On Saturday the visiting Erie Admirals face expansion side RVA FC in the first NPSL National Semifinal match-up.
The Admirals, a perennial favorite in the NPSL, made it to this point with two strong wins over Detroit City FC and Quad Cities FC. Both opponents had strong regular season records and were thought to be favorites for the national title.
Erie, led by head coach John Melody, has surged at the right time. Their offense, led by Karl Jones (9 goals) and Billy Colton (8 goals), is clicking on all cylinders. Center midfielder Ryan Johnstone was named Great Lakes Conference MVP by Buffalo.com after a strong season for the Admirals.
RVA FC, which has featured many different lineups throughout 2013, has a balanced attack with 29 goals from 10 different players.
RVA head coach Grover Gibson, himself a former professional player in Germany, counts on former FC New York midfielder Don Smart (7 goals) to lead the way forward. UVA standout Patrick Foss has become a leader for the Richmond defense.
Watch RVA FC play the Erie Admirals LIVE here.
The Sonoma County Sol play host to FC LVU Sonic in the other NPSL National Semifinal match-up on Saturday.
Sonoma County certainly has home-field advantage as their opponent traveled over 2,000 miles to Rohnert Park, California.
The Sol are led by Ross Middlemiss (11 goals in the regular season) and Trevor Hurst (8 assists in the regular season).
“Our team strength is togetherness,” Sol co-captain Lee Summerscales stated. “We are a team and not a bunch of individuals. We each know our role within our system and we all work hard for the player next to us.”
Cory Taufer, the most recent NPSL National Player of the Week, is described as “a player that keeps it simple, who wins tackles and keeps possession.” Many believe he is a player to watch for in this game.
Sonic comes into the match as the defending NPSL National Champions. Winning a national title in a league in over 60 markets is no easy task and trying to repeat is even more difficult.
“We were pretty close to winning it all in 2010 and many of the players from that team were on the 2012 Championship team,” Sonic head coach Dave Weitzman commented. “So, finally winning it was very special. It’s something that I’ll never forget and I know the players feel the same.”
Sonic is led by goalkeeper Charlie Sales, who won the NPSL Goalkeeper of the Year award in 2012 after posting 11.5 shutouts and only allowing four goals. He is back in form after a strong 2013 regular season campaign.
Matt Baker (Pitt), Michael Gonzalez (Penn State) and Tom Mustac (East Stroudsburg) are also players that should be watched for as they pace the Sonic attack. This season Mustac contributed 7 goals and 2 assists, while Baker added 7 assists and another 5 goals.
Sonic was the only team from the NPSL to play in the National Amateur Championship in Greensboro earlier this year.
Watch the Sonoma County Sol play FC LVU Sonic LIVE here.