By Alice Broadbent
Sacramento, CA - On July 23 and 24, 16 teams played in the Divisional play-offs to advance into the final four National Championship.
The West Division play-offs were played at Bonney Field, Sacramento, hosted by Northern California champions, California Storm. The first game of the Semi-Final featured the Storm vs Pacific South champions, San Diego Sea Lions. Despite the early 10:30am Kick-off, the temperature of the game was a staggering 100degrees. The SeaLions managed to score two past the Storm in the first half of the game. The second half was goalless for both teams, resulting in a 2-0 victory for the SeaLions. The next semi-final shortly followed between Coastal Region champions, Beach futbol Club vs the North West winners, Seattle Sounders Women. An exciting first half concluded Sounders Advancing into the Divisional Final. The Sounders put away two goals in the first half and saved a Beach FC PK, ending the game with a 2-1 victory.
The West Division Final took place the following day at 3:00pm between Seattle Sounders and the San Diego SeaLions. The SeaLions took an early lead in the first half to put themselves ahead against the Sounders. But, the Sounders responded quickly with the equalizer. Just before the whistle blew for the first half, the Sounders netted a goal to make it 2-1. With only ten minutes remaining, the SeaLions tied the game, 2-2. Keeping the pressure on, the SeaLions continued to attack. Their energy paid off, just 4 minutes later they found the winning goal!
After a long weekend, the San Diego SeaLions earnt themselves a spot in the final four Championship.
Penn Fusion Soccer Academy, Tri-State Champions, hosted the Northeastern Championship at Penn Fusion Turf Field, West Chester, PA. The semifinal games featured top-seeded, New England Champion, Boston Breakers Reserves against Mid-Atlantic Champion, New York Athletic Club in the first fixture at 3:00 pm on Saturday, July 23. The final result finished in favor of the Boston Breakers Reserves, advancing into the final with a 3-0 victory. The second game to take place was between the hosts, Penn Fusion vs Washington Spirit Reserves. Washington managed to take an early lead and hold onto it for 90minutes, moving themselves into the final with a 3-1 win.
The battle for the Northeastern Championship was played between two highly talents teams, Boston Breakers Reserves vs Washington Spirit Reserves. The first half finished with the scoreboard reading 2-0 to the Washington Spirit Reserves. Although the Breakers managed to get one past the Spirit Reserves, they were unable to catch the lead. The game finished 3-1 to the Washington ladies, sending themselves to the final four championships.
The Central Division was hosted by Heartland champions, and defending National Champions, Chicago Red Star Reserves. They played the first leg of the semi-final play-offs against Valley regional winners, Dayton Dutch Lions. The Red Star Reserves made a strong impression, advancing to the final with a 4-0 victory. The next semi-final featured Great Lakes champions, Michigan Chill SC vs FC Dallas, Leaders of the Southwest. The first half finished 0-0, however, the second half was unable to commence until 2.5hours later, after a storm delay. 12mintues left in the game, FC Dallas put on away. After 4.5 hours, the final score stayed 1-0 to FC Dallas, putting them into the final against the Chicago Red Star Reserves the following day.
The final started on time in cloudy Chicago! A dramatic first half stoppage time goal put the CRS ahead. 4 minutes into the second half, the Red Star Reserves netted a second goal, shortly followed by a lightning delay. The remaining 40minutes of the game managed to commence without disturbance. A Chicago PK put them in the lead at 3-0. With 23 minutes left, FC Dallas finds the goal making it 3-1. Soon after, CRS scores an own goal making the score line a tight 3-2 with 21 minutes left on the clock. A tremendous effort by FC Dallas ties the game with 11 minutes 11, 3-3. The excitement didn’t finish there, just one minute later, CRS responded with the winning goal, making the final score 4-3 and earning a spot in the final four championships.
The South Division play-offs were hosted by Southeast regional champions, Atlanta Silverbacks in the warm state of Georgia. The Silverbacks played Lake Norman in the regional final on July 23. Just 14 minutes into the first half, the Silverbacks took the lead, 1-0. One minute later both teams incredibly found the net. Silverback clenched their second goal on the 15th minute, followed by Lake Norman’s first goal of the match on the 16th minute. The players left the field for half time with a 2-1 lead to the hosts. The second half saw no scoring action, resulting in a victory for the Atlanta Silverbacks who advance into the final four championship tournament.
Congratulations to all who competed in the WPSL Division play-offs, especially to the four teams who will now compete in the National Championship this upcoming weekend.
The National semi-final will take place on July 30th in Columbus, Ohio featuring:
Washington Spirit Reserves vs Chicago Red Star Reserves @2:00pm
Atlanta Silverbacks vs San Diego Sea Lions @4:30pm
The winners of each semi-final will advance into the National final on July 31st at 2:00pm.
The address for the National Championship;
Stadium is located at: 129 Center Street, Westerville, Ohio 43081
Good Luck to all competitors!