Staff predictions: NPSL semifinals

NPSL semifinals

NPSL semifinals bracket | Image credit: NPSL

Four clubs will take the pitch Saturday in the NPSL national semifinals, two of which will punch their tickets to the final. CD Aguiluchos USA visits the Elm City Express in the first semifinal at 7 p.m. ET, while Detroit City FC hosts Midland-Odessa FC in the other with kickoff set for 7:30.

We checked in with our contributors to get their predictions for the semifinals:

Kevin Johnston | managing editor
Picks: Elm City Express and Midland-Odessa FC
Defense will make all the difference at Yale’s Reese Stadium. Elm City only allowed five goals total in the 12-game NPSL Atlantic Blue division season. CD Aguiluchos USA’s less-staunch defense, which conceded 1.75 goals per match, will likely be its undoing. And despite winning the NPSL Golden Gate division, CD Aguiluchos USA finished with a pedestrian +5 goal differential compared to the Express’ impressive +22. Midland-Odessa FC scored twice as many goals as it gave up — 24 to 12 — across the 10-match NPSL Lone Star division slate, earning the club “live dog” status for the semis. Detroit City has been in fine playoff form, but Midland-Odessa appears to have the recipe for grinding out close, low-scoring results after putting away its first four playoff opponents by scores of 3-1, 2-1, 1-0 and 1-0.

Nipun Chopra | staff writer
Picks: Elm City Express and Detroit City FC
I’ll take Detroit City for the home support and good mix of experience and youth. I’ll pick Elm City in the other, though I base this on no concrete knowledge.

Frank Dell’Apa | contributor
Picks: Elm City Express and Detroit City FC
Elm City is in its first season in NPSL, but has veteran players who are used to competing in elimination situations. The Express should be able to capitalize on home field advantage. Impressive home support gives Detroit City an edge. Stats indicate Detroit City has several attacking threats (17 players have scored goals this season), so that can be a sign of a team playing with great confidence.

John Lenard | contributor
Picks: Elm City Express and Detroit City FC
I’ll take Detroit City over Midland-Odessa, but in extra time. Midland/Odessa are a tough team, but City have home field advantage. Final score 3-2. I’ll also take Elm City Express over CD Aguiluchos. Elm City have a strong logo game, while CDA are clipartacular. Also, Elm City is better at soccer this year. Final score 3-1.

Jeff Kuhns | contributor
Picks: Elm City Express and Detroit City FC
I am taking Elm City and Detroit City. Both are home teams, with good runs, and quite honestly, California to Connecticut and Texas to Michigan are long treks for players not used to the distance.

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