M-League starts playoff round


Korean Football Association on Saipan’s Don Cabrera kicks the ball during their Division A game against Matansa Football Club in the 2019 Spring Men’s M-League last April 14 at the NMI Soccer Training Center in Koblerville. KFAS will face the Old B Bank this Thursday to start the playoff round in the league. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

The 2019 Spring Men’s M-League will return to action this Thursday with Division A teams starting the playoff round at the NMI Soccer Training Center in Koblerville.

Kicking off the single-elimination playoffs of the league that took a brief break last Sunday in observance of the Lenten season, are the Old B Bank and Korean Football Association, as they square off at 6:30pm and battle for one of the three remaining Final Four berths in Division A.

The Old B Bank finished third in the team standings after the round-robin regular season, earning a 3-0-3 win-draw-loss record, while KFAS was ranked No. 6, avoiding the cellar after defeating Matansa last April 14 and ending up with a 1-1-4 mark.

The winner of the Old B Bank-KFAS playoff match will challenge No. 1 CNMI Boys U18 National Team for the finals slot in the May 5 match. The NMI U18 drew a bye at the start of the playoffs and automatically marched into the semifinals after registering the division best and perfect 6-0-0 record.

Other first round playoff pairings are TanHoldings Football Club vs Kanoa FC and Paire against Matansa. Both games will be played this Sunday with TanHoldings and Kanoa colliding at 3pm and Paire and Matansa meeting at 5pm. Paire placed second in the team standings with its 5-0-1 mark to set up a make-or-break game against the last-ranked Matansa, which has yet to win this season. TanHoldings matched Old B Bank’s record, but lost the tiebreak (goal difference) and fell to No. 4, while Kanoa finished fifth with its 2-1-3 card.

Victors in Sunday’s pair of matches in Division A will cross path on May 5 at 3pm for the other finals berth.

Meanwhile, Division B will start its playoff round this Sunday.

No. 1 Shirley’s FC will take on No. 4 CNMI Women’s National Team at 7pm, while No. 2 Sun Palace will fight No. 3 Pacific Islands Club at 1pm. Winners of these matches will square off on May 19 for the division championship this season.

Shirley’s wrapped up the regular season with a 5-0-1 record, while Sun Palace held at 4-0-2 slate, and PIC had a 3-0-3 card. The CNMI Women’s National Team failed to win a single match in the regular season.

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for more than two decades. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.
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