Author: Duluth FC

Duluth FC’s Season Comes to an End

Duluth FC vs. Muskegon

Oakridge Highschool | Muskegon, MI

July 22nd, 2022 | Game #16 Current 2022: Records (W-L-T):

Duluth: 8-0-1; 4-2-0 at home/on the road

Muskegon: 4-0-1; 4-0-1 at home/on the road

Starting XI: Wynand Wessels, Martin Grzywa, Sam Thornton, Blake Perry, Felipe Arteaga, Kostyantyn Domaratskyy, Cian Gantley, Andres Solares, Jake Starling, Jessie Juarez, Brendan Dally. 

2’ – Sam Thornton (DFC)

10’ – Wynand Wessels (DFC)

17’ – Vitalis Takawira Jr. (MR)

44’ – Vitalis Takawira Jr. (MR)

53’ – Theodore May (MR)

60’ – Vitalis Takawira Jr. (MR)

65’ – Vitalis Takawira Jr. (MR)

Regional semi-finals time in the NPSL and for your Bluegreens a very somber ending to what was one of the best seasons we have had in recent memory. Duluth traveled down to Mesegon this past Friday to take on the Risers for a chance at the regional championship. The boys got off to a rocking start scoring the first two goals of the game just as they did in the previous match, however, holding on to that lead became a problem as time went on. Muskegon would shrug those two scores off quite quickly and return with a barrage of five straight goals four of which came from the Risers’ star scorer Vitakis Takawira Jr. The boys kept playing their hearts out regardless of the flip of the script during the game which turned out to be a one-sided affair. They played until the final whistle blew and that’s all you can ask from the guys who put it all out on the field every game all summer long. 

Duluth came out ready to play as they always do and they’re putting the pressure on the other team’s offense and even their defense early on in the game. Only two minutes into the match Sam Thornton rushes the Risers’ backup keeper off a gentle backward pass from the defender. Thornton was then able to put him in a panic, steal the ball, and had an easy tap-in with no one in his way. We looked like we were starting to take control of this game with tons of solid defense, especially by our midfielder core, that turned into some impressive takeaways. It appeared later on that we were taking a very physical approach to the game as shoving and nudging were very noticeable by the BlueGreens. The physicality started to be garnered by both sides which led to a retaliation Riser slide tackle that clips Kostyantyn Domaratskyy and seems to be hurt. Wynand Wessels spends no time at all thinking about the commotion and lines up the free kick right away. Wessels skies a huge kick over their keepers still confused was still out from the net and the ball bounces in putting Duluth up 2-0 in the first ten minutes of the game. 

Duluth with an early lead but, certainly not a safe one as the Risers still had one of the more high-powered offenses in the league and they wouldn’t be beaten so easily. With a player Vitalis Takawira it’s hard not to score for long as he would start giving the Bluegreens plenty of problems. It would all start with Vitalis being rewarded a penalty kick and sending it in the net to cut the lead in half. From that point on The Risers seemed to be rallied and determined to keep putting on alot more pressure around our net than before. With the pressure, came the shots from Muskegon and they came in waves with several attempts at a time. Another shot and goal by Takawira could’ve been prevented right before the halftime horn if only Wynand Wessels could’ve finished off a defensive header. He could not so we went into halftime tied up 2-2. 

The Second half was sadly all Risers as they would score within three minutes of the second half with a solid offensive possession. A nice drive at the net set up an easy little putback goal for Theo May to give them their first lead of the game. The Bluegreens would ramp up their intensity and even their physicality which was commendable but resulted in a few too many fouls. Mistakes like this had Duluth on their heels as Vitalis Takawira would put in two more in the remainder of the half against a still competing BlueGreen team that was still intense despite the score. Just the energy and intensity in themselves were not enough to make a comeback and Duluth’s season would come to an end with a final score of 5-2. Despite the score being what it was, the fellas never gave in and it was a pleasure to watch them tonight and all season long.w

Looking forward to next year, the BlueGreens will be wanting to reload and get back to the playoffs to finish off the job. 

By: Ryan Tigner

Risers beware; The Bluegreens are coming to town.

