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..

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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.

 

(This is an update of an earlier post, refer to it to put the below information below in context.)

I’ll start with a match last night that may affect playoff hosting down the line. FC Motown who. along with New York Cosmos B and FC Laredo, are one of three teams with a perfect Points Per Game average defeated Electric City Shock 7-0. The result puts Motown atop the league standings due to superior goal differential. Barring a setback against West Chester United Soccer Club on Saturday (or New York Cosmos B absolutely thrashing Kingston Stockade), Motown will finish the regular season with a perfect PPG and the best goal differential of the teams with perfect PPG. That would give them the top seed in the Northeast Region playoffs (assuming that they are the Keystone Conference champions) and, if they win the region, in the national playoffs.

Now to review the regions that have been affected by games this week:

Sunshine Conference

On Tuesday, Miami FC 2 defeated Naples United 2-0 to secure a playoff berth. Today, Jacksonville defeated Storm FC 4-0 to snag the last berth available.  Miami FC 2 will secure the 1 seed with a win or draw against Boca Raton FC on Saturday. Jacksonville can secure the 2 seed with a win against Naples United on Saturday. A Miami FC 2 loss combined with a Jacksonville win would give Jacksonville the 1 seed and drop Miami FC 2 to 2. With their regular season over, Miami United can only watch.

Southeast Conference

An Asheville City defeat of Greenville FC tonight would have secured playoff spots for every team shown here. However, Greenville defeated Asheville 3-2 to keep their playoff hopes alive along with those of Emerald Force. Atlanta Silverbacks beat New Orleans Jesters 2-0 while Chattanooga FC defeated Inter Nashville FC 1-0. Those two results put Chattanooga back atop the conference standings.

The key matches for determining who gets the playoff berths are on Saturday. Atlanta hosts Emerald Force, Inter Nashville hosts Greenville, and New Orleans hosts Asheville. Wins by Greenville and Asheville would put them in the playoffs at the cost of Inter Nashville and Emerald Force.  An Inter Nashville win or draw would put them in the playoffs. and Greenville out (along with Emerald Force) if Asheville were to win or draw. An Inter Nashville win combined with an Asheville loss and an Emerald Force win would put Emerald Force in. Simple, right?

Also, Chattanooga FC travels to Georgia Revolution on Friday and Atlanta on Sunday.  Those matches could shuffle the seedings further.

 

 

Lone Star Conference

On Tuesday, Dutch Lions handed Katy 1895 FC a 9-0 defeat, which ended their playoff hopes and gave the last seed to Shreveport Rafters FC. Laredo Heat defeated Fort Worth Vaqueros 1-0 to finish their season with a perfect PPG. The result combined with Midland-Odessa’s 6-0 defeat of Houston caused Forth Worth to fall to the 4 seed. This conference’s playoffs start on Saturday.

Mid-Atlantic Conference

 

On Monday, FC Frederick played Charlottesville Alliance to a 1-1 draw to secure the final playoff berth. FC Baltimore and Northern Virginia United are level on points. FC Baltimore hosts Charlottesville while Northern Virginia travels to Virginia Beach City FC. If they match results, Northern Virginia United would get the 1 seed due to superior head-to-head goal differential (thanks to a 3-0 defeat of FC Baltimore on June 8). Note that in my previous post, I lazily used the NPSL standings as a reference for the seeding, which show FC Baltimore on top, presumably due to superior (overall) goal differential; I did not check who held the actual tie-breaker.

Tomorrow, in the East Conference, Fort Pitt Regiment will host Erie Commodores in a must-win match to keep their playoff hopes alive .

On Friday, Duluth FC will host Med City FC. A win by Duluth puts them in the playoffs while a draw puts them at risk at being overtaken by a VSLT double win on the weekend. A win by Med City gives them the playoff spot if VSLT drops any points.

My next update will come sometime after Saturday night, most likely on Monday. By then, all playoff seeding will be set and the West Region and Lone Star Conference playoffs will be in progress.

