Wind and Weathering - Day 1 at the USAFL Nationals

Treats from Oz

The wild winds of Texas swept swiftly and certainly on Saturday at the 2021 USAFL Nationals.

A cool and blustery day that turned calm and warm, and then windy again, brought with it the ascension of new challengers and old heroes within striking distance of October glory.

It was a day of big wins, big comebacks, and an upset or two.  And it sets us up for an exciting Championship Sunday at the Onion Creek Soccer Complex in Austin.

Here is a rundown of how each division played out on Day One, and what Day Two may hold in store for us.  There is also the remaining schedule and which games will be streamed on GoLive SportsCast.

 

Full Schedule and Results HERE
Full Standings HERE
Streaming Page on GoLive SportsCast HERE


MEN’S DIVISION 1:

The expected Austin-Denver Grand Final rematch has had a spanner thrown into it, thanks to the 2017 D1 premier Golden Gate Roos coming from behind to knock off the Doggies 32-27.  That gave the Gaters the top spot in Pool B, after both teams had accounted for San Diego in the first two matches of the day.

After falling to Austin in the tournament opener, the New York Magpies turned around and pulled a minor upset over Los Angeles, scoring a 55-33 decision over the Dragons.  The Crows would go on to clinch the top spot in the group after moving to 2-0 with their own 37-14 victory over L.A.

Thus, the Crows and Bulldogs will not play for the title, but rather in the first semifinal.  The winner of that match will face either the Dragons or Magpies in the last game of the weekend for the title.  Austin are looking for their fifth D1 flag in seven years, Denver for their ninth, and first since 2011.  New York is seeking their third in D1, and first since 2014, while Los Angeles is in search of their first.

REMAINING SCHEDULE
10am – Consolation: Los Angeles Dragons v San Diego Lions (on GoLive SportsCast)
11am – Semi-final #1: Austin Crows v Denver Bulldogs (on GoLive SportsCast)
Noon – Semi-final #2: Golden Gate Roos v New York Magpies (on GoLive SportsCast)
4:15pm – Men’s Division 1 Grand Final (on GoLive SportsCast)


WOMEN’S DIVISION:

Though she scores may not directly indicate it, all five games on Saturday were intense and hard fought, and the two mixed teams gave the full sides all they could handle in their clashes.  Denver and San Francisco went 2-0, with the Bulldogs defeating the Texas Heat and Orange County Giants, and the Maidens besting the Giants and DC Eagles. 

DC outlasted the Heat 20-13 in the last group match, with a Mariam Mehter soccer goal lifting the Eagles into the third spot, and forcing the Heat to play the Giants in a quarterfinal play in.  The winner of that gets the “reward” of playing the 6-time champion Denver Lady Bulldogs in one semifinal.  DC takes on the 4-time defending title holder San Francisco in the other semifinal.

REMAINING SCHEDULE
9am – Quarterfinal: Texas Heat v Orange County Giants (on GoLive SportsCast)
11am – Semifinal #1: San Francisco Iron Maidens v DC Eagles
Noon – Semifinal #2: Denver Bulldogs v 9am Winner
2pm – Consolation: 9am Loser v 11am Loser
3pm – Women’s Division Grand Final (on GoLive SportsCast)


MEN’S DIVISION 2

A (full) season after winning D3, the Boston Demons/Maine Cats combo are two wins away from going-back-to-back.  The Dees beat both Houston and top-seeded Seattle convincingly to go 2-0 on Saturday, and only need to beat 0-2 Baltimore to wrap up Pool A.  The combined 98-14 victories give the DemonCats a near insurmountable percentage lead, and should go throw unless the Dockers beat them heavily.

Pool B will be a straight virtual semifinal between the Orange County Giants and DC Eagles, after both teams turned aside the Dallas Dingoes and Sacramento Suns.

2pm – Men’s Division 2 Grand Final (on GoLive SportsCast)


MEN’S DIVISION 3

For the second time in as many Nationals, we had a draw.  Oklahoma and the Denver reserves played to a 33-33 draw.  Both teams are now 1-0-1, with Minnesota at 1-1 and North Texas 0-2.  Denver leads Oklahoma by 9% in Pool A, so if both teams win, it will come down to who wins bigger, as the Okies face the Devils and the Doggies battle the Freeze.  Minnesota has an outside chance to sneak into the final, but would need to beat Denver and hope first-year team North Texas upsets the Okies.

The Double Hawks conglomerate of Arizona and Philadelphia are the surprise toppers of Pool B, after squeaking by Columbus by four points and then routing top-seeded Austin’s reserves by 31 in game two.  They will play Chicago/Indy for a chance to advance.  A Swans/Giants win and a possible PowerFreeze win over Austin would throw it to the percent sign.

1pm – Men’s Division 3 Grand Final (on GoLive SportsCast)


MEN’S DIVISION 4

A plethora of cunning combinations made up the Division 4 matches, and on Sunday, it will be the Nashville Kangaroos/NTX reserves facing the Des Moines Roosters/DC Reserves side, in one semifinal, while North Carolina et al face off against the Las Vegas Gamblers/Denver Thirds team in the other semi.

1pm – Men’s Division 4 Grand Final

Photo: Jerry Long

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