Well, in only a single week, all that talk of a tight race for the championship goes into the wind as the number of clubs likely to be able to claim the championship shrinks. There are lots of things to talk about this week, managers who have been let go, championship aspirations, and managers commenting on the state of the ESPL as Week 17 comes to a close. Let’s get to the action!
The opening match of the week saw the biggest score of the week, for one side, as Gothica reaffirms their place atop of the table. They scored seven goals against the one for Wordsmiths (from Guillermo Martinez, Norman Tavez, Hiro Takahashi, Victor Vesselin, Donovan Righte, and two by Simon Tarken for Gothica; the sole goal of Wordsmiths came from Wonk O’Riley). Gothica was sending a message to the rest of the league, capitalized by the statement following the match from Gothica Manager Peter Stark.
“The ESPL did an astoundingly deep analysis on EmeraldSpecter.com last week,” said Stark. “I took that into the locker room this morning and showed the lads the reviews. They focused hard and decided that they were going to send a message, since our match was against one of the worst in the league. Seven goals is a strong message, I think. We look forward to ending the season on top.”
Shazam CM hosted Halo in a scoreless draw, eliminating the likelihood that Shazam could capture the championship.
“It’s a damn shame,” said Locke Carson, Shazam CM Manager. “We’re still mathematically in the race but we realize that there is a lot that has to go our way now. I would like to go out with a bang, if nothing else.”
“We wanted to show that we weren’t out of this thing,” said Otto Borden, Halo Manager. “I don’t want to roll over for everyone else, by no means. Halo will fight this out until the very end.”
Real Olympia hosted Emerald United, finishing 2-1 in favor of United, keeping them in the race. Emerald United’s two goals came from Paco DeJesus and Edge Righte, while Real Olympia’s sole goal scorer was Sam Wells.
“We let things slip a little more than we should have,” said Arthur Franklin, Emerald United Manager. “The fact we’re chasing rather than being in the lead sits on my shoulders. This club won’t stop fighting and be sure that we won’t let anyone just walk away with the title.”
Naval Armada hosted Vulcan FC and won 5-3. Naval Armada’s goals came from Pedro DeJesus (2), Khan Galaxy (2), and one from Matt Craven. Vulcan scorers were two from Dzung Tran and one from Tsung Zhang. Naval keeps their title chances alive.
“The best player in the league is a member of Naval Armada,” said Horatio Antonelli, Naval Armada Manager. “Khan Galaxy is the key to our success and though he hasn’t always had a goal, he’s always been involved in the game deeply. Naval Armada will sail on a little longer. Don’t count us out.”
Knightsquare hosted Shamrock Celtic, losing 3-0 to the away side. Shamrock Celtic showed determination by scores from Thor Skjelstad, Marco Kaspazov, and Don Thomas. Knightsquare’s supporters left the stadium in droves, protesting how terrible the club has been and angry that their club wasn’t electrified like the Gothica players were upon reading last week’s analysis. Shamrock Celtic was thrilled at the results.
“We aren’t going to stop marching forward,” said Ephraim Colton, Shamrock Celtic Manager. “Things aren’t over until the fat lady sings. Celtic is walking away with the title.”
Allen FC hosted, and defeated Sporting Black Cats 2-1 in the final match of the week. Allen’s goals came from Hans Mueller and Charles Alexander. Sporting Black Cats saw their only goal come from Nate Havram.
“We aren’t out of the race,” said Roberto Ruiz, Allen FC Manager. “I’ll be looking for building for the future but we are going to fight until the end.”
Wordsmiths’ loss caused them to part ways with their manager, Matthew Albright. Assistant manager Lee Watterson takes over for the rest of the season. The security of Watterson’s position isn’t solid, though, as Wordsmiths could be looking to offload all their managerial staff in favor of a new one for next season.
Not to be outdone, Knightsquare also released their manager Zeke Pike, also placing assistant manager Jason Druid in charge. Druid is looking to keep the club together as best as he can while he auditions for the league in a position that he hopes will allow him to continue.
The final release of manager came from Real Olympia as they sent Vince Pratchett out of the main office, making way for their assistant manager Yuri Gurkov.
There will be plenty more movement as time comes, but the sense we get is that most of the clubs will hold tight until the season ends to make any further big decisions. There was positive news for the league as a whole, though, as the ESPL announced that there would be four expansion clubs entering the league. They will be Queensdaisy, Octagon, Citrus LF, and Tardis. Four new clubs means the league schedule will expand to 30 games, up from the 22 this season will hold.
“We held off on announcing anything for a future season because we needed to see whether this season was successful,” said DJ Allen, ESPL founder. “Now that I’m confident we have succeeded, the addition of four more clubs is a logical step. We will evaluate whether or not to add more clubs for season three, but know there will be a season three. The discussion behind the scenes includes whether or not to split into two full leagues. If we can run the ESPL with 16 clubs, then we can discuss running one with 18 clubs, and then we can discuss building a second league into the mix. Time will tell, but the future looks bright for the ESPL.”
What will happen next? Find out next week!