Duluth FC vs. Dakota Fusion
5.18.19 | Week 3
Current 2019 Records (W-L-T):
Duluth: 1-0-1; 1-0-0 at home/on the road
Fusion: 0-1-0; 0-1-0 at home/on the road
Lineup: Diaz, Viader, Westfield, Starling, Proctor (C), Jacobs, Barberio, Lauderdale, Rice, Neto, Fortune
Substitutions: Dana Kowachek for Julio Neto, Ronald Hernandez for Alberto Diaz, Liam Condone for Brooks Rice, Soham for Lucas Jacobs, Nicolas Torres for Dorian Barberio, Aidan Hill for James Westfield, Carlyle Junior for Ronaldo Fortune
’56 – James Westfield (Duluth)
’59 – James Westfield (Duluth)
’61 – Alberto Diaz (Duluth)
Duluth FC would travel to Moorhead, MN to play the Dakota Fusion in its first away match of the 2019 NPSL season. The first half would prove a frustrating but promising one for the BlueGreens. Fullbacks Julio Neto and Damiá Viader were relentless in putting pressure down the wings along with the likes of Brooks Rice and Ronaldo Fortune, but good saves, strong winds, and moments of lapse judgment left the scoreline 0-0 at half time. Westfield, Jacobs, and Rice all had strong chances in the half, showing there was plenty to look forward to. The Fusion did manage several chances on the counter, though most were resolved the slightly new look Duluth backline of Neto, Proctor, Starling, Viader, and Lauderdale, who made his first goalkeeping start for the club after subbing on in two previous matches.
Duluth would find a change of pace in the second half, as the BlueGreens would go on to score three goals in five minutes from the 56th minute to the 61st minute. The first came after Brooks Rice played a perfect low cross into the box, which was met by a sprinting James Westfield. Westfield did well to strike the ball past the oncoming keeper, scoring his first for the club. He wouldn’t be done yet, however, as only three minutes later when Lucas Jacobs made contact with a long ball from George Proctor, which was otherwise going to the keeper’s hands. Jacobs’ touch deflected off the keeper and fell to the feet of Westfield, who calming struck the ball in from near the penalty spot.
Duluth’s final goal would come only two minutes later, when Ronaldo Fortune played a clever ball to Alberto Diaz, leaving the midfielder with acres of space on the edge of the Fusion 18-yard box. The Fusion keeper managed to get a hand on Diaz’ strike, but its power overcame the deflection and found the far corner of the net. It was Diaz’ first goal of the season. Diaz proved a key piece of the attack on Saturday, despite often playing a deeper role. In total, the defensive end of Duluth
The second half would bring several counter attack chances for the Dakota Fusion again, with the backline and Lauderdale forced into action on several occasions. A series of substitutions from Duluth would provide fresh legs and help Head Coach Joel Person lock in his second league win of the season. Duluth did almost add a fourth in the last minutes of the game when Carlyle Junior beat the keeper with his one-on-one shot, only to have the ball hit the post and roll along the goal line before being recovered by the Fusion.
James Westfield is now the club’s leading league goal scorer, tied in all competitions with Carlyle Junior at 2. This was also Duluth’s second clean sheet of the season and George Proctor’s first match wearing the captain’s armband.
In addition, Head Coach Joel Person nominated James Westfield as Man of the Match, both for his two goals and for his overall strong reaction to a tough first half. Having played two previous games, Westfield showed on Saturday that he doesn’t just create chances and moments, he scores them too.