Fleet Veterans 3/17/19

March 18, 2019

 

(Updated the note for Danny Barrow as well as the look-ahead to next week.)

Here’s your weekly round-up of how former Jacksonville Armada players did with their new squads this past week.

Matthew Bahner – Was an unused substitute for St Louis FC who defeated Nashville 1-0.

J.C. Banks – Started in Forward Madison FC’s 7-1 victory in a friendly against University of Wisconsin-Parkside.

Akeil Barrett – Unused substitute for Tulsa Roughnecks who defeated Orange County 5-3.

Danny Barrow – His squad, Boavista FC B, drew SC Salgueiros 1-1 but no details of the match were available at publication time. He started and played the entire match. His squad went down to ten men in the 26th minute, but managed to net the equalizer in the 80th.

Drew Beckie – Played the final two minutes of OKC Energy’s 2-1 victory over Las Vegas Lights.

Brian Bement – Scored the final goal in Forward Madison’s match.

Jack Blake – Real Monarchs’ captain had a quiet night in his side’s 0-0 draw versus El Paso Locomotive. No shots or chances created. Received a Yellow card late in the match.

Jay Bolt – Played the full 90 for Charleston Battery as they defeated Hartford Athletic 2-1. Credited with one tackle and one clearance.

Josh Castellanos – Entered the match for El Paso in the 70th minute and with three shots (one on target, two off), tried his best to break the draw.

Wes Charpie – Started in and played the entirety of Memphis 901’s 1-1 draw at Loudon United. Full 90. Credited with one shot blocked, a shot of his own blocked, one tackle, and one interception.

Peabo Doue – Played the full 90 minutes for Loudon United. Stats show him having one tackle , two interceptions, and two successful crosses.

Conor Doyle – Started and played 64 minutes of Chattanooga Red Wolves’ friendly against Louisville City that ended as a 1-1 draw.

Charles Eloundou – Entered the 74th minute of Nea Salamis’ 1-0 victory over AEK Larnaca. Made the highlight reel (jump to 2:41 mark).

Marcos Flores – Started for Adelaide City FC and continued his scoring streak as he notched the equalizing goal (via penalty kick) in his side’s 2-2 draw against Raiders.

Derek Gebhard – Started for El Paso Locomotive FC. Credited with one scoring chance.

Kevan George – Started and played the full 90 of Charlotte Independence’s 3-2 loss to Indy Eleven. Put a header on target and cleared a potential goal via header. 81.3% passing accuracy on 75 attempts.

Jonathan Glenn – Scored the game winning goal in the 86th minute to carry IBV to a¬† 2-1 victory over Njar√įv√≠k¬† in a pre-season cup match.

Mechack Jerome – Started and played the full 90 minutes for El Paso. Credited with winning one duel, one interception, and one tackle. Had this Long distance shot on goal:

Jemal Johnson – Started and played the entirety of Fresno FC’s 2-0 victory against RGV Toros. Had a header saved as well as a shot off the crossbar.

Cieran Kilduff – Started and played 88 minutes of Shelbourne FC’s 3-0 defeat of Wexford FC. Assisted the opening goal. His squad is top of the table (ahead on goals scored) four matches into the League of Ireland First Division season.

Ciaran McKenna – This Scottish defender played for Jacksonville Armada U-23 in 2016 and 2017. He also played for Duke University where he had a long feud stemming from a (false sexual assault complaint lodged against him (story also detailed in the Sunday Times). After graduating from Duke in December, he signed with Falkirk FC of the Scottish Championship. Since signing, he has started and played every minute for his squad, including their 1-1 draw vs Partick Thistle on Friday.

Karl Oumiette – Started and played the full 90 for Indy Eleven in their 3-2 victory at Charlotte Independence. Was unbeaten in duels (4-0) and had ten clearances to his name.

Bryam Rebellon – Started and played the entirety of El Paso’s match. Full 90. He had a header saved late in the match and . won 8 of 13 duels and was credited with¬† four tackles and one clearance.

Richie Ryan – Also started and played the whole match for El Paso. 90.9% accuracy on 77 passes. Four chances created.

Kalen Ryden – Started for Real Monarchs and received a straight red card for denying Derek Gebhard a goal scoring opportunity in the 32nd minute.

Junior Sandoval – Entered the match for Memphis 901 in the 78th minute and was credited with assist on the equalizing goal scored by Will Collier.

Lucas Scaglia – The Argentine was the captain for Las Vegas Lights. He had two shots off target and had one blocked. Received a yellow card in the 26th minute and was subbed off in the 56th.

Christian Silva – Started for Lansing Ignite in their 3-0 victory over Western Michigan University in a friendly.

