Med City vs Minneapolis City SC
The match that would genuinely decide who went to the NPSL Playoffs. If Med City lost it was all over for the Mayhem. And while the Crows were on the road they would do their best to make sure Med City left with no points. City’s Max Stiegwardt scored the matches only first half goal to give the visitors a lead just under 40 minutes in.
Aidan O’Driscoll added a second goal, the one proving to be the game winner for MPLS, in the 78th minute. Med City would not be shut out at home as the Mayhem’s Joshua Balsiger scored the season’s final goal for the team.
Duluth FC vs Sioux Falls Thunder
Kicking off shortly after the Med City/MPLS City match, Duluth hosted Sioux Falls and looked to gain vengeance for the loss the Thunder handed the BlueGreens earlier in the season. That vengeance wouldn’t come asap as while Dylan Sumner put Duluth on the board first the Thunder’s Stevenson Storm answered right back.
After 11 minutes without a goal Storm added a second, giving the BlueGreens a bit of a headache as they we’re trying to win their way into the NPSL Playoffs. Then in the 41st, Dylan Sumner earned himself a brace with the match tying goal.
From there it was all Duluth in the second half as Martin Grzywa, Sidney Warden, and James Westfield all added second half goals to bring the BlueGreens another win. The win itself was enough to give the BlueGreens a playoff berth but just prior to the match ending Duluth had secured a spot on the back of a Med City loss.
La Crosse Aris vs Dakota Fusion
Finally back in La Crosse, Aris hosted the Fusion in their endcap of the 2021 season. However it would not prove to be a points stealing performance for La Crosse as Dakota Fusion routed them. Diego Valle and Samuel Coxon each took home braces for the visiting Fusion at Logan High School.
The final standings for the 2021 NPSL season are in. Minneapolis City SC are your North Conference Champions, a title they claimed a few weeks ago. Duluth FC takes the second playoff spot, just 6 points back of the Crows. Med City finishes third and is the first team missing out on the playoffs at 9 points back.
Joy Athletic Club takes up fourth place in their first season in the league and conference. They finished 19 points back of the Crows and 16 points out of the playoffs. The big highlight for the Goats was defeating MPLS City in the second leg of the Twin Cities Derby.
In Fifth are Dakota Fusion who settle in at 21 points back from first. Sixth is taken up by the Sioux Falls Thunder at 24 points back from the top. The in last place and taking the Wooden Spoon is La Crosse Aris who went 0-3-9 logging just three points and scoring only 7 goals in 12 matches.
That brings us to the 2021 edition of the NPSL Playoffs. The playoffs open this week with the Midwest Region tournament. Minneapolis City (who have the highest PPG in the country) along with Great Lakes Conference champion Milwaukee Torrent get the first round byes. That leaves Carpathia FC (GL 2), Cleveland SC (RB 1), Duluth, FC (N 2), and Pittsburgh Hotspurs (RB 2) to play in the first round.
The Midwest Region does not have a seeded first round but rather does the first round on a geographic basis. Along with that the remaining #1 seed that did not get a bye is guaranteed a home match. This places Cleveland SC hosting Pittsburgh Hotspurs as one of the Quarter-Final/First Round matches. The second Quarter-Final/First Round match then sees the higher of the two seeds host the match. This places Duluth FC at home against Carpathia FC in the second match.
Both of these matches will be played on Tuesday night at 7 PM local time (6 PM CT for CLE/PIT) with the two winners advancing. The NPSL Midwest Regionals will then be held next weekend with the Semi-Finals on Friday the 23rd and the Final on Sunday the 25th. Following that the National Semi-Finals will be held on July 31st and the National Championship on August 7th.
This will be the final NPSL North Round Up on E Pluribus Loonum as Managing Editor Ashle Norling and Local Soccer Editor Tim Abbott will be leaving the site at the end of the season.
However local coverage will not be gone nor will the Round Up. Ashle and Tim have started a new project, Northern Lights Football, entirely dedicated to local soccer in the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes. You can visit lightsfootball.com and follow @Lights_Football on Twitter and Northern Lights Football on Facebook to continue to follow the same great coverage they’ve provided here at EPL over the last five years.
For all of our readers, fans, teams, colleagues, and media friends we thank you from the bottom of our hearts and hope you follow us over to NLF.
- Ashle Norling and Tim Abbott