Five teams will represent the NSL in the 2019 Illinois State Cup. Last year, NSL sides dominated the competition, with three teams reaching the semifinals, culminating in an all-NSL final, where CKS Warta beat Gazelle SC for the title.
Czarny Dunajec will start things off in the play-in round on June 5 when they face Edgewater Castle (PSLC). The winner of that match will take on CKS Warta in the first round the following week.
Other first-round matchups include: International SC (Metro) v RWB Adria, Vikings AA v DeKalb County United (UPSL), and PSV Blues (CISL) v Gazelle SC.
The Albanian Stars followed up their first-place finish in the Champions Division with victory in Friday's playoff tournament. The Stars downed CKS Warta 3:1 in the final. The Stars and Warta reached the final by eliminating Czarny Dunajec (2:1) and Berber Stars (5:1), respectively in the semifinals.
MUFC Red Devils, on their maiden voyage in the NSL, cruised to the Major Division regular-season title with 10 wins in their last 11 matches. They then marched through the playoffs, beating Vikings B 3:0 in the final. The Red Devils bounced CKS Warta B 4:2 in the semis, while Vikings dispatched CD Taji 2:1 on the other side of the bracket.
Albanian Stars, in what might have been their last chance to overtake CKS Warta for the regular-season title in the Champions Division, pounded the leaders 5:0 last Friday. The Stars and Warta are level on points, but the Stars hold the tiebreaker advantage, with a win and a draw versus Warta in their two meetings.
A closely contested match was blown open when the Stars scored three times late in the first half to assume control of the game. Victor Pineda, Gilberto Martinez and Anthonio Aguilar all found the back of the net in stunning fashion.
Aguilar added a second after the break and Revel Obilo put the result beyond any doubt.
CKS Warta pulled three points clear of the Albanian Stars and Vikings AA with 4 :2 victory over Czarny Dunajec last Friday. The Vikings' shocking defeat to SAC Wisla dropped them to third place, level on points with the Albanian Stars, who dispatched Albania FC 5:3.
Warta's Alex Cervantes was the lone scorer in the first half and Dunajec fought back to level the affair early in the second half through Kamil Szczesniak. David Aranda's third goal of the season made it 2:1 to Warta.
With less than six minutes left in the match, Dunajec found a second equalizer, when Kyle Breitenbach finished off a counterattack.
Cervantes got his second score of the night, calmly finding the target with a sharp-angle shot to put Warta 3:2 up.
Dunajec were left exposed at the back as they sought a third goal and Warta exploited the space, with Juan de la Cruz bagging the winner just moments before the final whistle.
The Executive Board of the National Soccer League of Chicago has added two new members, filling two previously vacant positions.
The Board welcomes Ante Loncar (RWB Adria) and George Gorecki (Stare Byki FC), back into the league's leadership team. Ante has accepted the position of Vice President and George has accepted the position of Board Member.
The Board is pleased that these two vital and longstanding members of our league have rejoined the Board. They come to the Board with fresh, new ideas that will drive our league towards our next 100 years. The NSL will announce several new structures in the coming weeks, as we prepare for the 2019 Outdoor Season.