Zach Steinberger – Started and played virtually the entire match for Tampa Bay Rowdies. Scored a goal in the 86th minute to secure a 2-0 victory against Pittsburgh Riverhounds.

Yuma РStarted and played 59 minutes for El Paso Locomotive.  Credited with one chance created.

Not in their side’s 18: Alex Dixon (Hartford Athletic), Shane McInerney (Magpies Crusaders), Lucas Ortiz (Club Atl√©tico Porte√Īo), Caleb Patterson-Sewell (Toronto FC), Tyler Ruthven (Atlanta United 2).

Over the next week, we have only one potential opportunity to see former Jacksonville Armada players going against each other and that is when Kevan George’s Charlotte Independence plays Tyler Ruthven’s Atlanta United 2 on Saturday at 7:00 PM. El Paso Locomotive play Rio Grande Valley Toros at 9:00 PM on Saturday and Memphis 901 plays Bethlehem Steel FC on Sunday at 6:00 PM. This overlooked Tampa Bay Rowdies at St Louis FC at 2:00 PM on Saturday. Also, as Kevan George is on international duty for Trinidad & Tobago (who are against Wales at 3:45 PM on Wednesday), he is not likely to be on the pitch again for Charlotte on Saturday.

 

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Fleet Veterans 3/10/19

March 10, 2019

(Updated for JC Banks)

As this week marked the start of the USL Championship season, it marked the start of the season for most of the ex Jacksonville Armada players who have continued their soccer careers elsewhere. Here’s a round-up.

Derek Gebhard – The midfielder was one of four ex-Armada players in the starting lineup for El Paso Locomotive. He scored the first goal in the club’s history 16 minutes into the match. Unfortunately, his side was already down a goal at that point and would go on to concede two more without adding any of their own. It was still a night to remember, though.

Akeil Barrett – Was not selected for Tulsa Roughneck’s match vs Portland Timbers 2.

Matthew Bahner – Started for St Louis FC at right-back and played the full 90 minutes. Credited with three clearances and one tackle.

Drew Beckie – The Canadian defender was in the 18 for OKC Energy but did not get a chance to play against many of his ex-teammates who are now with El Paso.

Jack Blake – The Englishman opened his 2019 account with a goal via penalty kick in the 35th minute. Real Monarchs drew Sacramento Republic 1-1.

Jay Bolt – The University of North Florida star who was a part of the Armada’s U-23 team (but was not a member of the senior squad) started at left center-back for Charleston Battery. Stats show him having made two tackles and one clearance.

Josh Castellanos – Entered the match for El Paso in the 79th minute but was not able to leave his mark on the game.

Wes Charpie – Started at right-back for Memphis 901 and played to the end of their 1-0 loss to Tampa Bay Rowdies. He had three tackles, one blocked shot, and a missed opportunity.

Alex Dixon – Started for Hartford FC at Atlanta United 2 and set up a nice opportunity in the 32nd minute and had a chance of his own a few minutes later. He was substituted off at the start of the second half.

J.C. Banks – Started in Forward Madison’s friendly vs Creighton University. Match still in progress at press time. Banks scored the lone goal (80′) for his squad in a 1-4 defeat. His side’s starting goalkeeper filled in for Creighton.

Peabo Doue – Started at left-back for Loudon United who lost at Nashville 2-0. He missed a shot late but did have three clearances, two interceptions, and one tackle.

Charles Eloundou – Entered the match for Nea Salamis in the 68th minute of what ended as a scoreless draw at AC Omonia. Received a yellow card in the 91st minute for an apparent dust-up with an opponent.

Marcos Flores – Started and scored the opening goal for Adelaide City. He was subbed out in stoppage time as his side closed out a 2-0 victory over Adelaide United Youth.

 

Jonathan Glenn РCame on at the start of the second half for IBV in their 2-0 victory over Thróttur Reykjavík in a cup match.

Mechack Jerome – Started and played the full 90 for El Paso. Maybe not his best night but he did have this highlight.

Jemal Johnson – Started for Fresno FC and went the distance in their 1-1 draw at New Mexico United. Had a couple of shots that were saved by New Mexico’s goalkeeper.

Cieran Kilduff – Played the full 90 minutes and scored an insurance goal (Go to 1:50 mark to see the sequence that led to the free kick (3:07 mark) that Kilduff headed) in the 60th minute to secure Shelbourne’s victory over Athlone Town.

Karl Oumiette – Started for Indy Eleven and was in the entire match. In the book with five clearances, three blocked interceptions, and two tackles.

Shane McInerney – Did not play in Magpies Crusaders’ 4-3 loss to Redlands United. He was named to the league’s team of the week for the previous week’s play, though.

