NorCal NPL Fall Showcase Preview: U19 Boys
NPL 1 EAST PREVIEW
While all but one of the NPL 1 East Champions League spots has been accounted for in a league that has seen relatively little parity, there’s still much for teams to play for heading into the final weekend of the season. Regardless of the results from other match-ups, 7-0-0 Diablo FC (21 points) can clinch the title if they garner a total of four points from their weekend contests against ninth-place San Juan SC Lightning (3 points) and third-place Sacramento United (18 points). The latter match could serve as a de-facto championship game should United claim all three points in their Saturday bout against second-place Impact (18 points), who round out the trio of squads already qualified for the Champions League and still in contention for the title. Meanwhile, three teams can still book their Champions League spot with Mustang SC Barcelona (12 points) the favorite as they can make it with just a single victory in their Sunday match against fifth-place Placer United (10 points). Davis Legacy Red (7 points) still have a glimmer of hope, but will need a pair of victories, Mustang to lose both of their games, Placer to fall to California Odyssey South (6 points) and make up a seven-goal difference in the process. With only four points separating sixth place from 10th, this weekend looks to bring competition on the bottom side of the table also as the majority of teams still posses scenarios that could see them qualify for any of the NPL 1, NPL 2, or NPL 3 spring leagues.
NPL 1 WEST PREVIEW
With 17 points each, Force and Marin FC enter the weekend as heavy favorites for the fall title, but have yet to actually clinch a spot in the Champions League due to a slew of teams contending near the top of the NPL 1 West table. One of the two sides will come home with the championship when they face off Sunday unless CV San Jose FC Gunners and/or Palo Alto SC (both 13 points) win both of their games and both Force and Marin lose Saturday and draw Sunday. Force and Marin will book spots in the Champions League with a single point over the course of the weekend, while San Jose and Palo Alto can ensure their progress with six and four points, respectively. Fifth-place Santa Clara Sporting (11 points) are the only other squad in contention for the Champions League but with no matches against teams in the top four, they don’t control their own destiny.
NPL 2 EAST PREVIEW
As the only men’s division that is already wrapped up, the pair of matches for first-place California Odyssey (19 points) will be played for purely to catch the interest of the attending coaches. But there’s still much to play for for the remaining five teams in the league as no one has yet assured their status in either the NPL 1 or NPL 2 at this point. Second-place Heritage (12 points) require just a pair of draws for NPL 1 qualification. With just five points separating Heritage with last-place Diablo FC (7 points), the action will remain competitive through Sunday’s final whistle.
NPL 2 WEST PREVIEW
Though they technically haven’t clinched the spot yet, only a collapse of epic proportions would see Santa Clara Sporting GR miss out on the NPL 2 West league title and therefore an NPL 1 berth in the spring. Undefeated Sporting enter the weekend with 17 points, needing just two points to claim the title. With a five-point cushion over second and third-place MVLA Sao Paulo Blue and Walnut Creek Blue, Sporting could conceivably win the title without even garnering points in its weekend matches against ninth-place Castro Valley SC CVSC United Green (4 points) or last-place Atletico Santa Rosa Inter (0 points). While those three sides represent the top and bottom parts of the tables, the rest of the weekend should come to down to the final whistle as the difference between second and eighth place currently stands at just two points.