At this time last week, only 15 teams had clinched the 44 berths in the National Premier Soccer League Playoffs. Now, there are only 15 remaining to be had.Teams such as Brooklyn Italians, Chattanooga FC, and Junior Lone Star FC have extended this season, while others like Detroit City FC and Palm Beach United saw their hopes denied.

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 current conference leaders ranked by points per game (PPG)

Laredo Heat                   3 (+32 GD / 36 goals scored)
FC Motown                    3 (+29 GD / 32 goals scored)
New York Cosmos B      3 (+28 GD / 36 goals scored)
Minneapolis City SC       2.3846
AFC Ann Arbor               2.3636
ASC San Diego               2.333
FC Wichita                      2.333
Erie Commodores          2.3
El Farolito                       2.2857
Spokane SC Shadow      2.1667
FC Baltimore                  2.111
Miami FC 2                     2.1
New Orleans Jesters      1.9167

While the top three teams maintained perfect PPG last week, Laredo Heat enjoyed a 3-0 victory against FC Brownsville and a 6-0 victory against Katy 1895 FC.  This allowed them to pass the Cosmos (who enjoyed a 2-1 victory at Hartford FC) and FC Motown (who won at Hershey, 3-1). That changes the presumptions for the national playoffs. Based on the current standings and assuming the lower seeded team wins each match, the national semi-finals would be South  Region champion Laredo Heat vs West Region champion ASC San Diego and Northeast Region champion FC Motown  vs Midwest Region champion Minneapolis City SC. Laredo Heat would then host Minneapolis City SC for the league title.

Here’s the conference by conference look at how we would get there. For all of the graphics below, bold-faced font indicates a team that has clinched a spot in the playoffs, bold-faced and underlined teams are those that have clinched their seeding as well. Italics indicate a presumption of the favored team (based on seeding) winning their previous match.

South Region

Sunshine Conference

A peciuliar situation as the presumed number one seed has yet to clinch their berth in the playoffs. Last weekend was the end of the regular season and would have been the end for Miami FC 2 as well, were it not for US Open Cup matches forcing two reschedules.  On Saturday, Miami United defeated Palm Beach United to guarantee their entry into the playoffs and end the hopes of Palm Beach. Naples United defeated Jacksonville Armada, which, keeps their playoff hopes alive and postponed Miami FC 2’s clinching. On Tuesday, Miami FC 2 hosts Naples United. A win or a draw for the home team secures their playoff spot. Jacksonville plays Storm FC on Wednesday. A win there combined with a Naples United draw or loss would give them a spot in the playoffs. Otherwise, it comes down to the final day of matches: Miami FC 2 vs Boca Raton FC and Jacksonville vs Naples.

To summarize: Miami FC 2 enters the playoff with a win or a draw against either Naples United or Boca Raton FC.  Jacksonville gets into the playoffs with a win against Storm FC and a Naples United loss or draw. Naples United makes the playoffs with two wins.

 

Southeast Conference

Another situation where a team lower in the standings (based on PPG) clinches ahead of other teams. With games in hand, though, Atlanta is almost certainly in and Inter Nashville would have to have an unfortunate run of events to miss the playoffs. No one is eliminated yet, though Emerald Force would need a lot of help combined with a defeat of Atlanta. Greenville FC needs to defeat Asheville City on Wednesday to keep their hopes alive.

Heartland Conference

The playoff berths were already claimed and all that is left is the seeding. FC Wichita is almost certainly the number one seed a win or a draw against Demize would secure it outright. Tulsa Athletic and Little Rock Rangers play each-other on Saturday. FC Wichita holds the head-head tiebreaker over Tulsa while Little Rock Rangers would need a historic victory to overcome Wichita’s difference in goal differential.