Bryam Rebellon – Started at right-back for El Paso and showed off his speed on a few occasions. Credited with two tackles, two clearances, and one interception.

Tyler Ruthven – Went the distance as the center-back for Atlanta United 2. Had seven clearances and two interceptions to his credit.

Richie Ryan – Started as a defensive midfielder for El Paso and played the entire match. Achieved 97.6% accuracy on 42 passes.

Kalen Ryden – Started at right center-back for Real Monarchs. Finished with five clearances, two tackles, and three interceptions to his name.

Junior Sandoval – Came on in the 62nd minute for Memphis 901. Received a yellow card late “for a bad foul”.

Lucas Scaglia – Served as captain for Las Vegas Lights. Had a would-be assist blocked in the 29th minute and a shot of his own blocked at the 77 minute mark.

Christian Silva – Started in Lansing Ignite’s friendly vs Davenport University.

Zach Steinberger – Started and played for Tampa Bay Rowdies to the end. Had a shot saved in the 55th minute and a couple of would-be assists.

Yuma – In the 18 but did not enter the match for El Paso.

That is all for this week. Next week El Paso travels to Real Monarchs to play at 3:00 (Eastern) on Saturday. Mark Lowry had a good road record in the NASL days so we’ll see if that form follows for his USL side.

(2nd update: On the day I originally posted this, Fabrico Ortiz signed with Club Atl√©tico Porte√Īo of Ecuadoran Serie B.)

(Update: I realized I accidentally left a couple of players off the graphic. I have added them as well as a few other players. I also found a few players who have gone back overseas.  Alexander Andersson, who was one of three Scandinavians to come to Jacksonville mid-2016 returned to Degerfors (Swedish second tier) where he played for two season prior to retiring (8 goals in 46 appearances). The other Scandinavian (in addition to Nicklas Maripuu), Pekka Lagerblom is back with his hometown squad FC Lahti (Finnish Premier League), and is also on the coaching staff. Jonathan Glenn (2017) has returned to IBV (Icelandic top tier). Finally, Danny Barrow (2016-2017) is playing in Portugal for Boavista B.

 

Mark Lowry’s departure from Jacksonville Armada to become the first manager of the USL Championship squad El Paso Locomotive FC foreshadowed an exodus of players from Jacksonville to El Paso and other places. Other than Aaron Pitchkolan, the coach of Jacksonville’s 2019 nominal U-23 squad, Armada fans are not likely to see any familiar faces in person this year. What follows is a non-comprehensive list of 2018 and other notable ex-Armada players with their squad for 2019 along with their number of starts, appearances, and goals scored across all competitions for Jacksonville.

Bahner, Matthew (42/47/3)  2015-2016 The defender signed with St Louis FC (USL Championship) after two seasons with FC Cincinnati.

Banks, J.C. (45/52/13) 2017-2018 Jacksonville’s all-time leader in game-winning goals signed with Forward Madison FC (USL L1)

Barrett, Akeil (11/24/3) 2015 The Jamaican’s most prolific season in terms of appearances was with Jacksonville. He hasn’t played much since, but has signed with Tulsa Roughnecks (USL Championship)

Beckie, Drew (31/36/1) 2017-2018 The Canadian made an unplanned return to Jacksonville in 2018 before heading to Energy FC (USL Championship) mid-season. He remains there for 2018.

Bement, Bryan (1/13/0) 2018 The forward signed with Forward Madison FC (USL League 1).

Blake, Jack (27/29/10) 2017 The only player in Jacksonville history to score a hat trick now plays for Real Monarchs (USL Championship).

Burke, Bryan (20/22/0) 2016 After playing with San Francisco Deltas in 2017, the defender was added to the roster of Oakland Roots (NPSL) for US Open Cup qualifying (along with Matthew Fondy who had a stay in Jacksonville in 2016).

Castellanos, Josh (15/18/5) 2018 The former University of North Florida player signed with El Paso Locomotive FC (USL Championship) for 2019.

Charpie, Wesley (14/18/2) 2018 The defender signed with Memphis 901 FC (USL Championship).

Dixon, Alex (5/16/2) 2016 After spending two seasons with Energy FC, Dixon was one of the first signings for Hartford Athletic (USL Championship)

Doyle, Connor (15/18/2) 2018 The Irish-American is on the inaugural roster of Chattanooga Red Wolves (USL L1)

Eloundu, Charles (20/52/7) 2016-2017 The Ugandan has played (and still plays) in Cyprus for Nea Salamis Famagusta FC.

Flores, Marcos (16/22/2) 2015. Since leaving Jacksonville, the Argentine has played in Chile and Indonesia. He recently signed with second tier Australian side Adelaide City FC.

