Photo courtesy of Seth Steffenhagen


On to the Playoffs: NPSL North Matchweek 10 Recap

by on 10 July 2018

The North Conference season wrapped up this weekend, and while every team was in action, the result of the Friday evening game rendered all other postseason clinching scenarios moot. Minneapolis City SC and Duluth FC are into the NPSL Playoffs, the latter qualifying for the second consecutive year after a 1-0 win against Med City FC. Minneapolis City finished off its undefeated season in style, whomping Dakota Fusion in Fargo and securing a first round bye.

Med City FC 0, Duluth FC 1
July 6, 2018
Public Schools Stadium (Duluth, Minn.)

An early goal, coupled with some standout goalkeeper play, got Duluth the result it needed to qualify for the playoffs for the second consecutive year. Soham Kathuria scored in the 13th minute for the hosts and left the rest up to the BlueGreen defense. Med City pushed for the equalizer, knowing it needed to win to overtake Duluth in the standings, but Jan Hoffelner’s heroics in goal made sure the Mayhem stayed off the board. Tempers boiled over close to the end of the match, resulting in two Med City players being sent off and making for a tough end to a resurgence that nearly resulted in a postseason berth.

Up next:
Duluth FC vs. Grand Rapids FC (NPSL Midwest Quarterfinal), July 14

Sioux Falls Thunder 2, La Crosse Aris 1
July 7, 2018
Viterbo Sports Complex (La Crosse, Wis.)

Sioux Falls finished the season on a high note, edging out La Crosse Aris for its third straight win. Natinael Ayalew scored in the 16th minute to put the Thunder up early, but Aris answered back 10 minutes later with a goal from Max Kundert. La Crosse looked to be headed for its second point of the season when Eric Beltran’s stoppage time winner broke the Wisconsinites’ hearts.

Minneapolis City SC 8, Dakota Fusion 0
July 7, 2018
Jim Gotta Stadium (Moorhead, Minn.)

Minneapolis City capped off an undefeated regular season campaign with a bang, firing eight goals past a struggling Fusion defense. Branden McGarrity returned from injury and netted a hat trick with goals in the 27th, 48th, and 61st minutes. Justin Oliver also joined him in the hat trick club, scoring in the 37th, 59th, and 74th minutes. Will Kidd’s 66th minute goal and Charlie Adams’ 85th minute finale rounded out the scoresheet. The win gives Minneapolis City the region’s top seed and a bye into the NPSL Midwest Semifinal match.

Up next:
Minneapolis City SC vs. Duluth FC/Grand Rapids FC (NPSL Midwest Semifinal), July 20

Minnesota TwinStars 2, VSLT FC 1
July 7, 2018
Highland Park High School (St. Paul, Minn.)

The results of Friday evening’s game dashed VSLT’s playoff hopes, and a tough end to its season continued with a 2-1 loss on Saturday. Tyler Oliver’s diving header in stoppage time found the back of the net and the Dragons snatched all three points.

VSLT FC 7, La Crosse Aris 1
July 8, 2018
Jim Gotta Stadium (Moorhead, Minn.)

VSLT scored early and often in this makeup match, the original having been delayed because of rain last month. Franco Pretell opened the scoring in the 12th minute, followed by 27th and 30th minute goals for Leini Lozano to put the visitors up 3-0 going into halftime. Jose Manuel Andriano struck his first goal of the game in the 51st minute, but La Crosse answered with Max Kundert’s second of the weekend in the 63rd. VSLT was in no mood to relent though, and Andriano put his second away five minutes afterward. Zuheer al Abase added one in the 80th minute and Lozano bagged himself a hat trick with his 89th minute hit. The win should provide some catharsis for a team that let a playoff berth slip from their hands.


NPSL North Standings

Club Played Won Drawn Lost GD Points Possible
Minneapolis City 13 9 4 0 24 31 34
Duluth 13 7 4 2 15 25 28
Med City 13 6 4 3 19 22 25
VSLT 12 6 2 4 7 20 26
TwinStarsX 13 5 3 5 6 18 21
Dakota FusionX 13 4 3 6 -18 15 18
Sioux Falls X 13 3 1 9 -10 10 13
La Crosse Aris X 12 0 1 11 -43 1 7

X = eliminated from playoff contention.
NPSL first tiebreaker is head-to-head results between the tied teams.
NPSL second tiebreaker is goal differential in the head-to-head matches

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