The Milwaukee Torrent can all but clinch the National Premier Soccer League Midwest Region Central Conference title on Saturday night when they play host to La Crosse Aris SC at Uihlein Soccer Park.
Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. at Kohler Engines Stadium, and Torrent owner and head coach Andreas Davi is expecting a crowd in excess of 1,000 for the match.
It's the second meeting in a week between the teams – James Weber (Hartford) and Ian Bennett scored two goals apiece and the Torrent (4-0-0 NPSL, 7-1-3 overall) scored four times in the opening half hour en route to a 9-1 rout of Aris (0-3-0) last Saturday in La Crosse.
Should Milwaukee win the rematch, the Torrent would essentially wrap up the conference championship.
The Chicago Mustangs (2-1-0), who play host to the Minnesota Twin Stars (1-3-0) on Saturday night, could still potentially tie Milwaukee for the top spot, but would need to beat the Torrent by five goals or more in their July 23 match at Uihlein to claim the title. Milwaukee won the first meeting between the teams 4-0 on June 4 in Lake Barrington, Ill.
The Central title is the only championship Milwaukee is playing for this season, as the conference was set up as a provisional division of the Midwest Region and its champion isn't eligible for the NPSL playoffs.
"I would love to see how we would do against the other NPSL teams from the region. It would be so interesting to know how we would do," said Davi, who added that the expectation for 2017 is that the Central Conference will add more teams and become an official member of the Midwest Region.
Chris Kurth (Green Bay Southwest/UW-Oshkosh), Nemanja Medic (Milwaukee Hamilton/UW-Parkside), Declan Rodriguez (UW-Milwaukee) and Weber all scored last Saturday as the Torrent led 4-0 after 28 minutes. Kurth, Tony Patterson (Menomonee Falls/UW-Green Bay) and Julius Sekyi (Whitnall/UW-Whitewater) each scored his first goal of the season for Milwaukee, which has outscored league foes 20-2.
Defender Stuart Grable (Neenah/UW-Green Bay), who has struggled with a torn adductor muscle all summer, made his first start of the season against Aris. Grable had made his season debut as a second-half sub in a 3-1 victory over FC Indiana in a friendly three days earlier.