Gebhard, Derek (33/69/6) The most subbed-in player in Armada history was the second player (first non El-Paso native) to sign with El Paso Locomotive FC (USL Championship).

George, Kevan (56/57/0) The Trinidad & Tobago national remains with Charlotte Independence (USL Championship) for 2019. He is also apparently part of the club’s technical staff.

Jerome, Mechack (81/83/3) Jacksonville’s all-time leader in starts, appearances, and minutes played also signed with El Paso Locomotive FC (USL Championship)

Johnson, Jemal (56/75/7) 2015-2017 The scorer of the first goal in Armada history remains with Fresno FC (USL Championship) for 2019. He also notched that club’s first goal ever.

Kilduff, Ciaran (27/30/13) 2017-2018 The striker has returned to Ireland where he has signed with Shelbourne (League of Ireland Division 1).

Maripuu, Nicklas (29/32/0) 2016-2017 After playing in Finland, the midfielder recently signed with Akropolis IF (Division 1, Swedish third tier)

McInerney, Shane (12/13/0) 2018 The Irish defender has signed with Magpies Crusaders (Australian National Premier Leagues Queensland).

Millien, Pascal (33/39/7) 2015-2016 After playing for Fort Lauderdale Strikers and in Ireland for Finn Harps, the Haitian now plays for Rayong FC (Thai League 2).

Nicklaw, Shawn (23/31/0) 2015-2016 The Guam National played for Atlanta United 2 (USL Championship) in 2018 but is not currently with a club.

Ortiz, Fabricio (23/24/0) 2015 The Argentine currently plays for Gokulam (India I-League).

Patterson-Sewell, Caleb (32/32) 2017 The Australian goalkeeper spent 2018 with Toronto FC II (USL Championship) and it appears he will be with them for 2019 as well, though he was the backup keeper for the MLS squad during its CONCACAF Champion League games.

Perea, Nicolas (19/24/0) 2015-2016 The Colombian spent 2018 with Rio Grande Valley FC Toros (USL Championship) but is currently without a club.

Ruthven, Tyler (33/33/1) 2016 After playing with Miami FC in its NASL and NPSL, iterations, the defender is now now with Atlanta United 2 (USL Championship).

Ryden, Kalen (32/32/1) 2017 The defender returns to Real Monarchs (USL Championship) for 2019. He appeared in all 34 matches for the squad in 2018.

Sandoval, Junior (16/18/2) 2016 The Honduran midfielder recently signed with Memphis 901 (USL Championship)

Scaglia, Lucas (38/43/2) 2015-2016 The Argentine defender signed with Las Vegas Lights (USL Championship).

Silva, Christian (9/16/1) 2018 The midfielder was the second signing of Lansing Ignite (USL League 1).

Steinberger, Zach (49/53/12) 2016-2017 After starting 2018 with Indy Eleven and finishing it on loan to North Carolina FC, the midfielder starts 2019 with Tampa Bay Rowdies (USL Championship) .

Taylor, Tony (11/12/3) 2017 The Panamanian who went to Jacksonville University played for Ottawa Fury (USL Championship) in 2018 but they declined his option for 2019, which leaves him currently without a team.

Trejo, Lucas (26/26/0) 2015 The Argentine has bounced around in South America and is currently with Deportivo Tachira (Venezuela Primera Division).

Yuma (18/18/1) 2018 The only player to start every match in 2018 was the ninth player to sign for El Paso Locomotive FC (USL Championship).

Bryam Rebellon, and Richie Ryan will also be playing in El Paso.

I was not able to find any information on the following 2018 Armada players: Brian Holt, Aleksander Gogic, Mitchell Hopkins, Alhassane Keita, Michael Melvin, Camilo Portilla, Giovanny Vazquez.

Retired/Inactive: Jaime Castrillon (Last played in Colombia), Miguel Gallardo (works for Orlando City), Bochy Hoyos (Last played in Venezula).

 

 

 

While the regional semi-finals played on Tuesday and Wednesday night did not have the shoot-out dramas of Saturday night, they did feature one upset that changed the probable path to the National Premier Soccer League championship.

 

South Region

First a reminder of how teams got to the regional playoffs.

 

 

 

Miami FC 2 defeated Atlanta Silverbacks 2-1.  The game was level at half-time, but Kris Tyrpak in the 80th minute to defeat the Atlanta squad that had been reduced to ten men a couple of minutes earlier.

Little Rock Rangers provided the upset of the playoffs thus far. Trevor Reed scored in the first half for Little Rock who carried the lead until Rodave Murrary scored late to force extra time. Donald Benamna scored at minute 115 to hand Laredo a shocking defeat.

