The road to the Jerry Zanelli Cup begins today for all 16 clubs participating in the 2019 WPSL Playoffs. For four of those teams their road begins in the Twin Cities at Reynolds Field with only the overall winner advancing to next weekend. Two matches will be played today opening with the North Conference Champion taking on the Red River Conference Champion Fortuna Tulsa. The second game this afternoon at 3:30 PM sees Mountain Conference Champion Utah Royals FC Reserves taking on Heartland Conference representative Fire & Ice SC. As a quick note the Heartland Conference was won by Elite Girls Academy of Omaha, NE but EGA did not participate in the playoffs which is why Fire & Ice is in their spot.
Opening up the weekend is the first Semi-Final between Fortuna Tulsa and Region host Salvo SC. Fortuna comes into the weekend with a 7-0-1 record and 22 points on the season in the North Division of the Red River Conference. Tulsa beat RRC South Division Champion AHFC Royals last weekend 4-1 to make it into the regionals. The only non-win on Tulsa’s sheet was a 2-2 draw in Oklahoma City nearly a month ago. Similar to Salvo’s performance Tulsa has outscored their opponents 21 goals scored to 7 goals allowed in 9 matches played.
Salvo comes into the playoffs having just secured their birth last week on the back of a tiebreaker over Mankato United SC and Maplebrook Fury. The 6-1-3 record and 21 points of Salvo is nothing to scoff at as they scored 29 goals and gave up only four in 10 matches. 2 of those four goals and their only loss came in the last regular season match against Mankato.
Utah Royals FC Reserves vs Fire & Ice
The second game today features Utah Royals FC Reserves (the reserve/amateur side of the NWSL’s Utah Royals) and Fire & Ice SC. Similar to Salvo and Fortuna of the previous match URFC Reserves had a fantastic record at 9-1-0 and outscored their opponents 33-4 in 10 matches. This is very close to how Chicago Red Stars Reserves performed last season in their runaway campaign to the North Conference Championship, the difference is URFC is in their first season.
Fire & Ice SC are the only non-champion participating in the playoffs due to Heartland Conference Champion Elite Girls Academy (Omaha, NE) not participating. They are the only team in the region with playoff experience with this being their third straight WPSL Playoff appearance. Fire & Ice however fell to CRS Reserves in last season’s Central Region tournament but with an 8-2-0 record and like the other three teams a huge goal differential URFC will have to watch out.
With tomorrow’s Minnesota United match not taking place until 7 PM you can easily catch more soccer by watching the WPSL tomorrow afternoon. The opening game is at 1 PM and second match at 3:30 PM both from Reynolds Field at University of Northwestern in St. Paul and on myCujoo TV.