NPSL Round Up: Week 8/9

This Week


Cleveland SC 3-2 Erie Commodores

Twelve minutes into the game, Erie broke through after a free kick was deflected for a corner and the corner was headed home by Joe Gasper. It was 1-1 in the seventeenth minute as Janis Schmidt put his foot through a ball from over twenty yards out and laced it into the back of the net. Paul Katende tripped Julian Pellegrini and in the forty-third minute it was a Cleveland PK by Bojan Kolevski, for the lead.

Shota Toyama hammered a ball home from the top of the area off a corner to make it 2-2. Benjamin Hryszko made it 3-2 in the sixty-second minute, intercepting a ball on the edge of the area. With the win, Cleveland SC secured the third seed in the Great Lakes Conference.

FC Columbus 3-4 Carpathia FC

Carpathia’s Mohammed Hammoud virtually dribbled the ball into the net in the twelfth minute on the high press, to put his team ahead. The visitors made it 2-0 in the fortieth minute, as Marco Mazzei blasted a ball from the edge of the area, whilst nearly falling down. Rounding out the first half, a PK was awarded for Carpathia after Doug Hainer was stood on. Luke Morrell’s shot was saved but Morell himself snapped up the rebound.

The home side started the second half with a bang, Damani Camara lacing a shot into the net on the half volley to make it 3-1. Camara chipped the ball over the keeper on the run to make it 3-2 in the sixty-second minute. Columbus’s Yusuf Dabo hit the post in the 70th minute. Camara hit the crossbar in the eighty fifth minute, but still it remained a Carpathian lead. Hainer made it 4-2 in the eighty-seventh minute, capitalising on a searing run down the endline, crossed in by Alex DeMorow.  Matarr Sowe made it 4-3 in second half stoppage time.


Ehtar Belleville 1-1 Milwaukee Torrent

After a goal less first half, it was the hosts who struck first. David Cole laying the ball perfectly into the path of Brandon Nyagurungo to finish in the fifty-first minute. Torrent rescued a point in the fourth minute of second half stoppage time through Jonas Luskey Sanders’s bobbled shot through traffic from the top of the box into the bottom corner.

Steel City 3-2 Michigan Rangers

Three minutes into the game, Chris Mendez converted a right wing cross to put Michigan Rangers on top. Nathan Prex equalized in the eleventh minute, dribbling in from the left and slotting the ball past the keeper into the bottom right corner of the goal. Prex then hit the post in the fourteenth minute.

Anthony DiFalco put Steel City ahead in the sixtieth minute, firmly into the right corner of the goal while running away to the left. In the seventy-third minute, Tomas Echevarria equalized, placing the ball hard into the roof of the net.  Michigan Rangers’ Adam Hanson got two yellow cards in seventeen minutes and was dismissed in the seventy-seventh minute. Bryan Akongo put the home side back ahead, with a solo dribble and juke before slotting the ball home. Rangers’ Nicolas Baigrie received a straight red card for Serious Foul Play in the eighty-fifth minute, scything into a challenge in midfield and both he and Hanson will be suspended for the playoff match Rangers will play.   

Sunflower State FC 5-2 Iowa Raptors

Elyes Ellouz broke the deadlock in the seventh minute for Sunflower but the Raptors replied almost immediately, through Saiheed Jah.  Kolby Godbolt made it 2-1 to Raptors on the breakaway. Ellouz turned provider in the fifth minute of first half stoppage time, slotting the ball through to Kevin Hubbell.

Bryce Dickerson put Sunflower ahead in the seventy-fifth minute with a delicate chip from a pass after Prince Idornigie had tight-roped the left touchline. Ellouz made it 4-2 in the eighty-second minute. Two minutes later, Colin Innes scored a PK for Sunflower (at the second ask) after an agricultural challenge. The win vaults Sunflower ahead of Torrent in the race for the second place in the Gateway Conference Championship.

Dakota Fusion 8-2 Joy

Interesting scenario. Joy traveled to Moorhead with their black jerseys, but that was also the kit that Fusion were expecting to wear, so the operations staff for the home team scrambled to get an alternative kit on site. Such a scenario is not unheard of, but the stadium is in the middle of a building site and the floodlights are out of action so there was a hanging question mark over whether a) the game would be completed before sunset and b) if it would be called at sunset.

Fusion started the game on the front foot, including a couple of corners and a cross across the six yard box but no goal. Yu Tsukanome put the home side ahead in the twelfth minute, sweeping the ball home after a scramble in the six yard box. Fusion doubled the lead in the twenty-seventh minute, a neat passage of passes ended on the foot of Tsukanome via a Cai Pritchard run for him to tap home. Rashaad Ogun scored the third goal for the home side in the thirty-fifth minute, intercepting a misplayed square pass at the back and finishing past Edward Holmes.  Only a minute later, Pritchard to Tsukanome again for his hat trick.  Joy struck back immediately, Philip Caputo whipping a free kick from the left wing 20 yards out, inside the near post. Owen Salzwedel made it 4-2 in the forty-fifth minute, on a series of passes right down the gut of the Fusion defense. 

