Brooklyn Italians 4 @ Rhode Island Reds FC 3 (NE Atlantic Flight): The Brooklyn Italians outscored the Rhode Island Reds in a high scoring and somewhat controversial thriller. The Reds showed dramatic improvement over last season, and could have stolen three points if it weren’t for giving up two goals off of penalty kicks. Despite the match drama, Rhode Island can feel good about playing the Italians so close and should feel confident that they have a team that can compete this year. Brooklyn can feel good about the three points, but will need to clean up their play if they want to separate themselves from the rest of the Atlantic Flight.
Miami United SC 3 @ Cape Coral Hurricanes 0 (S Sunshine Flight): Miami United SC took the lead in the Everglades Cup with a sound 3-0 win in the opening match of NPSL Sunshine Flight play. Miami now leads the four game series with 7 points to the Hurricanes 1. Miami scored the initial goal just two minutes in on a perfect through ball which Matthias Carizo easily punched pass the keeper. Miami added a second in the 31′ when Mario Gomez headed in a well placed corner. Cape Coral had a couple quality chances of their own, with Cody Antonini hitting the woodwork but the crossbar was as close as they were to get. R. Caciedo sealed the match with a third goal in the 55′. Each side picked up one yellow a piece.
Las Vegas Stallions 3 @ Orange County Pateadores 0 (W Southern Flight): Orange County Pateadores was forced to forfeit the match when a last minute agreement on a match time change could not be reached. This is the first loss for the Pateadores and the first win for Las Vegas.
FC Santa Clarita Storm 1 @ San Diego Boca 1 (W Southern Flight): Santa Clarita managed to extend their unbeaten streak to four straight games, while San Diego Boca will be glad to pick up a point and avoid another tick in the loss column. San Diego Boca brought a lot of pressure against the Storm and it seems to have paid off as they limited Santa Clarita to a single goal - the first time a team has been able to do that since OC Pateadores 2-0 victory. Santa Clarita’s lone goal came as the Boca keeper mishandled the ball and forward Andres Beun0 headed it in. Interestingly, the two clubs have played to a draw 5 times in the last three seasons.
Sonoma County Sol 2 @ Sacramento Gold 2 (W Northern Flight): Sacramento seemed to have the game safely in hand with a 2-1 lead and a man advantage as the clock ran down - until a masterful strike by Sol player Justin Ferriera from 25 yards out found its way home with only thirty seconds left in the match. Red cards and late game heroics seem to have become a story line in the Northern Flight, and with the draw the Sol managed to maintain a 1 point lead over the Gold in the standings.
CD Aguiluchos USA 1 @ Real San Jose 1 (W Northern Flight): After a scoreless first half, both teams found the back of the net once each as the match ended in a 1-1 draw. CD Aguiluchos will be happy to pick up another point, while the draw is a set back in San Jose’s attempt to chase down Sonoma and Sacramento. Forward Jorge Ruiz had the goal for the Aguiluchos while it was Jesse Kehoe who scored for Real San Jose.
Houston Dutch Lions 1 (PDL) v Houston Hurricanes 1 (Friendly): The Houston Hurricanes played the Houston Dutch Lions of the PDL to a 1-1 draw last week. The Lions won the possession battle solidly for the first 65 minutes of the match, but some fresh legs in the last 20 minutes of the match changed the tempo of the game and the Hurricanes broke through in the 88′ to score the equalizer. You can check out a video of the match highlights here.
Regals SCA 2 v Houston Dutch Lions 6 (PDL) (Friendly): Unlike their flight rivals, Regals SCA did not fair so well against the Dutch Lions. Despite scoring two goals, the Regals defense could not fend off the repeated Lions attacks and allowed 6 goals by the time the final whistle blew. If these two matches against a common opponent are any indication, Regals SCA will need to find a way to tighten up the defense before they open league play.
When I saw a match report on the NPSL website for a match that had yet to be played I thought it was some kind of joke. Curious about it, I tweeted at Las Vegas and Orange County. Orange County responded, “Las Vegas objected to a time change in today’s game… and made us forfeit.”
— OCPateadores (@OCPateadores) May 4, 2023
This is unfortunate on so many levels. Not only was OC Pateadores undefeated up until the forfeit, Las Vegas had yet to win a match. At the end of the season, Pateadores will most likely still qualify for the playoffs and Las Vegas most likely won’t. I understand that last minute time changes aren’t fair and that’s the reason why there are forfeit provisions. But beyond the immediate win/loss ramifications, these kinds of issues undermine the legitimacy of the league. NPSL desperately wants to be viewed as an equal to the PDL. But as long as we have teams that play with 10 men because of eligibility issues, scheduling issues forcing forfeits, and clubs that serve beer instead of water to players (let alone minors), the image of the league will suffer. At this point many of the ‘standards’ criticisms leveled at the league are real. Not all clubs have these problems, probably not even most. But the fact that there ARE such problems betrays the leagues best intentions to establish minimum standards.
Today’s forfeit aside, there are still clubs that have yet to finalize schedules despite most flights kicking off next weekend. The Rhode Island Reds website still shows Lowell FC on the schedule, who is known to be waiting until at least 2014 to compete. (To be fair, I have since learned that Rhode Island has kept this match on the schedule as a friendly).
