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smlwld stans: Steel City Super Cup

This post is sponsored by Offside Marketing!

It’s also eligible for the gigantic grassroots grammar challenge!

smallworld is sponsoring a tournament, y’all!

The Steel City Super Cup is coming to Pittsburgh, PA this weekend, and smallworld has been following it for a while now.

It’s exciting to finally see some great amateur talent from a variety of states take the field!

And when I say “great amateur talent”, I really mean great.

Eight quality teams make up this two-day event, and every one of them is capable of taking the crown.

I’ll have predictions, of course, but it’s a pretty tough one to predict.

And before we do any predicting, we have to stan some people!

So let’s take a look at the two groups of four in this tournament.

Group A is probably the group of death, and all four teams are on pretty level terms in my opinion.

Steel FC, the hosts and GPSL members, are joined by Midwest Premier League standout Livonia City FC, NNK FC of the Commonwealth Soccer League, and a grassroots side with a lot of international flavor in DC de Districtonia!

For those who don’t know, Steel FC are quickly on the rise in lower-league circles both on and off the pitch. They’re a truly blue-collar club in a truly blue-collar city, and they’re a perfect team to host an amateur tournament like this. They’ll be a scrappy bunch that can hang with anybody, and they’ve proven an ability to get results in their local league in Pittsburgh.

Livonia City will be the most recognized name on this list, and for good reason. From their branding to their on-field play to their community involvement, they’re a top quality organization. They’re a cornerstone member of the new Midwest PL, and they’ve been heavily involved in friendlies this summer. They’ve played the likes of Cincy Dutch Lions, the Louisville City U23s, and even pro side Michigan Stars. They came away with a win, a draw, and a loss across those three games, and only lost to the Stars by two goals. They’ll be a tough out for anybody, if for no other reason than their recent playing experience against quality opposition.

NNK are named for the Northern Neck region in Virginia they represent. They play at what’s probably the lowest level in this grouping, but that says more about the other leagues’ quality than a lack thereof in the Commonwealth. They’ll be bolstered by their positive results against some quality local opposition, especially their 0-0 draw against Districtonia. That proves they can hang with any team in this group, so it’ll come down to how they perform when the tournament rolls around!

You’ll be hearing more about Districtonia from smallworld fairly soon, but for now, suffice it to say that they’re a fantastic club. As previously mentioned, they drew with NNK earlier this month, and that was away from home. They’ll be hungry for silverware as always, and also hungry to avenge a loss in their most recent friendly. 5-1 against Virginia Beach United is respectable, but they’ll be looking to go back to winning ways when the Super Cup gets under way.

Meanwhile, Group B isn’t too shabby, either!

Inter Detroit of UPSL and NPSL’s Pittsburgh Hotspurs highlight a group that also includes an intriguing side out of West Virginia called Appalachia FC as well as a late addition in Lacomarca Arsenal.

Inter Detroit are the club smallworld knows the most about here. They’ve got a fun flair on socials, have delivered quality results within the Michigan Premier Soccer League and in friendlies, and are proving their ambition with a recent expansion to the UPSL. They’re a team worthy of a national league, and they’ll have a chance to prove it far from home in the Super Cup.

Their fellow national league members in Pittsburgh Hotspurs are less known on socials, but are also relatively new to national soccer. They expanded to NPSL in 2019, and held their ground, picking up a win and two draws in a tough conference. They’ll be the team that’s faced the most quality opposition, and that’s going to go a long way in a group where no one else has faced a full season of NPSL-level clubs,

To be honest, I know very little about AFC and Lacomarca. AFC represents the state of West Virginia, which is very exciting to me given the lack of local clubs there. I’m hoping they can pull an upset and find their way into the top two in this group, but I don’t find it likely. Not knowing anything about Lacomarca, I have to assume they aren’t particularly experienced playing top-level opposition, but that’s not to say they won’t compete closely for this. It’s a top-heavy group to be in, but both groups are wide open for whoever decides it’s theirs for taking on the day.

With all this being said, smallworld has decided to stan Inter Detroit from Group B (we did record a podcast with them, after all) and NNK from Group A. We’ll also stan Steel FC, of course, but we felt we needed another from their group since they’re automatically stanned as the hosts.

If we’re going to stan these three teams, then we have to know what to expect from them. I got in contact with Inter Detroit, and here’s what I got back:

We have a core group of our UPSL Side with some reserve players making the trip. So it’s hard to say [which players are key] because everyone can ball!

Inter Detroit

That UPSL core is going to have to show out, because that’s what I expect to be the difference between Inter and the rest of the group. As far as scouting their opponents goes, they’re in the dark just as much as I am!

We don’t know… about the teams, but we do know that each team’s got something to prove and are anxious to play and even more anxious for some hardware!

Inter Detroit

That’s all you need to know, I suppose. All four clubs will be fighting hard for that cup, so they’ll all have to put in a full weekend’s work to get it!

Meanwhile, NNK has a lot of starpower to show off! They were quick to mention some players who could shine in a showcase like this.

Kelvonte (Tae) Ellis, our striker, is a big target for us up top, a very physical player. Sigifredo (Ziggy) Luna is a CM, another physical body who creates space and feeds our attack. Dayton Combs, our goalkeeper, is the last line of defense and is fully capable of pulling off some amazing saves.

NNK FC

This will be a new experience for some of our players but we have a good core group that has been with the club a good while and expect them to lead us thru these matches.

NNK FC

Sounds like the club has a great mix of seasoned veterans of the team as well as some fresh blood that can provide much-needed energy for a weekend that could include as many as five matches.

They’re also mentally in a pretty strong place. They did nothing to reserve their respect for each team in their group.