Little Rock travels to Miami for the region final on Saturday night. Yesterday, they started a crowd-funding campaign to raise money for their travel expenses. This tweet was widely distributed amongst lower division teams and their supporters.

The community answered the call resoundingly.

Midwest Region

 

The semi-finals in this region are on Friday and the final is on Saturday.

Northeast Region

Keystone Conference

Mid-Atlantic Conference

 

North Atlantic Conference

 

 

FC Baltimore was unable to avail itself of its second life thanks to the wild-card. They were soundly defeated by FC Motown thanks to a brace by Daryl Kavanagh and an extra goal scored by Christopher Katona.

A Zaire Bartley brace took New York Cosmos B past FC Frederick. As we shall see, the fall of Laredo Heat makes New York the top seed remaining, which gives them home-field advantage for as long as they survive.

 

West Region

 

Continuing an adventure that started with a play-in game on June 30, Orange County FC advanced to the finals due to a 4-2 victory at FC Golden State in a thrilling match. Gabriel Henrique Silva scored early for Golden State, but Orange County replied 11 minutes later with a goal by Tomas Canale. Dakota Collins scored in the 61st minute to give Orange County the lead and Canale scored another goal a couple of minutes later. Adrien Perez posted a goal in the 84th minute for Golden State but Kevin Jeon scored in the 90th to secure victory for Orange County.

Here’s what the national championship would look like if the favorites were to win out:

For reference, here are the regular season PPG averages for the remaining teams that serve as the basis for seeding/hosting rights.

New York Cosmos B      3
FC Motown                    2.7
Minneapolis City SC      2.4286
AFC Ann Arbor              2.4167
Miami FC 2                    2.25
Little Rock Rangers       2.1
Orange County FC        2.0833
Cleveland SC                 2
Duluth FC                      2
FCM Portland                1.8333

My next update will be on Saturday night or Sunday morning, when the national playoffs bracket is set..

With only a couple of exceptions, penalty kicks and upsets were the orders of the day in the National Premier Soccer League playoffs. We’ll dive straight into the brackets. Bold-face indicates match-ups that are completed or set while italics indicate projection based on current seedings.

 

South Region

Sunshine Conference

Defensive/goal-keeping errors made for a 1-1 match 30 minutes into the first half, but Miami FC 2 subsequently pulled away to a 3-1 victory.

 

Southeast Conference

True to form, the Southeast Conference provided maximum drama in its championship. Chatannoga FC’s goal-keeper saved a penalty kick late in the second half of extra time and saved one in the subsequent shoot-out. However, the referee called it back and Atlanta scored on the re-kick. He was subsequently shown a yellow card after having been judged to prematurely come off his line a second time.¬† Chattanooga’s sixth penalty kick went over the crossbar, which gave Atlanta the win once they converted their kick.

Heartland Conference

Little Rock Rangers upset FC Wichita by way of penalty kicks.

Lone Star Conference

Lone Star Conference

60 minutes of play without scoring was followed by a Fort Worth Goal that was answered by Laredo within a minute and coincided with the sending off of Fort Worth’s coach.¬† Goals in the eightieth and eighty-ninth minute gave Laredo the 3-1 victory.

In the other semi-final match, Dutch Lions scored late in the first half and carried the lead until second half stoppage time. They proceeded to add two goals in the second half of extra time and while Midland-Odessa scored on a late penalty kick, Dutch Lions prevailed for a  3-2 upset. They play Laredo for the conference title on Saturday. Laredo were 2-0 victors in their meeting on June 6.

The top national seed, Laredo Heat, got a good scare on Saturday night. Dutch Lions opened up a 2-0 lead after 22 minutes and carried that lead through half-time. Goals in the 67th and 74th minute drew Laredo level, but the game proceeded into extra time. Laredo scored twice in the first half but conceded a goal as well. They managed to hang on for the victory.

Those results yielded this for the South Region playoffs.

Had Dutch Lions held on to their lead, the road to the South Region title would have run through Miami. As it stands now, however, Laredo are in prime position.

Midwest Region

 

Duluth survived two late goals by Grand Rapids FC that forced extra time. Cleveland SC’s Vincent Bell scored a hat trick against an Erie Commodores squad that finished the match with nine men. Note that the semi-finals and final are at a common site; Ann Arbor.

Northeast Region

Keystone Conference

FC Motown scored an equalizing goal in the 88th minute and defeated West Chester United on penalty kicks.

Mid-Atlantic Conference

After being drawn at one after 90 minutes, FC Frederick and Northern Virginia United traded goals in the first half of stoppage time. FC Frederick triumphed in stoppage time and then continued its insurgent playoff run against FC Baltimore.

