NPSL Weekly: Top Jerseys of the League

Playoff picture emerges as the best jerseys are selected
by Daniel Casey   |   Friday, June 28, 2013

NPSL Weekly – column on the NPSL and the league's clubs, players and owners

The playoff format is set for the league and we know where teams will travel and who they will square off against in mid-July. Each conference will have its own set up. We will know the NPSL champions from each conference and the Final Four for the national championship by July 22.

The South

The South Conference will see the flight winners play each other matching up based on regular season points. The semi-final doubleheader will be on July 12 and the conference Final on July 14.

As it stands right now, the Mid-Atlantic Flight would be won by RVA FC; the South Central Flight by the Tulsa Athletics; the South East Flight by Chattanooga FC; and the Sunshine Flight by Jacksonville United

However not everything is set in stone. While Tulsa and Jacksonville will most likely advance, Chattanooga and RVA FC are not locks. In the South East, Gulf Coast Texans are one point behind Chattanooga. Gulf Coast must continue to win in order to put keep the pressure on Chattanooga.

Myrtle Beach Mutiny are also only one point behind RVA FC, but RVA FC does have 2 games in hand. This Friday the teams will face each other and this match will tip the scale one way or the other.

The Northeast

In the Northeast Conference, the Keystone Flight winner will face the second place team from the Atlantic Flight, and the Atlantic Flight winner will face the number two from the Keystone on July 17. The Northeast Final will be on July 21 with the top seed hosting.

Currently, New York Red Bulls U23 and Greater Binghamton FC are the Flight winners and the Brooklyn Italians and Junior Lone Star FC are the 2nd place teams.

While it’s a good bet that Red Bulls and Binghamton will hold on to their top spots, the 2nd place finishers are in a more precarious state. In the Keystone Flight, Hershey FC, Clarkstown SC Eagles, FC Lehigh Valley United Sonic and Junior Lone Star FC are all within a point of each other.

FC LVU Sonic are the hottest team in the flight right now followed by Clarkstown, whereas Hershey FC seem to be fading fast while Junior Lone Star has been remarkably inconsistent. FC LVU Sonic look poised to break away from the pack this weekend.

The Midwest

For the Midwest Conference things get a bit lopsided. The Great Lakes Flight will take its top four teams and have them play a mini-playoff for the flight title. First place will play the No. 4 seed and 2nd place will play the No. 3 seed in the July 12 semi-final, the winner to face each other on July 14 to determine the Flight winner. That Great Lakes Flight winner will travel to the Central Flight winner on July 19 or 20.

The only simple thing about this playoff structure is that it looks like all the Quad City Eagles have to do is coast and they’ll be in. The Milwaukee Bavarians could pressure Quad City, but they would need to take at least seven points from their remaining 4 matches while hoping that Quad City manages no more than 3 points. It’s unlikely.

Meanwhile, the most dominate team in the league, Detroit City FC, will have to engage in a mini-playoff. Detroit beat FC Buffalo last week to give it a 3-point lead over them.

The Flight winner might come down to who wins the final regular season match, which is against between the 2 only this time in Buffalo. The only real question in the Great Lakes Flight right now is: Will AFC Cleveland or FC Sparta Michigan secure the last playoff spot? Given the horrific run that Sparta have been on (winless over 5 games, having surrendered 14 goals), I have to feel Cleveland will get it. Regardless, I would be shocked if Detroit didn’t come out of this Flight to face Quad City.

The West

Finally, in the West Conference, the winner of the Northern Flight will host the 2nd place finisher out of the Southern Flight, and the winner of the Southern Flight will host the No. 2 seed from the Northern on July 13. The West Conference Regional Final will be on July 20.

Sonoma County Sol has all but clinched the Northern Flight. Things in the Southern Flight have gotten a bit weird.

Last week the Orange County Pateadores announced that they were folding as an organization and forfeiting their remaining games. For a team that was in playoff contention, this was a shock. Unfortunately, the team ran into constant issues with securing a regular home field venue. This news automatically gives 3-0 victories to FC Santa Clarita, San Diego Boca and FC Hasental.

Although it was a safe bet that Hasental was going to win the flight, Santa Clarita is in the fight with San Diego Flash for the remaining playoff spot. Santa Clarita now has a 2-point edge on the Flash and the last playoff spot may very well come down to the last match of the regular season next week between the 2 sides.

