Duluth Earn Biggest Win of NPSL Period in Final Match of the Season

Duluth FC vs. La Crosse Aris
Duluth, MN
7.12.19 | Game 12

Current 2019 Records (W-L-T):
Duluth: 3-1-2; 5-1-0 at home/on the road
Aris: 1-4-0; 1-6-0 at home/on the road

Lineup: Gonnie Ben-Tal, Sullivan Lauderdale, Brooks Rice, Alberto Diaz, Damia Viader, Aidan Hill, Lucas Jacobs, Julio Neto, Liam Condone, Ronaldo Fortune, Dodi Barberio
Substitutes: Soham Kathuria for Alberto Diaz, Jake Starling for Damia Viader, Carlyle Junior for Barberio, James Westfield for Lucas Jacobs, Ian McIntosh for Ronaldo Fortune

Goals:
4 – Ronaldo Fortune (DFC)
8 – Alberto Diaz (DFC)
10 – Gonnie Ben-Tal (DFC)
20 – Lucas Jacobs (DFC)
25 – Lucas Jacobs (DFC)
34 – Lucas Jacobs (DFC)
44 – Ronaldo Fortune (DFC)
53 – James Westfield (DFC)
58 – Carlyle Junior (DFC)
80 – Carlyle Junior (DFC)
82 – Jake Starling (DFC)

Duluth hosted La Crosse Aris in the final round of the 2019 regular season. The match turned out a strong one for the BlueGreens, who emerged triumphant in a 11-0 win, their biggest since joining the NPSL.

Ronaldo Fortune opened the scoring in the fourth minute after confidently finding a low cross from Brooks Rice. Fortune spiked the wall into the back of the net just four minutes before Alberto Diaz found Duluth’s second after chesting the ball and striking it into the near corner from the edge of the box.

Gonnie Ben-Tal showed his height well in the 10th minute when he climbed high to head in a well-placed corner kick, earning his first goal of the season and third for the club.

Birthday boy Lucas Jacobs then showed why it was his day, scoring three goals from the 20th to 34th minutes to earn his first hat trick for the club. With each goal better than the last, Jacobs proved one of Duluth’s best on the night and earned the Man of the Match award for his goal scoring. Ronaldo added one more goal before the half time whistle, his third of the season, to make it 6-0.

With a strong lead in hand, Duluth made several changes at the half way mark, with three finding the back of the net in the second half. James Westfield was the first, scoring in the 58th minute to add an eighth goal to his tally for the season.

Carlyle Junior would add two lovely goals in the 58th and 80th minutes, one a beautiful chip over the keeper and the other a clean strike into the side netting. The two goals combined to give Junior nine league goals this season, in addition to one in the U.S. Open Cup. Junior therefore became Duluth’s top goal scorer in 2019 and will be awarded the Kyle Farrar Man of the Match award.

With Duluth up 10-0, Jake Starling scored his first for the club with a clean header to end the night, helping Duluth to its biggest ever win in the NPSL.

The win would not qualify Duluth for the playoffs due to a victory in Minneapolis for Med City, but it would provide the club with a strong finish to their third season in the NPSL. While Duluth did not qualify for the playoffs, they did achieve quite a bit this season, adding another U.S. Open Cup appearance to their records and earning two of their biggest ever wins in the NPSL (7-0 against the Dakota Fusion and the recent result against Aris).

The club will now head into the off season with, as always, new ways to grow on and off the pitch. Duluth ends the year with 26 points, 38 goals scored, and a goal differential of 27. The club would also like to congratulate both Minneapolis City and Med City for their qualification for the Midwest Regional playoffs, a tournament Duluth were proud to win in 2018.

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