It was a weekend of upsets in the NPSL playoffs as several top teams fell in the opening round.
Tulsa Athletics, who dominated the South Central Conference in their first season, fell to Chattanooga FC on penalty kicks after 120 minutes of play produced no score. It was an exciting match as Tulsa’s high octane attack went up against CFC’s dominant defense led by goalkeeper Gregory Hartley.
Most of regular time turned out to be several missed scoring opportunities for Chattanooga FC and a few calm saves by Hartley, with the bulk of controlled possession falling to Chattanooga FC. Tulsa picked up steam in the first 15 minutes of overtime, but in the last 15 minutes the cards were being dealt by Chattanooga FC once again. The team moving on was decided when the game went into PKs. For Chattanooga, Andy Stewart, Jose "Zeca" Ferraz, and Thibault Charmey all scored. Unfortunately for Tulsa, Hartley allowed no one from the home side to score.
Detroit City FC, a team that was nearly perfect in the regular season with an 11-0-1 record, was knocked out of the postseason Sunday by the Erie Admirals in a 4-1 loss. This was a surprising result as DCFC earlier defeated rival AFC Cleveland 3-1 in one of two Saturday matches.
FC Hasental fell to the Sacramento Gold in an 8-5 goalfest, a match that saw the league’s most powerful offense bounced from postseason play.
RVA FC defeated 2011 national champions Jacksonville United FC 5-3, giving the expansion team the edge over a veteran JUFC squad.
“It’s up to us if we want to control the game or not,” RVA coach Grover Gibson stated. “There’s no team that’s going to come here, or where we play away, that’s going to determine what’s happening on the field. It’s us and us alone.”
Many observers believe the game’s momentum changed in the 61st minute when Jacksonville’s Jonathan Glenn received a red card, forcing the Florida side to play a man down for over 30 minutes.
Finally the Sonoma County Sol shutout the San Diego Flash 3-0. The goals would come from Chris Daly, Nico Spann, and Ross Middlemiss with Trevor Hurst assisting on all three.
Middlemiss added, “We are becoming a more unified and better team every game and feel we have become a real force to be reckoned with.”
The Northeast Region will join the playoff mix this week as the league gets closer and closer to the National Finals on August 3rd.
Photo Credit: Chattanooga FC
Thank you to Tom Leiss, Madonna Kemp, and Greg Volker for providing information for this report.