Well, things got awfully interesting in the midweek and made week 7 a fascinating one.
In a division where only first place is guaranteed a spot in the national playoffs, the battle for top dog is being tightly contested.
Let’s see how things are situated throughout the table with our rankings.
- NC Fusion U23, +1 from last week (W 5-0 over Wake AND W 2-0 over VA Beach).
- West Virginia United, -1 from last week (L 0-3 to Otters AND W 4-1 over NCFC). These were two game WVU would have expected to win, and they only lived up to expectations at the second time of asking. That relinquishes a bit of their momentum to Fusion, and there’s still quite a bit of soccer left to be played. West Virginia could use a better week eight than the way week seven treated them.
- Lionsbridge FC, +0 from last week (W 2-1 over Tobacco). The former USL club of the year get a quality win over an underrated Tobacco Road side. They’re still in the hunt for first or second and just watched West Virginia slip up a bit this week. Things will get really interesting if Lionsbridge can stay in good form!
- Tri-Cities Otters, +3 from last week (W 3-0 over WVU). Well then. That’s as much of a statement win as any you’ll see in the South Atlantic this year. The Otters have been partially off their game and partially unlucky for the majority of the season so far, but that 3-0 win is a big step in the right direction for a club who badly needed one. The home fans at TVA Credit Union Ballpark get a win to savor, and Tri-Cities now have some momentum to build upon.
- Virginia Beach United, -1 from last week (L 0-2 to Fusion). They probably weren’t expected to get anything from the Fusion match, but you can’t take away from the fact that the beach boys were blanked in an important game to stay competitive for a playoff spot. Right now, it looks like the postseason is out of their reach, if only just.
- Wake FC, -1 from last week (L 0-5 to Fusion). Wake struggled mightily in this one, making it painfully clear that playoff soccer is an unattainable goal this time around for the Holly Springs, NC side. They’ve still got plenty of time to start turning things around, but they need a lot of work to compete with the best in the South Atlantic.
- Tobacco Road FC, -1 from last week (W 2-0 over NCFC AND L 1-2 to Lionsbridge). A mixed bag for Tobacco Road this week. NCFC is hardly a high-quality win, but it’s three points and a clean sheet, both of which are hard to come by this season. They played Lionsbridge close at the weekend, but just don’t have the quality to beat top-three sides in such a competitive division in 2021.
- North Carolina FC U23, +0 from last week (L 0-2 to Tobacco AND L 1-4 to WVU). These guys aren’t even close to being competitive. It’s tough for our friends at TriSocPod who are big supporters and make it out to a lot of their matches, because there’s not much in the way of good soccer being put on for any spectators. They still have time to get something out of the season, but if they carry on in this type of form, they probably won’t.
- NC Fusion U23 – 21 pts, +24 GD. Form: WLDWW
- West Virginia United – 19 pts, +8 GD. Form: DWWLW
- Lionsbridge FC – 16 pts, +10 GD. Form: LWWLW
- Virginia Beach United – 9 pts, -1 GD. Form: WLLDL
- Wake FC – 8 pts, -6 GD. Form: LLWDL
- Tri-Cities Otters – 7 pts, +3 GD. Form: LWLDW
- Tobacco Road FC – 7 pts, -15 GD. Form: DLLWL
- North Carolina FC U23 – 4 pts, -23 GD. Form: LWDLL
Let’s see what’s next for most clubs, as everyone but West Virginia and NCFC look to improve their positions in the coming week.
next week’s fixtures
4) Otters v 6) Wake
Prediction: TCO 2 – 2 WFC
5) VA Beach v 3) Lionsbridge
Prediction: VAB 1 – 0 LFC
7) Tobacco v 4) Otters
Prediction: TRFC 0 – 0 TCO
6) Wake v 1) Fusion
Prediction: WFC 0 – 3 NCF
Plenty of potential for movement, especially in mid-table. All these matches should be fun to follow!
Thanks for reading and support local soccer!