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Playoff Bound: Pittsburgh Hotspurs beat Syracuse, 2-1, to earn first-ever NPSL postseason appearance

Photo courtesy Pittsburgh Hotspurs

The Pittsburgh Hotspurs, only in its second full season in the National Premier Soccer League, earned its first-ever playoff berth by defeating Syracuse FC, 2-1, in Upstate New York on Saturday evening.

The Hotspurs (6-2-0), bounced back from his previous loss to Rust Belt Division leaders Cleveland SC, with an impressive road performance against Syracuse.

Rami Bensasi scored in the 32nd minute, then Tate Mohney added an important second tally in the 58th minute

With the win, the Hotspurs secured second place in the Rust Belt Standings, and will almost assuredly get another crack at Cleveland SC, who secured first place with a 7-0-1.  Both clubs have two games remaining as they’ll prepare for the NPSL Playoff tournament.

The Hotpsurs will finish the regular season with two home matches, as they play Erie Commodores on Thursday (6 p.m.), then turn around and host Rochester for the regular season finale on Sunday (5 p.m.).  Both matches will be played at Founders Field.

For more details on how the NPSL Playoffs will be set up for the Midwest Region, click here.

As the second place team from the Rust Belt Division, the Hotspurs will be seeded between 4-6 (First place teams will be seeded 1-3) in the six-team bracket.


  • Top 2 seeds receive a Bye into the Midwest Region Semifinals
  • Seeds 3 thru 6 will be split geographically with the two western-most teams playing each other, and the two eastern-most teams playing each other
  • #3 Seed will host a Quarterfinal match against the team seeded 4-6 that is closest to them, based on the geographical split noted above. The remaining two teams will play each other with the higher seed hosting.
  • Semifinals & Final to be held at one to-be-determined location, as voted upon by Midwest Region club owners; home teams are determined by the highest seed in each match

NPSL Midwestern Region Playoffs Schedule 

2021 NPSL Midwest Region Quarterfinals – July 20: Each game hosted by higher seed
#3 seed x #4-6 seed closest geographically
Highest remaining seed x Lowest remaining seed

2021 NPSL Midwest Region Semifinals – July 23: Hosted at one to-be-determined location
#1 seed x Lowest remaining seed
#2 seed x 2nd Lowest remaining seed

2021 NPSL Midwest Region Final – July 25: Hosted at one to-be-determined location
Highest remaining seed x Lowest remaining seed


John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets. He is also author of 'Miracle on the Mon' -- a book about the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, which chronicles the club, particularly the early years of Highmark Stadium with the narrative leading up to and centered around a remarkable match that helped provide a spark for the franchise. John has covered sports for Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, has served as color commentator on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC broadcasts, and worked with OPTA Stats and broadcast teams for US Open Cup and International Champions Cup matches held in the US. Krysinsky also served as the Head Men’s Soccer Coach at his alma mater, Point Park University, where he led the Pioneers to the first-ever winning seasons and playoff berths (1996-98); head coach of North Catholic boys (2007-08), associate head coach of Shady Side Academy boys (2009-2014).

Riverhounds MF Danny Griffin

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