Duluth FC vs. Muskegon

Oakridge Highschool | Muskegon, MI

July 22nd, 2022 | Game #16 Current 2022: Records (W-L-T):

Duluth: 8-0-1; 4-2-0 at home/on the road

Muskegon: 4-0-1; 4-0-1 at home/on the road

After the big first-round win on Tuesday, Duluth will be moseying on down to Muskegon, Michigan to take on the red-hot Risers. A squad that has not yet dropped a match all season but has only competed in 10 games to our 15 already played. This may prove to be a difference maker as Duluth is clearly more battle-tested and has faced a wider range of competition. This is mostly because the North has eight teams compared to the Great Lakes Conference, which is only built up of five. Muskegon will have an advantage of their own possibly being more well rested than the BlueGreens with their last match being a week ago and ours just three days. Muskegon is also the furthest the fellas have had to travel all year so that could have a bit of an impact as the boys have been playing their best soccer when they get a couple more days of rest. It is the playoffs though, so Duluth will be taking extra precautions to ensure they are ready to go when the whistle blows. 

Another thing these teams have in common is that both of their most recent wins were against FC Columbus. We were able to beat them pretty handily 3-1 limiting them to only a couple of shots all game. Same story for the Risers as they were able to hand them the 2-0  “L” at home after a draw with them earlier this summer. Both squads have also had a high-powered offense all year which is something new for the BlueGreens. Most of our toughest opponents were ones with good offensive ability but a really solid defensive core that communicate and get on the ball quickly. This will for sure be an interesting matchup and an even more intriguing chess match between coaches as each tries to manipulate their strategies to compete with an intimidating offense that each possesses. Another beautiful 80 degrees and partly cloudy day in Muskegon will make for another splendid and exciting night of NPSL soccer. Hopefully, Duluth can crack it open in the begging like the last match, and never look back.

Kick-off is expected at 6:30 pm, July 22nd. The stream for the match will be available on This Link.

By: Ryan Tigner

The Bluegreens Kickoff the playoffs with a huge win and advance

Duluth FC vs. Muskegon

Oakridge Highschool | Muskegon, MI

July 19th, 2022 | Game #15 Current 2022: Records (W-L-T):

Duluth: 8-0-1; 4-2-0 at home/on the road

Columbus: 4-1-1; 4-2-1 at home/on the road

Starting XI: Sam Thornton, Blake Perry, Wynand Wessels, Andres Solares, Cian Gantley, Kostyantyn Domaratskyy, Felipe Arteaga, Martin Grzywa, Jake Starling, Jessi Juarez, Brendan Dally.

1’ – Kostyantyn Domaratskyy (DFC)

50’ – Blake Perry (DFC)

86’ – Michael Chilton (FCC)

90’ – Keegan Chastey (DFC)

Playoffs are finally here and no one was more excited about it than your Duluth Bluegreens. They got the tournament kicked off with a first-round face-off against a strong FC Columbus squad. A squad that has the most impressive record we have faced all season apart from Med City. The adrenaline was flowing and the boys battled hard on their home turf to put up a solid performance especially on the defensive end limiting their shot attempts to single digits. The effort was very effective and they came out victorious with a 3-1 win and will continue their quest for the cup. 

The game started out with a bang and it came in the first minute of the match no less. The fellas were able to get a nice-looking offensive possession of the kick-off. Sam Thornton and Kostyantyn Domaratskyy have some nifty back-and-forth passing that ended in a real slick shot and goal by Domaratskyy. This would be the boost Duluth gained and used to keep things going their way throughout the entirety of the match. The goal would also amp up the intensity as players from there on out. The intensity also provided a huge stalemate of goals as it became apparently more difficult to get an offense set up let alone get a decent shot on the net. Duluth was able to generate a couple and for the most part, take lead in this matchup but it was not a Duluth offense accustomed to seeing. The defense was however astounding as didn’t let up a good-looking shot all half. 

Duluth started off the second half more ferocious than before, getting alot more shots this time around. The shots eventually seemed to overwhelm the Columbus defense. You could see defenders being out of position. Kostyantyn Domaratskyy would take advantage of this with a beautiful nutmeg right to a cutting Blake Perry who sends it home and puts the Bluegreens up 2-0. The boys were on cloud nine and were still playing like it was their game to lose. The defense was still solid but there was a hiccup. Columbus was able to take advantage of a corner kick that hit awkwardly off the head of Wynand Wessels and leaked out to Michael Chilton to have an easy tap-back goal to make it 2-1 in the 86th minute of the game. The Bluegreens took this goal personally and decided to add another of their own before time ran out. A curving leak-out pass to a subbed-in Aaron Pike who finds a lane and crossed it over to Chastey who found the back of the net to secure the 3-1 win. 

Your Bluegreens will be squaring off against the Muskegon Risers this Friday. Kick-off will begin at 7:30.

By: Ryan Tigner