 

North Atlantic Conference

New York Cosmos trailed Brooklyn Italians for eight minutes in the second half but drew even in the 77th minute. They then fell a man down before managing to get the game to penalty kicks where they were victorious.

Had they lost, they would not have been out of the playoffs, however. That would have been thanks to the wild card for the Northeast Region that allows the conference champion loser with the highest Points Per Game to advance. As things turn out, it is FC Baltimore who gets the second chance. Note that the seedings are based on the regular season PPG. As such, if there were to be a rematch between Frederick and Baltimore, Baltimore would host despite having lost in their conference championship.

 

 

West Region

 

FC Mulhouse Portland continued their insurgent playoffs run with a 2-0 upset of El Farolito. Tonight, we will see whether Orange County FC can continue their run from the bottom or FC Golden State restores order.

If the favorites were to win out, the national championship would look like this.

For reference, here are the regular season PPG averages for the remaining teams that serve as the basis for seeding/hosting rights.

Laredo Heat                   3 (+33 GD / 37 goals scored)
New York Cosmos B      3 (+32 GD / 40 goals scored)
FC Motown                    2.7
Minneapolis City SC      2.4286
AFC Ann Arbor              2.4167
Miami FC 2                    2.25
FC Baltimore                  2.2
FC Golden State            2.1667
Little Rock Rangers       2.1
Orange County FC        2.0833
Cleveland SC                 2
Duluth FC                      2
FCM Portland                1.8333
Atlanta Silverbacks        1.7143
FC Frederick                   1.4

My next update will be on Wednesday night, after the Northeast Region semi-finals.

The Southeastern Conference continued to demonstrate its ultra-competitive nature with a pair of upsets in its opening round of the playoffs. Elsewhere, some favorites got taken to the limits while others pressed on.

A reminder:The league is divided into four regions and 13 conferences. Due to this unevenness and the varying number of teams in each conference, there is not a playoff format that applies to each and every conference and region. Some conferences determine their champion before sending teams into a regional play-off. Some conferences send a number of teams directly into a regional play-off. Things are simpler though, once the regional champions are determined. The highest seeded regional champion (based on points per game in the regular season) hosts the lowest seed and the second highest seed hosts the third lowest seed. The highest remaining seed then hosts the other survivor for the league championship.

These are the top seeds from each conference ranked by points per game (PPG) with average goal differential as a tiebreaker. No changes here.

Laredo Heat                   3 (+33 GD / 37 goals scored)
New York Cosmos B      3 (+28 GD / 36 goals scored)
FC Motown                    2.7
Minneapolis City SC      2.4286
AFC Ann Arbor              2.4167
Miami FC 2                    2.25
Erie Commodores         2.25
FC Baltimore                  2.2
FC Wichita                     2.2
FC Golden State            2.1667
Chattanooga FC            2
FCM Portland                1.8333

Now to the brackets. Note that for the most part these brackets are soft/flexible. That is, an upset can cause a change in brackets because the format is generally highest seed hosting lowest seed and so forth. Boldfaced indicates a match-up that is set, italics indicate projected outcome based on the favorite winning.

South Region

Sunshine Conference

Two rapid-succession goals early in the second half allowed Jacksonville to pull away en-route to a 4-1 defeat of Miami United.  Jacksonville now travels to Miami where they played their fellow NASL refugees to a 1-1 draw at the beginning of the season (they beat Miami 1-0 in Jacksonville in June).

 

Southeast Conference

The tumble of the New Orleans Jesters culminated in a 3-2 loss to Georgia Revolution. Asheville City scored three straight goals to beat Inter Nashville FC 3-1.

For Thursday’s semi-finals, Georgia now travels to Chattannoga. Their series is wonky; 4-2 road victory for Georgia and a 3-0 road victory for Chattanooga.¬† Meanwhile, Asheville City travels down to Atlanta. Asheville posted 3-1 and 1-0 victories in the regular season.

Heartland Conference

On Wednesday night, FC Wichita defeated Saint Louis Club Atletico handily. Little Rock Rangers netted a 90th minute goal to defeat Tulsa Athletic. The conference championship is on Saturday. Little Rock was victorious last Saturday, but FC Wichita posted a 6-1 win at the start of the season.

Lone Star Conference

60 minutes of play without scoring was followed by a Fort Worth Goal that was answered by Laredo within a minute and coincided with the sending off of Fort Worth’s coach.¬† Goals in the eightieth and eighty-ninth minute gave Laredo the 3-1 victory.