We are looking forward to some hard fought matches with some quality sides. Having played Districtonia a couple weeks ago, we know they are a very talented team and a tough draw. With that being said, we expect nothing less of Steel FC and Livonia City: one representing their home turf and the other isn’t driving long hours for the scenic Pennsylvania country side.

NNK FC

I mean, I personally would consider driving just for that scenery, but the point stands. Livonia came to play, and they’re a long way out from Pittsburgh.

All that to say, NNK really makes me feel good about their chances with these responses. They’ve got intentions of winning this thing, but aren’t passing any of their three group opponents off.

Then, of course, we have the hosts, Steel FC themselves. Brian Luchini, the manager at Steel and organizer of this entire event, decided he’d try and take advantage of the lack of opportunity for amateur competition.

I created the Steel City Super Cup because, through Twitter, I noticed a lot of teams were having their seasons cancelled due to COVID-19. I wanted to be able to offer these teams, and any other team, the chance to at least play some competitive soccer regardless if their league was cancelled.

Brian Luchini, Steel FC manager

When it comes to what he expects from his side, he pointed to one place in particular: the midfield.

If I had to choose who to watch it would be our midfield. We added a few additions over the past year and players are really starting to build chemistry. Because of our midfield, our forwards have been successful. Pressure has been taken off the back line when the midfield can maintain the majority of possession.

Brian Luchini

That’s going to be a big piece of the puzzle in a tournament where not many of the clubs know each other. Brian’s side focusing on winning the possession battle will definitely be an advantage if they can execute it!

Even Brian himself isn’t quite sure what to expect from all of his opponents, but he’s gearing up for a competitive group.

I believe NNK FC and Deportivo Club de Districtonia are familiar with each as they play each other every now and then but as far as what I know about them, there is little. I expect a great showing by both those clubs though.

Brian

Livonia City is a different story. We both made a decent run in the Open Cup in 2019 and actually planned a scrimmage back in March before COVID took over. Because of the pandemic the game was called off and it must be destiny that we drew them for the first game in our group. They are sound competition and we are looking forward to hosting them!

Brian

That should be one of the most exciting matchups across both groups in the group stage! It’ll get the day started at the bright and early time of 10 AM Eastern time, and it’ll be available for live streaming on MyCujoo, just like every other match of the weekend!

But why should you watch this when so much soccer has recently come back to play? Well, it’s a pretty special opportunity for all of these clubs to get a bit of spotlight as amateur clubs and really test their ability against opponents they don’t normally face.

Also, they’re super excited about it:

The club has enjoyed friendlies in several different states and since we have never played in Pennsylvania we thought it would be a great opportunity for us. How can you turn down a chance to play not 1 but 3 quality sides in one day!

NNK FC

We play 90% of our games vs teams only in the Pittsburgh area so it will be great to compete against teams from VA, DC, MI, WV, etc and see how we really stack up on a regional level.

Steel FC

We saw what Steel FC was doing in their region and community and we liked the idea of visiting them for a match. We’re very excited to take part in a tournament with multiple leagues involved.

Inter Detroit

All that to say, you’re really going to want to watch this tournament and keep up with the results. It’s quality amateur soccer on offer, and a unique chance to see the quality levels of national leagues compared to some prominent local leagues.

So what are smallworld’s official predictions?

From Group A, here’s what we predict the table to look like:

  1. NNK FC
  2. Livonia City
  3. Steel FC
  4. Districtonia

It’s really near-impossible to decide here. I really liked NNK’s answers to my questions, so I’ll go with them, and I just think too highly of Livonia’s overall club to bet against them here. Steel will definitely be in contention, and Districtonia could finish in first just as easily as fourth. It’ll be a heck of a day in Group A!

On the other side of the cup, here’s how I see the Group B table ending up:

  1. Inter Detroit
  2. Pittsburgh Hotspurs
  3. Appalachia FC
  4. Lacomarca Arsenal

This is a tough one to call between Inter and Hotspurs, but let’s stick with the known entity here. I don’t see as much competition coming from the other two clubs, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see them hold their own.

That would make the following the semifinal lineup:

NNK vs Hotspurs

Livonia City vs Inter Detroit

I’ll take NNK over the Hotspurs in a really tight battle (maybe even penalties!), and then I’ll go with Inter Detroit over Livonia City.

That leaves NNK and Inter Detroit in the final, and this is not easy to pick. I think I have to go with the national experience of Inter here, but they’ll be given a run for their money from the Fredericksburg side.

So, to review, we’re stanning Steel FC, NNK, and Inter Detroit, we’re predicting Inter to take the crown, we’re highly recommending you watch the matches, and we’re sponsoring the entire thing!

Speaking of, you can find our brand-new logo BEFORE it’s officially released on these live streams! Trust me, it’s a real beauty, and you’re going to want to see it.

Thanks for reading, and make sure to support all of these clubs involved!

Stay weird and support local soccer!

Blessings,

danny

By danny kotula

danny kotula is an aspiring sports writer and play-by-play commentator. unfortunately, he is not good at either one. his interests include watching soccer and listening to obscure music genres, and those aren’t even his most boring ones. he was born in Tacoma, Washington but has called South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Texas, California, Georgia, and Costa Rica home over the course of his life. he generally knows where to put a comma, which is by far his most redeeming quality. he is writing this in third person as if he were famous enough for someone to write him a biography, but don’t be fooled. he’s not famous.

5 replies on “smlwld stans: Steel City Super Cup”

Thank you for the in-depth write-up! As a player for Livonia City FC who was unable to travel due to work stipulations, your post satiated some of my appetite for soccer this weekend. I love seeing tournaments like this with clubs from different states, it really is a great opportunity in a league-less year!

As for my predictions… LCFC to take it home back to Metro-Detroit. We have been scheduling friendlies against huge teams for the past few years and I’d always put my money down on this club (especially at away-from-home tournaments)!

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