Detroit City FC’s title chances are solely in their own hands, but they’ll need some help from the Madison 56ers or the Milwaukee Bavarians if they want to host rest of the playoffs at Cass Tech.
Basically, what it comes down to is whether or not a team from Iowa is four goals better than two teams from Wisconsin.
While Detroit City FC works its way through the NPSL Great Lakes conference tournament this weekend, they’ll have one eye on the final regular season matches in the Midwest Division’s Central Conference.
Assuming, and this is a big assumption, that City wins the tournament, their opponent in the division championship game will be the only other (as of now) undefeated team in the NPSL — Quad City Eagles (Bettendorf, Iowa).
The Eagles (9-1-0) have their final two regular season matches this weekend in Wisconsin and with two wins, have a very good chance of overtaking City on goal differential, which is the tie breaker that determines who hosts playoff games.
First, of course, City has to get through the Great Lakes conference tournament, which is going to be a tough task in itself.
Le Rouge play AFC Cleveland — the only team to take a point off of DCFC after a draw in Cleveland last weekend — at 5 p.m. Saturday. Should they win, they’ll play the winner of FC Buffalo and Erie Admirals on Sunday.
The winner of that tournament will move on to the division championship game, where they will take on Central division winner Quad City Eagles. If City comes out of the weekend victorious, there’s still a big question of where the game will be played.
City is 11-1-0, having tied AFC Cleveland July 5. Quad City Eagles are 9-1-0 with two more games (Madison on Saturday, Milwaukee on Sunday) this weekend. The Central Division does not play a postseason tournament, so the team at the top of the table at the end of the regular season is declared the winner. No other Central Division teams can catch Quad City, so in spite of them not yet finishing their regular season schedule, they’ve got the a trip to the postseason locked up.
Now this is where it gets sticky.
In the NPSL the top-ranked team hosts the playoffs, and at the moment Quad City has just one tie, no losses and two games in hand. Detroit City is ahead on points at the moment, but Quad City Eagles have two games in hand. Should both teams end up with just one tie, we’ll have to go to the tie-breakers, which according to the NPSL rules, say it will come down to who has put the ball in the net the most:
3.19 Tie-Breakers. The following tie-breakers will be used for resolving ties between MDL Teams in determining the Regular Season Standings, in the following order:
- Most Points
- If Two Teams are tied, head to head. If more than Two Teams are tied, this tiebreaker shall not apply.
- Goal Difference
- Goals For
- Goals Against
- Coin Toss There shall be no cap on goal difference in any MDL Competition
Le Rouge’s goal differential is 27 and Quad City Eagles are at 23. So according to the NPSL rules, if QCE wins both games and outscores their opponents by more than five goals, they will host the division championship. If they beat their opponents by more than four goals, they will still host the division championship game because they will own the next tie breaker (goals for.)
So basically, DCFC needs Quad City Eagles to lose, tie or beat their opponents by no more than three goals in total (provided City makes it that far in the first place.)
QCE beat Milwaukee 3-0 and 2-1 this season. They also beat and drew with Madison (4-2, 0-0), so them being held to a three goal difference coming out of this weekend isn’t beyond the realm of imagination, but the dream of having home field advantage for the Midwest Division championship game is starting to look grim.
Got all that? If not, here’s the tl;dr version:
To move on in the NPSL playoffs, Detroit City first needs to win both games this weekend at the Great Lakes conference tournament, which will be played at Cass Tech.
Should DCFC win, they will host the Quad City Eagles in the Midwest Division championship game if one of the following to happen to QCE this weekend:
- Loss against either Madison 56ers or Milwaukee Bavarians
- Draw with either Madison 56ers or Milwaukee Bavarians
- QCE beat both Madison and Milwaukee by three goals or fewer in total
If DCFC wins and the following happens, Le Rouge will play in the division championship game at Quad City Eagles:
- QCE beats Madison and Milwaukee by five or more goals in total (they win first tie breaker, which is goal difference)
- QCE beats Madison and Milwaukee by four goals in total (they win second tie breaker, which is goals for)
All that’s really important here is that Detroit City FC takes care of business this weekend at home. It would be nice for Le Rouge to have the home field advantage throughout, but City has proven that they’re just as dangerous on the road as they are at Cass, so as long as they don’t falter this weekend, the chances of DCFC bringing an NPSL title home look good.
Tickets for the Great Lakes conference tournament are still available on the Detroit City site. Get your tickets here.