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NPSL Midwest Region Round Up: First Round Playoffs

Tuesday night saw the opening of the 2021 NPSL Midwest Regional playoffs. Cleveland SC faced Pittsburgh Hotspurs while Duluth FC hosted Carpathia FC. The two matches could not have gone in more opposite directions. Cleveland dominated Hotspurs from start to finish in Berea, OH.

Vincent Bell’s fourth minute goal put CLE on track and Alec Nagucki added one just around the half hour mark. Thomas Beck and Smith Pepper would both add second half goals to give Cleveland a 4-0 win to send them to face FC Milwaukee Torrent.

Duluth FC vs Carpathia could not have been more opposite of that. The BlueGreens’ Jake Starling broke the match open with his 26′ goal before NPSL Golden Boot winner Sidney Warden added a 38′ goal to double their lead.

Things looked to be going well for Duluth but a bad foul inside the box sent Owen Smith to the spot where he gave Carpathia life in the 79′. That life propelled a huge change in momentum and three minutes later Smith added one more to end up forcing Extra Time. After no goals in either portion of ET the match came down to penalties.

Duluth would kick first, which usually gives that team an advantage. That advantage flipped heavily after missing their first shot. Carpathia then scored on theirs and held the lead the rest of the way. The visitors came back from down 2-0 to take the match 6-5 on penalties.

The host for the Regional Semi-Finals and Finals was then announced late Tuesday night after both matches were well finished.

Semi-Finals:

FC Milwaukee Torrent (GL 1) vs Cleveland SC (RB 1): 4 PM – Edor Nelson Field, Minneapolis, MN – YouTube

The first of the two matches being played in Minneapolis is the more intriguing of the two. 9-0-1 (27 points) Milwaukee Torrent match up with 8-2-0 (26 points) Cleveland SC. Both sides have been lights out during the regular season having a combined one loss. Torrent will very much have the advantage of rest with their last match having been played on July 17th.

Cleveland on the other hand just played on Tuesday and has a had a much longer trip to MPLS for the Regional Playoffs. Neither side really outmatches the other in their attack or defence making the first Semi-Final a great match to watch.

Minneapolis City SC (N 1) vs Carpathia FC (GL 2): 7:00 PM – Edor Nelson Field, Minneapolis, MN – YouTube

The second of the two matches has a huge possibility of being a massive blowout. Not only are the Crows, who have a single loss on the season, at home but they are also very high scoring. In fact Minneapolis City SC is the highest scoring team in the entire league. Facing a team averaging just under four goals per game Carpathia will have a challenge on their hands.

However Carpathia FC is giving up just 1.36 goals per match, showing how stout their defence is in a tough Great Lakes Conference. But in terms of scoring they will have a massive uphill battle against one of the best defences in the league and an All-Conference goalkeeper.

Ashle Norling
Co-Founder of Northern Lights Football. LGBTQ, also managing editor for E Pluribus Loonum.
http://www.lightsfootball.com

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