Top 5 Jerseys in NPSL

So as the top teams in the league prepare for playoffs or jostle for the best playoff position, I think it’s time we look at some other aspects of the league. This week, I present to you what I believe are the best looking jerseys across the league. As always, I’m open to suggestions. If you’re club didn’t make the list, don’t worry for I’ll be doing a best crests/badges of the league next week.

1. Tulsa Athletics Home & Away

NPSL, FC Tulsa - Courtesy FC Tulsa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Garish, sure, I am a sucker for kits that buck convention. Plus, as someone raised in Wisconsin I favor green and gold.

2. Detroit City Home & Away

NPSL, Detroit City FC - Courtesty Detroit City FC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perhaps the biggest club in the NPSL has what is arguably the classiest kit. The two-tone maroon of Les Rouges home jersey looks slick and the true gold, white, and maroon bar of the away takes a usually dull design and invigorates it.

3. Myrtle Beach Mutiny Home & Away

NPSL, Myrtle Beach Mutiny - Courtesy Myrtle Beach Mutiny

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Myrtle Beach, as I have said before, are an all-or-nothing team, so why shouldn’t it be embodied in their jerseys as well? The home kit is legitimately cool looking even if it may be a bit conservative. The away kit is the kind of painful color that only Florida can provide.

4. RVA FC Home & Away

NPSL, FC Tulsa - Courtesy FC Tulsa

I struggled with RVA FC’s kit. On the one hand, it is a unique look incorporating the crest’s star (which reflects the status of Richmond, VA where the team plays as the state capital). On the other hand, this kit looks like a solid mid-90s MLS jersey; we should all recall how horrifically ugly those designs were. However, they won me over because they look good on the players in action.

5. Sonoma County Sol Home & Away

NPSL, Sonoma County - Courtesy Sonoma County

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This might get the most grumbles. I am an advocate of kits that I can just wear as a normal shirt, subtly expressing my support of a club. To that end, the Sonoma County Sol has perhaps the best jerseys for that. Thin horizontal stripes will always win me over.

Predictions: Last week I went 15-15, turning my season record to 83-97. As it stand right now, I’ll be lucky to call a .500 season.

Northwest Conference:

Clarkstown SC Eagles vs Junior Lone Star FC; Brooklyn Italians vs Rhode Island Reds; Greater Binghamton Futbol Club vs Hershey FC; FC Reading Revolution vs Morris County Colonials; Pocono Snow Soccer Club vs FC Lehigh Valley United Sonic; New York Athletic Club vs Rhode Island Reds

South Conference:

RVA Football Club vs Myrtle Beach Mutiny; Mississippi Storm vs Knoxville Force; Tampa Marauders FC vs Jacksonville United FC; Tulsa Athletics vs Houston Hurricanes (draw); Chesterfield United FC vs D.C. United U23 NPSL (draw); Liverpool Warriors vs Houston Regals SCA; Gulfcoast Texans vs Rocket City United; Chattanooga FC vs New Orleans Jesters; Georgia Revolution vs Cape Coral Hurricanes; Tulsa Athletics vs Houston Hurricanes; Liverpool Warriors vs Houston Regals SCA

Midwest Conference:

Madison 56ers vs Milwaukee Bavarians; Erie Admirals vs Zanesville Athletic FC; Minnesota Twin Stars vs Eau Claire Aris FC; FC Buffalo vs Erie Admirals; Zanesville Athletic FC vs Detroit City FC; FC Sparta Michigan vs AFC Cleveland

West Conference:

San Francisco Stompers vs Sonoma County Sol; Futbol Club Santa Clarita vs FC Hasental; Las Vegas Stallions FC vs San Diego Flash; Real San Jose vs Sacramento Gold

Rankings: My first attempt at Power Rankings for the league lead to some fun exchanges via social media. As I came up with my rankings, the league put out its own Top 20 (of which I contributed). So now I give you my updated Power Rankings:

1. Detroit City FC
2. Sonoma County Sol
3. Chattanooga FC
4. FC Hasental
5. Quad City Eagles
6. Tulsa Athletics
7. FC Buffalo
8. Gulf Coast Texans
9. Greater Binghamton FC
10. Jacksonville United

Daniel CASEY

Nationality:
USA
College:
Carthage College Univ. of Notre Dame
Club Domestic:
Chicago Fire & Minnesota Stars
Club Foreign:
Manchester United
Founder/editor of the literary magazine Gently Read Literature, active but barely read poet and literary critic, and an occasional English professor. Never got to play soccer until his mid-30s, so he is routinely schooled by U10 crowd at pick-up games.
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