Only one league game remains for FC Wichita, and the club has clinched an outright regular season conference championship, which earned us home field advantage throughout the conference playoffs. With the new National Premier Soccer League playoff format, the league rewards the most successful regular season teams with an opportunity to host in their city.
“It’s always one game at a time,” CEO Blake Shumaker said. “We wanted to bring playoffs to Wichita and and that’s exactly what we did. However, our job is not done yet! We badly need a win against Dallas City FC this weekend to be able to stay at the top of the national rankings, and potentially host playoff games beyond the conference playoffs. So we will prepare as usual for Saturday and look forward to celebrating the regular season conference championship with our fans after at Jerseys Grill & Bar. We need the 3 points tomorrow or that celebration won’t feel the same.”
The last time fans were able to celebrate a championship was in 2015. Shumaker refers to it as special in many ways. The team not only won the conference, they earned a birth in their city’s first Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, and witnessed Kevin Ten Eyck score the 2015 Staples Make More Happen Goal of the Year when he called his shot from over 70 yards away.
“That was a special moment for Wichita soccer,” Director of Operations Larry Inlow said. “We still talk about the atmosphere of that day and how great it was to celebrate with the fans. This team is aware of the expectations and is extremely focused coming down the stretch. Our goal right now is to clinch regional home field advantage tomorrow night!”
With the regular season coming to it’s final week, here is an in depth look at the Heartland Conference Playoff structure.
The top four teams in the Heartland advance to the Heartland Conference Semifinals on Wednesday, July 12. No. 1 seed hosts No. 4 and No. 2 seed hosts No. 3. The winners of the semis will face off on Saturday, July 15 with the highest remaining seed hosting. The winner of the Heartland Conference will play the winner of the Lone Star Conference on Saturday, July 22 in the South Region Semifinals, while the winners of the Southeast Conference and the Sunshine Conference will play each other in the other half of the region semis. The South Region host teams will be decided by the team with the most points per game average on the year. The current PPG average can be found in the NPSL power rankings.
July 12 – Heartland Conference Semifinals
July 15 – Heartland Conference Finals
July 22 – South Region Semifinals
July 29 – South Region Finals
August 5 – National Semifinals
August 12 – National Finals
Current match ups
No. 3 Dallas City FC at No. 1 FC Wichita
No. 2 Little Rock Rangers at No. 4 Tulsa Athletic
No. 3 Dallas City FC vs No. 5 Demize NPSL
#1 FC Wichita – 22 Points – 9 Games Played – 24 GF; 11 GA
Wichita has clinched first place with last Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Demize.
Remaining League Schedule:
vs Dallas City FC – Saturday, July 8 Purchase Tickets Online Now
#2 Little Rock Rangers – 16 Points – 9 Games Played – 15 GF; 11 GA
Little Rock has clinched a playoff spot. Last weekend the Rangers hosted Ozark and lost 1-2. Dallas City and Tulsa are both 3 points back, but Dallas City has a game in hand. Little Rock must win at Tulsa Saturday to have a chance to clinch the second seed, because Tulsa owns the tie breaker with a +8 goal differential.
at Tulsa Athletic – Saturday, July 8
#3 Dallas City FC – 13 Points – 8 Games Played – 14 GF; 10GA
Dallas City has clinched a playoff spot, but they just dropped their last match to Tulsa 0-1 after a heated ending. Dallas can clinch the #2 spot if they win out and Little Rock drops any points.
at FC Wichita – Saturday, July 8
at Demize NPSL – Sunday, July 9
#4 Tulsa Athletic – 13 Points – 9 Games Played – 22 GF; 14 GA
Tulsa has clinched a playoff spot, and could avoid a first round trip to Wichita with a win over Little Rock, where Tulsa holds the tie breaker against the Rangers on goal difference, and likely getting the advantage on goal differential over Dallas City should they lose one of their final two matches. Tulsa can still get second.
vs Little Rock Rangers – Saturday, July 8
#5 Demize NPSL – 10 Points – 9 Games Played – 13 GF; 18 GA
Demize sits outside of the playoffs picture, although they have one match remaining against Dallas City.
vs Dallas City – Sunday, July 9
#6 Ozark FC – 6 Points – 10 Games Played – 12 GF; 36 GA
Ozark is eliminated from playoff contention.