Joy began the second half in much better nick than the first, having chances on goal and more controlled possession in midfield but could not make further inroads. In the seventieth minute, Tsukanome hammered a shot at Holmes but the Joy goalkeeper was equal to it. In the seventy-seventh minute, Tsukanome took sole possession of the lead in the NPSL Golden Boot with his fourth goal of the game (and his fifteenth goal in ten games), connecting on a through pass. Tsukanome scored his fifth goal in the eighty-seventh minute, catching another defense splitting pass. Eddie Burgos made it 7-2 in the ninetieth minute, also connecting with a nice through pass. Brandon Gasper made it 8-2 less than a minute later. Thankfully, the daylight held out. 


Club Atletico St Louis 2-3 Milwaukee Torrent

The visitors started early, with Khedive Konde Gwo rocketing a ball into the net from a right wing corner with only five minutes on the clock. Torrent had a golden opportunity to make it two in the twenty-first minute but a shot from in close went sailing over the goal. Konde Gwo then made it two in the twenty-fifth minute, capitalising on a series of deflections to tap home from within the six yard box – with CASL calling in vain for offside. CASL had a goal called back in the fortieth minute.

In the sixty-fifth minute, Torrent went 3-0 ahead, Konde Gwo finishing from a right wing cross to collect his hat trick. It was 3-1 in the seventieth minute as Nedim Sarajlija blasted home from the edge of the area. Only three minutes later, the home side scored again, Zach Renz smashed the ball home from a corner. CASL were reduced to ten men in the eighty-seventh minute, as  Xavier Brown was dismissed for a denial of a goal scoring opportunity.  The result puts Torrent within one point of the second spot in the Gateway Conference Championship, but they were to face fellow challengers Sunflower State FC next, in what amounted to a play-in game.  See below for details of that match.

Med City FC 1-1 Duluth FC

After an intricate sequence of passes down the left by the hosts, it was Tristan Jumeau who laced one from just outside the area into the back of the net in the seventeenth minute.

The equalizer came from Conor Behan in the forty-ninth minute off a free kick six yards out on the left wing. A Med City free kick in the sixty-fifth minute struck the wall and the rebound from Scott Neil went flying past the outside of the far post.  Julio Rojo narrowly missed a headed chance to put the hosts back ahead in the eightieth minute. What were Duluth’s first dropped points of the entire season, could have been even more pronounced. In a strange sequence in the eighty-eighth minute, a PK was awarded to Med City – and then rescinded on consultation with the linesman –  but a red card was issued to Duluth FC’s Colin O’Mahony for abusive language.

Akron City FC 0-1 Carpathia FC

Francesco Mazzei provided the decisive blow, slotting into the side netting on the far post after a sequence of exchanges between Mazzei and his brother, Marco in the thirty-eighth minute.

Erie Commodores 3-0 FC Columbus

The Commodores announced that the game was canceled, and the league has it as a 3-0 win, so our best guess is that it has gone in the books as a Columbus forfeit.


Med City FC 3-0 Sioux Falls Thunder

Scott Neil rocketed home from just outside the penalty area in the twenty-fifth minute from a pull back by Tristan Jumeau to put the hosts ahead. Gio Soares set up a second Neil goal in the fortieth minute, placed into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.

Joshua Seyer received a straight red card in the fifty-fifth minute for the denial of a goalscoring opportunity. From the resultant free kick, Lucas Hart curled one over the wall and into the top corner of the goal to make it 3-0.

As well as a playoff date in Fargo-Moorhead on the 12th, Med City also have a Minnesota Super Cup semifinal at home on the 22nd.

Minnesota TwinStars 5-1 Aris

Aris went ahead through Ernesto Ascenzo in the twenty-fifth minute after a long ball down the left flank sprung the TwinStars offside trap, three minutes later TwinStars equalized as a series of close passes in the middle of the pitch culminated in Miguel Arellano finishing the chance. The home side went up 2-1 in the thirty-fifth minute when a cross from deep on the right was driven hard and low into the goal by Arellano. It was 3-1 in the fortieth minute as Sadra Golzarian finished off a move triggered by an interception of aimless passing by Aris twenty yards from their own goal.

A long ball up field bounced high off the turf in the fifty-fifth minute and Sidike Jabateh beat the goalkeeper to the spot and headed it home for his hat trick. Five minutes later, Aris scored again, a solo dribbling effort followed by a curled shot into the bottom right corner by Stan Cargill. In the seventy-first minute, it was 5-2 as an interception in midfield led Arellano on a run of his own, including a cheeky move around the keeper for his hat trick. The win seals TwinStars place in the playoffs, although they face the daunting task of a road trip to Duluth.