In the other semi-final match, Dutch Lions scored late in the first half and carried the lead until second half stoppage time. They proceeded to add two goals in the second half of extra time and while Midland-Odessa scored on a late penalty kick, Dutch Lions prevailed for a  3-2 upset. They play Laredo for the conference title on Saturday. Laredo were 2-0 victors in their meeting on June 6.

 

Those conference champions would create a regional playoff like so

The semi-finals are Lone Star Conference vs Heartland Conference and Sunshine Conference vs Southeastern Conference (team with highest average PPG hosts). Unless Dutch Lions win the Lone Star while Wichita wins the Heatland, it will be Lone Star champion at Heartland champion. Similarly, a Chattanooga FC vs Miami United match-up is the only one that would be hosted by the Southeastern champion. Anything else would be in Florida.

Midwest Region

Minneapolis City SC is the 1 seed for the region playoffs that start on Saturday..

The region has some unique bracketing. The (3) seed hosts whichever team seeded 4-6 is nearest to it. Hence, the oddity of 3 playing 4 and 5 playing 6. The highest remaining seed plays the lowest remaining seed. The semi-final and final are played at a common location decided by club owners.

Duluth vs Grand Rapids is a cross-conference matchup. Erie and Cleveland split their regular season series with each match decided by one goal.

Northeast Region

Keystone Conference

FC Monmouth scored the opening three goals in a 4-1 defeat of FC Monmouth. Junior Lone Star survived extra time despite playing with 10 men for its entirety (due to a red card) but succumbed to West Chester United in penalty kicks.  West Chester United handed FC Motown its lone defeat of the season on July 7.  They meet again for the conference title on Saturday.

Mid-Atlantic Conference

Northern Virginia posted one goal victories in both regular season meetings against Frederick.  Contrary to what my earlier posts showed, their conference semifinal match-up is Thursday.

 

North Atlantic Conference

Elm City Express scored the opening goal against New York Cosmos B. New York equalized and went ahead before Elm City drew the game level at two before the end of the first half. The score remained unchanged until the second half of stoppage time when New York finally pulled away for a 4-2 victory. Brooklyn Italians posted an orderly 3-0 victory over Hartford City. New York had a 2-1 victory over Brooklyn in league play on May 15.

Three conferences feeding slots into the regional playoffs means that there is a unique “wild-card”.¬† The conference final loser with the highest PPG gets a second chance. Hence, the re-appearance of Brooklyn Italians in this scenario.

West Region

The region’s playoffs started on Saturday and there were upsets in a couple of the intra-conference matchups that precede the seeded semi-finals. Orange County FC shocked would-be 1 seed Albion SC San Diego 3-1 after conceding the first goal. FC Mulhouse Portland also survived being the first to concede and upset Spokan SC Shadow 2-1. The results moved El Farolito to the 1 seed and Orange County FC to 3.

El Farolito vs FC Mulhouse Portland is a cross-conference match. Golden State and Orange County played a scoreless draw in April while Golden State tallied a 1-0 victory in June.

As described earlier, the national semi-finals and final would be

My next update will be on Sunday once the regional playoffs have taken shape.

This weekend simultaneously marked the end of the National Premier Soccer League regular season in most conferences and the start of the playoffs for the West Region and Lone Star Conference. As we shall see, there was plenty of action this weekend that shook up the brackets.

A reminder:The league is divided into four regions and 13 conferences. Due to this unevenness and the varying number of teams in each conference, there is not a playoff format that applies to each and every conference and region. Some conferences determine their champion before sending teams into a regional play-off. Some conferences send a number of teams directly into a regional play-off. Things are simpler though, once the regional champions are determined. The highest seeded regional champion (based on points per game in the regular season) hosts the lowest seed and the second highest seed hosts the third lowest seed. The highest remaining seed then hosts the other survivor for the league championship.

These are the top seeds from each conference ranked by points per game (PPG) with average goal differential as a tiebreaker.

Laredo Heat                   3 (+33 GD / 37 goals scored)
New York Cosmos B      3 (+28 GD / 36 goals scored)
FC Motown                    2.7
Minneapolis City SC      2.4286
AFC Ann Arbor              2.4167
Miami FC 2                    2.25
Erie Commodores         2.25
FC Baltimore                  2.2
FC Wichita                     2.2
FC Golden State            2.1667
Chattanooga FC            2
FCM Portland                1.8333

Let’s dive straight into the brackets.¬†Note that for the most part these brackets are soft/flexible. That is, an upset can cause a change in brackets because the format is generally highest seed hosting lowest seed and so forth. Boldfaced indicates a match-up that is set, italics indicate projected outcome based on the favorite winning.

