Minneapolis City SC vs. Duluth FC
Huron High School | Ann Arbor, MI
7.20.18 | Midwest Semi-Final
Current 2018 League Records (W-L-D):
Duluth: 5-1-1; 3-1-3 at home/on the road
Minneapolis: 6-0-1; 4-0-3 at home/on the road
In the third meeting between the two clubs this season, Duluth FC and Minneapolis City played a gritty, close, and eventually historic match to determine who’d represent the NPSL North in the Midwest Region Final.
Minneapolis were handed a set back as one of their players was unable to come on to play for just over 15 minutes, being subbed for after Duluth scored their first goal in the 17th. Said goal came from Kyle Farrar, who was put one on one with the keeper and slotted his fourth goal of the season and his 18th goal in two years of NPSL play.
Minneapolis, restored to full strength, found their way back into the match and eventually earned their equalizer in the 36th minute through a deadly run down the left wing. Finished by Branden McGarrity, the goal would be the last in regulation time. The second half would include big saves for both keepers, Jan Hoffelner and Matt Elder, and see both sides come ever so close to breaking the deadlock. A standout chance was a Brooks Rice volley at an acute angle that would have found its way into Minneapolis’ open net if not for an off-the-line save by a City defender. Santiago Castro also contributed one of the stronger chances of the half as he sent a shot belting at the keeper from outside the box.
Eventually forced into added extra time, both sides continued to substitute and force a key chance. Duluth’s best, and key, chance would arrive in the 115th minute of added time as a low cross to Kyle Farrar was affected by a defender’s hand, resulting in a penalty for Duluth. Ricardo Ramos, who had recently subbed on for Brooks Rice, took the penalty, having recently scored one in Duluth’s PK shootout with Grand Rapids FC. Though Matt Elder made contact with the kick, it made its way into the back of the net and put the BlueGreens up a goal.
With mere minutes left, Minneapolis City proceeded to create several deadly chances in their search for an equalizer, testing keeper Jan Hoffelner and his backline a constant basis. The final whistle would come after three added minutes and give Duluth their first ever Regional Playoff Semi-Final win. Jan Hoffelner earned the win mere hours after being awarded the spot of goalkeeper in the Midwest Region XI, with three of Duluth’s players featured in the North Conference XI (Ryan Tyrer and Joe Watt being the other two).
The match, while certainly important for Duluth’s season, also marks the end of a historic run by Minneapolis City, who went 15 straight games in the NPSL this year undefeated. While the club will hope to go further and win more in the future, their run in the North was a unique moment in which a club managed to dominate while still existing in a very competitive conference. In the end both clubs reminded everyone why they have been and continue to be two of the clubs to watch out for in their conference.
Duluth will now face AFC Ann Arbor in the Region final in hopes of earning a spot as the Midwest’s representatives. It will be their first time in the final and the first time they face AFC Ann Arbor in a competitive match.
Duluth FC Starting XI: Gonnie Ben-Tal, Tom Corcoran, Kyle Farrar, Santiago Castro, Jan Hoffelner, Soham Kathuria, Julian Villegas, Brooks Rice, Ryan Tyrer, Joe Watt, Sora Wakabayashi
Subs: Nico Railef for Tom Corcoran, Aidan Hill for Soham Kathuria, Liam Moore for Joe Watt, Ricardo Ramos for Brooks Rice, Ivan Adika for Aidan Hill, Leonardo Almeida for Kyle Farrar
‘17 – Kyle Farrar (DFC)
’36 – Branden McGarrity (MPLS)
‘115 – Ricardo Ramos (P) (DFC)