Sunflower State FC 0-4 Des Moines United

With Sunflower fighting for the only remaining spot in the Gateway Conference Championship, Evan Carlson dribbled across the top of the area and through a challenge from a defender before curling it beyond the Sunflower keeper Noah Reuscher, to put Des Moines in front in the eleventh minute. Sunflower had a period of possession around the half-hour mark and it gave them their first shot on goal in the twenty-ninth minute.

Jayce Berger set up Erich Legut in the fifty-first minute to make it 2-0, with a rocket from close range into the roof of the net. In the seventy-seventh minute, United’s Andre Lopes made it 3-0, also from close range after he connected with a long ball upfield. A neat sequence of passing lead to number four, scored by Kais Sabic. This defeat is immaterial to Sunflower’s playoff hopes, which hinged entirely on the game against Milwaukee Torrent (outlined below). Des Moines United secured their spot a while ago.

Friday 7/7

Carpathia FC 2-0 FC Columbus

A fifth minute PK was ordered for Carpathia after a Columbus defender clumsily ran into the back of a counterpart, and it was successfully taken by James Todd.

The lead was doubled by Joshua Rubin, finishing off a neat exchange of passes between the gridiron hashes in the fifty-first minute.

Cleveland SC 1-1 Steel City FC

Ryan Landry nailed a header from six yards out from a left wing cross in the thirty-ninth minute to put the division winners on top. Bojan Kolevski dribbled into position along the top of the penalty area and slotted the ball into the bottom left corner of the net for the equalizer in the fifty-first minute.  Pedro Alves in goal for Cleveland blocked an immediate effort by Steel City to reclaim the lead but that was the best chance either side had in the second half. The Pittsburghers have earned slightly more than a week of rest before the Great Lakes Conference Final on the 15th, whereas Cleveland will have to play on Wednesday the 12th and then again on Saturday.


Sunflower State FC 0-1 Milwaukee Torrent

Sunflower needed a win, but came away with a loss.

After a goal-less first half, Sunflower had a PK early in the second half to go ahead. Unfortunately for the hosts, it was well saved by the Torrent goalie Nick Chiappa. Torrent eventually gained the goal which would be insurance in the eightieth minute as Cole Stephens took advantage of a Sunflower team pushed high in search of their essential goal.

Duluth FC 4-1 Dakota Fusion

Duluth started quick. Rory Doyle scored a penalty earned by Tyler Limmer in the twelfth minute and made it 2-0 only two minutes later through Joshua Bellamy. Fusion scored three goals against the BlueGreens. Unfortunately, two of those goals were in their own net. Benjamin Colborn scored the only time they struck at the right end.  In the end, this match was academic in every sense but one: If the top seeds both win their semi-finals, this is the exact two opponents and venue that will host the North Conference championship on Saturday.

Minnesota TwinStars 0-2 Joy Athletic

An own goal in the sixty-third minute gave Joy a lead in this Twin Cities derby, and victory was sealed when Freddy Fernandez scored in the ninetieth minute.

Sioux Falls Thunder 1-1 Aris

Sioux Falls finished the first half leading thanks to a late goal by Lubos Polacko. Benjamin Pena scored the equalizer in the fifty-sixth minute.

Erie Commodores 1-1 Michigan Rangers

Michigan Rangers took the lead on a thirtieth minute Max Wilhelm PK after an attacker was clipped in the box. Erie found their equalizer in the seventy-second minute through Kaito Ueki but in the end it was a drawn game to end the Commodores’ season and send the Rangers back home for the playoffs.

Goalscoring Note

Dakota Fusion forward Yu Tsukanome has finished the regular season with 16 goals from 10 games NPSL North schedule, or 1.6 goals per game. This means he has won the Golden Boot as the regular season’s top goalscorer across all the entire league. This is the third time in three years that the Midwest has contributed the Golden Boot winner (2021 saw the award go to Duluth FC’s Sidney Warden, also with 16 goals, last year it went to Damani Camara of FC Columbus, with 15 goals).

Tsukanome is also in pole position for the Golden Ball, awarded to the best player overall. That award last went to someone in our region in 2017, when Jade Johnson (also of Dakota Fusion) won it with a Fusion-record 17 goals but a GPG of 1.3077, which meant he was pipped to the Golden Boot by 1 goal.

Coming Up – Playoffs:

(# = National ranking)


#1 Duluth FC v #51 Minnesota TwinStars

#12 Dakota Fusion v #28 Med City FC

Great Lakes

#20 Michigan Rangers v #36 Cleveland SC



#16 Tulsa Athletic v #61 Demize NPSL

#22 OKC 1889 v #48 Kansas City Sol

For more about these match-ups, go here.