Lone Star Conference

I made a mistake in my previous post; Forth Worth and Midland-Odessa cannot be the 2 and 3 seeds; the winner of the 3rd mini-table, Dutch Lions, would grab one of those seeds. Katy FC needs a win against Dutch Lions on Tuesday to bump Shreveport Rafters FC from the final unclaimed playoff spot. Fort Worth needs to defeat Laredo Heat on Tuesday to secure their seeding. Otherwise, a Midland-Odessa victory against Houston on Wednesday would give them the 2 seed.

 

Those conference champions would create a regional playoff like so

Midwest Region

East Conference

On Saturday, Cleveland defeated Syracuse to secure a playoff berth.  Friday, Erie Commodores FC defeated Buffalo on Friday to end their playoff hopes as well as those of Rochester.  Erie visits Fort Pitt Regiment on Thursday; a draw or victory would give Erie the other berth. Otherwise, it would go down to the wire on Saturday with Erie hosting Cleveland and Fort Pitt traveling to Rochester on Saturday.

Great Lakes Conference

AFC Ann Arbor defeated FC Columbus and in a wild match Grand Rapids drew Detroit City, 4-4.  Those results eliminated Detroit and Columbus while putting Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids in the playoff.

North Conference

Minneapolis City earned the conference title with a 4-2 defeat of Duluth FC. On Thursday, Duluth FC hosts Med City FC in a match that will determine the other playoff berth from the conference.

The region playoff consists of six teams and has some unique bracketing. The (3) seed hosts whichever team seeded 4-6 is nearest to it. The lowest remaining seed hosts the highest remaining. (1) and (2) seeds get byes to the semi-finals, which are played at a common site.

Northeast Region

Keystone Conference

FC Motown has secured the top seed. Junior Lone Star FC defeated New Jersey Copa FC to claim the 2 seed. Despite losing to FC Monmouth, West Chester locked a playoff berth as well. On Saturday, New Jersey Copa hosts FC Monmouth. Winner gets the playoff berth; a draw puts Copa through due to superior goal differential.

Mid-Atlantic Conference

FC Baltimore’s 13-0 demolishment of a Legacy 76 squad that only fielded 8 players boosted them to first place. Monday, FC Frederick can secure the final playoff spot with a win or draw against Charlottesville Alliance. A Charlottesville victory would mean they could secure the berth with a win or draw against FC Baltimore on Friday.

North Atlantic Conference

Hartford City FC clinches a playoff berth with a win against TSF FC on Saturday or, the Rhode Island Reds-Elm City Express match ending in a draw, or Greater Lowell losing one of its final two matches. Rhode Island gets into the playoffs with a win, otherwise Elm City Express claims the spot but either way, that is only if Greater Lowell does not manage to defeat New York Athletic Club on Saturday and Boston City FC on Sunday.

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

Southwest Conference

 Orange County FC defeated FC Arizona 3-0 on Saturday in a play-in game to join ASC San Diego and FC Golden State..

Northwest Conference

FCM Portland defeated Kitsap Pumas on Wednesday to grab a playoff spot. Spokane SC won the conference.

Golden Gate Conference

El Farolito is the conference champion and are joined by Sonoma County Sol FC and CD Aguilichos USA.

The regional playoff consists of the first and third place teams from the Southwest and Golden Gate Conferences playing each other plus the two teams from the Northwest. The winners are then seeded based on regular season PPG. These start on Saturday

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

I will provide an update on Thursday to comment on the pertinent mid-week matches and have a full post on Monday with all of the brackets.

 

44 teams. 39 matches. That is the sprawl of the National Premier Soccer League playoffs.

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 current conference leaders ranked by points per game (PPG)

New York Cosmos B      3 (+27 GD / 34 goals scored)
FC Motown                    3 (+27 GD / 29 goals scored)
Laredo Heat                   3 (+23 GD / 27 goals scored)
FC Wichita                      2.625
ASC San Diego               2.333
AFC Ann Arbor               2.3
Minneapolis City SC       2.273
El Farolito                       2.231
Erie Commodores          2.222
Spokane SC Shadow      2.111
Miami FC 2                     2
FC Baltimore                  1.857
Chattanooga                  1.8

Based on the current standings and assuming the lower seeded team wins each match, the national semi-finals would be East Region champion New York Cosmos B vs Midwest Region champion FC Wichita and South Region champion Laredo Heat vs West Region champion ASC San Diego. New York Cosmos B would then play Laredo Heat for the league title.

