After a crazy last few days in the National Premier Soccer League, the playoffs heat up this weekend as Detroit City FC hosts the Midwest Regional Playoffs.
After losing to Med City in the final week of the regular season, which killed the Crows chances of a bye and hosting rights. Minneapolis City SC hosted Med City FC on Tuesday night in the first of two Quarter-Final matches. Our own Colin O’Donnell was there and did a full recap you can read here, but in the end the Crows beat the Mayhem 2-1 to advance to Detroit,
In the other Quarter-Final AFC Ann Arbor hosted Rochester Lancers with the winner moving on to Detroit as well. Problems came almost immediately into that match however as it went into a rain delay in the 11th minute. The match eventually resumed to Half-Time where it was 0-0 but another weather delay happened just before it was to restart. It would start up again but was called for the night in the 69th minute on account of darkness. While that seems very weird but CUAA’s Cardinal Stadium (home of AFC Ann Arbor) doesn’t actually have lights and apparently floodlighting is not required by the NPSL for some reason. According to the home side Rochester refused for the game to be moved indoors to Total Sports Wixom in the middle of the match.
This cluster resulted in the league initially stating the match would be decided by a coin flip on Wednesday. Late on Wednesday the league backtracked and announced that Ann Arbor and Rochester Lancers would meet on Thursday in Erie, PA to finish the match. In the statement the NPSL said that if it went past the 21’ of play necessary to finish the match that two abbreviated 10’ extra time periods would be played before advancing to penalty kicks if necessary. That did become necessary and after a 1-1 draw through 110’ Rochester won 5-3 on PK’s.
This set up the Midwest Region Semi-Finals with Cleveland SC hosting Rochester Lancers at 3:30 at Keyworth Stadium followed up by hosts Detroit City FC taking on Minneapolis City SC playing at 6:30.
The opening match of the Midwest Region Semi-Finals is the third meeting this season between the top two teams of the East Conference. Cleveland won the conference with an 8-2-0 record and 24 points while Rochester finished second with a 6-2-2 record and 20 points on the season. The first meeting saw Cleveland dominate with a 4-0 win at home in Berea, OH. A week later in Rochester it was the Lancers who won 2-1 in their second meeting. Last season Cleveland lost to AFC Ann Arbor in this Regional Semi-Finals while this is the Lancers first trip to the NPSL Playoffs.
Finishing up the Semi-Finals on Friday night is the first ever meeting between the Le Rouge and the Crows as two of the more well known NPSL club face off. Detroit City returns to the playoffs after a one year absence after finishing 4th in their conference last season. Detroit has been as far as the National Semi-Finals, where they made it in 2017 losing to Midland-Odessa FC on penalties. Minneapolis City on the other hand return to the playoffs as back to back NPSL North Conference Champions. MPLS lost at this stage last season to Duluth FC, who went on to the National Semi-Finals before losing to Miami FC. Both clubs will focus on the playoffs and winning though maybe more so for the Minneapolis fans as a loss ends their season. Detroit on the other hand would go on a break of less than one month as they play their first Founders Cup match on August 10th at Miami FC.
The two winners of tonight’s matches will play again on Sunday at Noon for the NPSL Midwest Region Championship at Keyworth Stadium in Hamtramck, MI. The winner of that match then advances to the NPSL National Semi-Finals on July 27th. All matches tonight and on Sunday can be watched live at myCujoo.tv.