South Region

Sunshine Conference

On Saturday night, Miami FC 2 defeated Boca Raton FC 5-0 to claim the bye into the championship final. Jacksonville avenged an earlier loss to Naples United with a 2-0 victory, which allowed them to leap-frog Miami United and earn hosting rights for the semifinal on Wednesday.

Jacksonville and Miami United played to draws during the regular season in league play. However, Miami United was victorious in a US Open Cup match played at Jacksonville University.’s Southern Oak Stadium. The Armada will hope that playing at the University of North Florida’s Hodges Stadium (their normal home field) instead will bring better luck.

Southeast Conference

A calamitous weekend for New Orleans (who had no control over events). Victories by Chattanooga and Atlanta over Georgia and Emerald Force dropped them out of the first seed down to third. Inter Nashville scored a late goal to defeat Greenville FC 3-2, which kept the debutants out of the playoffs.

Looking at Tuesday’s matchups: In their only regular season meeting this year, Asheville City defeated Inter Nashville 2-0. Similarly, New Orleans beat Georgia 2-0.

Heartland Conference

On Saturday, Little Rock Rangers gave Tulsa Athletic a 2-0 defeat that flipped the seedings for their semifinal match (Tulsa drubbed them 6-1 at the start of the season. FC Wichita and Saint Louis Club Atletico also split their regular season series.

Lone Star Conference

The first weekend of the playoffs was straight-forward as the favorites advanced handily. Laredo and Fort Worth met on July 3; it was Laredo with the 1-0 victory. Midland-Odessa defeated Dutch Lions 1-0 as well on June 23.

Those conference champions would create a regional playoff like so

The semi-finals are Lone Star Conference vs Heartland Conference and Sunshine Conference vs Southeastern Conference (team with highest average PPG hosts). Unless Dutch Lions win the Lone Star while Wichita wins the Heatland, it will be Lone Star champion at Heartland champion. Similarly, a Chattanooga FC vs Miami United match-up is the only one that would be hosted by the Southeastern champion. Anything else would be in Florida.

Midwest Region

East Conference

Erie Commodores played Fort Pitt Regiment to a 0-0 draw on Thursday to secure their playoff berth. They followed that up with a 2-1 defeat of Cleveland on Saturday.

Great Lakes Conference

AFC Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids already had their playoff berths confirmed

North Conference

Duluth FC beat Med City FC 1-0 on Friday to earn their playoff ticket. Minneapolis City SC is the 1 seed for the region playoffs.

The region has some unique bracketing. The (3) seed hosts whichever team seeded 4-6 is nearest to it. Hence, the oddity of 3 playing 4 and 5 playing 6. The highest remaining seed plays the lowest remaining seed. The semi-final and final are played at a common location decided by club owners.

Duluth vs Grand Rapids is a cross-conference matchup. Erie and Cleveland split their regular season series with each match decided by one goal.

Northeast Region

Keystone Conference

FC Monmouth surged into the playoffs with a 3-1 victory over New Jersey Copa FC. FC Motown, however, lost their perfect PPG in a 2-1 defeat at the hands of West Chester United.

Junior Lone Star and West Chester split their series with one goal victories in each. In their only meeting, Motown posted a 3-0 victory over Monmouth at the start of the season.

Mid-Atlantic Conference

FC Baltimore shredded Northern Virginia United 8-2 on Saturday to gain the top seed.

Northern Virginia posted one goal victories in both regular season meetings against Frederick.

 

North Atlantic Conference

On Saturday, Hartford City FC defeated TSF FC 3-2, which gave them a playoff berth. Elm City Express defeated Rhode Island Reds 6-4 to confirm their playoff slot as Greater Lowell FC lost both of their matches this weekend.

New York Cosmos B defeated Elm City Express 5-0 in the regular season.  Hartford had a 3-0 road victory over Brooklyn near the start of the season.

Three conferences feeding slots into the regional playoffs means that there is a unique “wild-card”.¬† The conference final loser with the highest PPG gets a second chance. Hence, the re-appearance of Junior Lone Star FC in this scenario.

West Region

The region’s playoffs started on Saturday and there were upsets in a couple of the intra-conference matchups that precede the seeded semi-finals. Orange County FC shocked would-be 1 seed Albion SC San Diego 3-1 after conceding the first goal. FC Mulhouse Portland also survived being the first to concede and upset Spokan SC Shadow 2-1. The results moved El Farolito to the 1 seed and Orange County FC to 3.

El Farolito vs FC Mulhouse Portland is a cross-conference match. Golden State and Orange County played a scoreless draw in April while Golden State tallied a 1-0 victory in June.

As described earlier, the national semi-finals and final would be

 

We have already seen one upset that changed this projected bracket. On Wednesday night or Thursday I will provide another update and we will see whether there are more shake-ups.