Here’s the conference by conference look at how we would get there.

South Region

Sunshine Conference

This is a seven team conference with twelve matches. As expected Miami FC 2 and Jacksonville Armada are in the driver’s seat with Miami United not far behind. Palm Beach United has a win against Jacksonville and Miami United and very nearly managed a draw against Miami FC 2. However, they lost both of their matches against Naples United and thus are in fifth place. Naples is in fourth place but its final four matches are against Miami FC 2 and Jacksonville. Boca Raton FC is still mathematically alive, barely.

Southeast Conference

The Southeast Conference consists of eight teams that play 12 matches. It is an exceptionally well-balanced and all teams still have a path to the playoffs.

Heartland Conference

Six team division with ten matches. With the exception of seeding, the playoff picture is set;
FC Wichita, Tulsa Athletic, Little Rock Rangers, and St Louis Club Atletico are in.

Lone Star Conference

 

Nine team conference with ten matches. Leader Laredo Heat SC is one of three teams in the league
maintaining a perfect PPG figure. The conference is divided into three groups to establish six playoff slots. Half of those have been claimed and Tyler FC is the only team out thus far.

Those conference champions would create a regional playoff like so

Midwest Region

East Conference

Seven team conference with 12 matches. Erie Commodores FC and Cleveland SC are currently fending off Fort Pitt Regiment, FC Buffalo, and Rochester Lancers.

Great Lakes Conference

Also seven teams that play twelve matches. AFC Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids FC are currently in the
playoff positions but FC Columbus and Detroit City FC have games in hand.

North Conference

Eight teams that play 14 matches. Minneapolis City SC and Duluth FC are poised for the playoffs, but
VSLT, Med City, Minnesota TwinStars, and Dakota Fusion are still alive.

The region playoff consists of six teams and has some unique bracketing. The (3) seed hosts whichever team seeded 4-6 is nearest to it. The lowest remaining seed hosts the highest remaining. (1) and (2) seeds get byes to the semi-finals, which are played at a common site.

Northeast Region

Keystone Conference

Nine team conference with ten matches. It appears that the four playoff teams will be FC Motown,
New Jersey Copa FC, West Chester United Soccer Club, and Junior Lone Star FC. FC Monmouth, however,
still has slim hopes.

Mid-Atlantic Conference

Six team conference with ten matches. Very balanced; all teams still alive with three matches remaining. Charlottesville Alliance FC, Virginia Beach City FC, and Legacy 76 are currently on the outside looking in.

North Atlantic Conference

11 team conference with ten matches. New York Cosmos B have locked the conference title. Hartford
City FC is almost certainly in the playoffs as well. Brooklyn Italians, Greater Lowell,
New York Athletic Club, Rhode Island Reds, Elm City Express, and Kingston Stockade are vying for
the final two slots.

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 New Jersey Copa FC in this scenario.

West Region

Southwest Conference

Seven team conference with 12 matches. The regular season is complete with ASC San Diego, FC Golden State advanced to the playoffs handily. Orange County FC finished comfortably in third place, but must play FC Arizona on June 30 for the third playoff berth from this conference.

Northwest Conference

Five team conference with 12 matches. Spokane SC Shadow and FCM Portland are likely to advance
to the playoffs though Kitsap Pumas and PDX FC still have hopes.

Golden Gate Conference

Eight team conference with 14 matches. El Farolito, CD Aguiliuchos USA, and Sonoma County Sol FC
are the playoff teams.

The regional playoff consists of the first and third place teams from the Southwest and Golden Gate Conferences playing each other plus the two teams from the Northwest. The winners are then seeded based on regular season PPG.

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

As we can see, the playoffs are far from set for some of these conferences. I will take another look next week.