Gold to host Tacoma in playoff opener


The 2015 NPSL West Region Playoff schedule has been released, with the 4-seed Sacramento Gold FC slated to host 5-seed FC Tacoma 253 in the first round. The playoff opener for both teams will take place on Saturday, July 11 at 7 p.m. at Capital Christian High School.

The Gold will be facing Tacoma for the third time this season, with Sacramento earning wins in the first two matchups. The two teams first played in Sacramento's regular season home opener, with Josue Araiza's two goals helping the Gold to a 3-1 win. The second game was Sacramento's craziest of the season, with Manolo Piña scoring in the 86th minute to cap a hat trick and a 4-3 win in Tukwila.

Both wins sandwiched a rough middle of Sacramento's season. Though the first win made it a 3-0 start to the season, the Gold went 0-2-2 in between the two Tacoma games. The second win helped Sacramento rebound with four wins in the final five games of the season.

But, Sacramento isn't the only team coming into the playoffs hot. After the second loss to Sacramento, Tacoma was left for dead with just one win on the season. However, the 253 showed resolve, winning all three of its June games (including two must-wins over conference rival Portland Spartans FC) to claim the Northwest Conference crown in its first season in existence.

Regardless of the outcome of the third game, the winner will have to wait and see who they play next. The other July 11 first round game, between 3-seed Deportivo Coras USA U-23 and 6-seed CD Aguiluchos USA, will determine the semifinal matchups. The lowest seed remaining will travel to the 1-seed Sonoma County Sol, while the remaining team will head to Southern California to battle the 2-seed San Diego Flash.

Both semifinals will take place on Saturday, July 18, with the 2015 West Region Final slated for Saturday, July 25. The higher of the two remaining seeds will host the game. The West Region winners will head to Nationals, taking on the other three region kings to determine this season's national champion.