As a member owned league, club owners and representatives need to band together and establish some real league standards. Not just because it will make scheduling easier and eliminate forfeits, but because if they want the league to grow and their clubs to prosper they need to raise the level of professionalism across the board. Having twenty or thirty success stories would be far better than four or five flagship clubs. I believe the potential is there, and I think there is a movement among many of the ownership groups to improve. I hope they can navigate the democratic process and convince the rest quickly enough that change really is necessary - before we end up with two or three more league splits.
Brooklyn Italians @ Rhode Island Reds FC (NE Atlantic Flight): The storied Brooklyn Italians will travel north to Providence to open the season against sophomore club Rhode Island Reds FC. Brooklyn is a flight contender every year, and there is no reason to think this season will be any different. Rhode Island finished respectably in the middle of the table for their first season and saw twin brothers Paulo and Pedro Mendes sign contracts with the Atlanta Silverbacks of NASL - with Pedro even being named NASL Player of the Week after a 2 goal performance led the Silverbacks to a victory over the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers. The Reds lost a US Open Cup qualifying match to Mass Premier Soccer Men’s Open team 1-0 earlier this year. Without many pre-season results to draw from, I predict Brooklyn wins 2-1.
Miami United SC @ Cape Coral Hurricanes (S Sunshine Flight): Miami United will travel to Cape Coral for the 3rd leg of the Everglades Cup and the opening match of Sunshine Flight play. After a blowout in the first leg Cape Coral managed a well played draw last weekend in the 2nd leg with a boost from signings just heading home from college. It’s always tough to play the same team so many times, and I give a slight edge to Miami as the home side - Miami 2-1, though I wouldn’t be surprised if that scoreline ended the other way around.
Las Vegas Stallions @ Orange County Pateadores (W Southern Flight): A languishing Stallions side will travel to Orange County to face a superior foe in Pateadores. The best Las Vegas can hope for is to garnish a point from a draw, but if past scorelines are any indication this match is tilted heavily in favor of the Pats. OC Pateadores win by a wide margin, 5-0.
FC Santa Clarita Storm @ San Diego Boca (W Southern Flight): Santa Clarita will look to continue their winning ways with a fourth in a row since a season opening loss to OC Pateadores. San Diego Boca has no wins and only 1 point so far from a tie with the Las Vegas Stallions. Santa Clarita wins 3-2.
Sonoma County Sol @ Sacramento Gold (W Northern Flight): Sonoma County will travel to Sacramento for a match with serious implications for the flight title race. These teams have traded wallopings this season, and there is a good chance this match could be another entertaining and high scoring affair. I think the Gold edge this one, 3-2.
CD Aguiluchos USA @ Real San Jose (W Northern Flight): After a great start, Real San Jose has had some unfortunate luck and finds themselves in a must win situation if they want to make a flight title run. Aguiluchos continue to struggle, scoring only 5 goals so far this season. The teams have met once already this season with San Jose winning 2-0. I expect a similar result for this match.
Georgia Revolution @ Colorado Rovers (USSSA): Georgia will travel to Denver to face the Colorado Rovers of the USSSA in a US Open Cup play-in game. The travel and altitude will certainly be factors in this match, but the Revolution proved last year they could hang with tough competition after a close 1-0 loss to NASL club Atlanta Silverbacks.
San Francisco Stompers v San Ramon Soccer: San Francisco has a bye week in NPSL play but will play a friendly against San Ramon Soccer. San Francisco is winless in league play, and a win in this friendly could be the confidence booster the club needs to take the next step.
Regals SCA v Houston Dutch Lions (PDL): The Houston Dutch Lions played the Houston Hurricanes to a 1-1 draw last week, and this week will take on Regals SCA in a friendly.
- The Electric City Shock (Scranton, PA) have announced exhibition friendlies against the Pocono Snow, FC Sonic, and Hershey Wildcats and hope to use these matches to build towards league membership in 2014.
- Orange County Pateadores kicked off the regular season with a victory over the Santa Clarita Storm thanks to a pair of second half goals. The win extends the Orange County streak to 5 straight (includes pre-season and non-league matches). Final Score: OC Pateadores 2 Santa Clarita Storm 0.
- Real San Jose made a statement with a 5-1 home win over the San Francisco Stompers and have put the Soccer Magic Cup all but out of reach. A win over the Sonoma Sol next weekend would solidify San Jose’s position at the top of the table. Final Score: Real San Jose 5 San Francisco Stompers 1.
- The Sacramento Gold dispatched league newcomer CD Aguiluchos USA 3-0. With the victory, the Gold move to 1-1 on the season while Aguiluchos was held scoreless for the second consecutive match. Final Score: Sacramento 3 CD Aguiluchos USA 0.
- The San Diego Flash took the first leg of the San Diego Derby over San Diego Boca by a 3-1 scoreline. After a scoreless first half, the Flash offense erupted with a 3 goal performance to put the match beyond Boca reach. Final Score: SD Flash 3 SD Boca 1.
- Open Cup bound FC Hasental drubbed Las Vegas Stallions FC 13-0. Reminiscent of the late Phoenix Monsoon, Las Vegas was reportedly only able to field a 10 man squad due to paperwork and player ineligibility issues. Final Score: FC Hasental 13 Las Vegas 0.
- The Rhode Island Reds fell 1-0 to Massachusetts Premier in the US Open Cup Region 1 USASA final.
- The Tampa Marauders took the first leg of the Gulf Coast Cup 2-0 over the Cape Coral Hurricanes in the Sunshine Conference. Final Score: Tampa Marauders 2 Cape Coral 0.