tank to hold back the flood that followed by Grand Rapids OLé.
Two goals in the 17th minute by Russell and #22 Sam Esquivel would give Grand Rapids control of the game going into halftime. Their ability to hold the ball under pressure and suffocate teams through possession and pressing is a nightmare for other teams chasing a lead. Two goals in the 25th minute from OLé goalkeeper Miguel Cervantes and Jonathan Stout brought the score to 6-2. A 27th minute goal by #7 Yosof Abden indicated that the game was getting out of reach for Cadence SFC as heads went down for the young Illinois futsal club.
Despite the deficit, they continued to fight admirably. Two rapid-fire goals in the 32nd and 35th minute goal from #9 Adrian Diaz stretched the score to 9-2. Cole Russell would add a second for himself in the 35th minute before Diaz secured his hat trick in the 39th minute.
9 unanswered goals gave Grand Rapids all 3 points and added to their massive +55 goal differential while Cadence slipped to 7th in the NFPL with their second loss of the weekend.
Grand Rapids OLé are in action again in Matchweek 10 as they host Futsal Indy while Cadence SFC host Futsal Factory Academy in Illinois.
FUTSAL INDY 6-11 JOY ATHLETIC
Futsal Indy came into Matchweek 9 absolutely needing a win following a tough Matchweek 8 loss at Futsal Factory Academy. A 3-game losing streak was highlighted by tough defeats and home and away, but a young and merciless Joy Athletic side put them to the sword to continue their own hot streak.
Joy's #24 Siddiq Madson-Keita was the first on the scoreboard after just 4 minutes, with an immediate response from Indy's #4 Wellinson Santos in the 5th minute. Much like the earlier game this weekend, Joy Athletic provided a flurry of goals in a short time period that put the game out of reach for Futsal Indy.
Madson-Keita got his second of the night in the 11th minute, followed by a goal by #11 John Ryan in the 13th and a third by #13 Luca Guarin in the 15th. Not done yet, #21 Simeon Freisen scored in the 16th and #10 Bennett Kouame got on the end of a Madson Keita assist to bring Joy's tally to 6 goals in the 17th minute. Joy closed out an explosive firsst half with another goal just a minute later from #12 Lioul Minas and went into the break with a dominant 7-1 lead.
Needing a nearly-flawless half, Futsal Indy had a mountain to climb and despite a much better effort, the lead was too big to overcome. Early second half goals from #12 Dener Marques in the 30th minute and #10 Dennis Sehic in the 31st minute gave Futsal Indy some hope. A penalty in the 33rd minute was dispatched expertly by the excellent Kouame for Joy Athletic and erased hopes of a miraculous comeback.
The two teams traded goals in the 34th and 35th minute, with Marques grabbing his second for Indy and #29 Diego Paulin adding his first of the night, in addition to two early assists. With just a few minutes remaining and the score at 9-4, it was clear what the outcome would be. Paulin scored two more quick goals for Joy Athletic to complete a fantastic weekend performance (3 goals, 2 assists in the weekend) to put the game well and truly out of reach for Futsal Indy. Two goals from Indy's #10 Denis Sehic would give him his hat trick in the losing effort as Futsal Indy fell to Joy Athletic with a final score of 6-11.
Futsal Indy take the court again in a massive double-header weekend for them with two challenging road games against Grand Rapids OLé and Columbus Futsal. Joy Athletic have a bye week.
A look at the current standings...
THE NFPL RESUMES...
Matchweek 10 provides 3 games for teams that desperately need wins at this point in the season.
Saturday, March 12th
- Tabletopping Grand Rapids OLé look to create some space between the following pack as they host Futsal Indy at 7:00PM EST at MSA Sports Spot.
- On the other side of the table, Cadence SFC host Futsal Factory Academy in Illinois at 7:00 PM CST at Cadence Sports Center.
Sunday, March 13th
- Columbus Futsal hope to build on the momentum from their Matchweek 9 victory as they host Futsal Indy. The two teams met back in Matchweek 3 that featured an early season battle with Indy taking all 3 points at home.
Follow along and stay tuned here and on the National Futsal Premier League social platforms for our Matchweek 10 preview and more!