Duluth FC vs. Dakota Fusion FC
Jim Gotta Stadium | Moorhead, MN
June 29th, 2022 | Game #11 Current 2022: Records (W-L-T):
Duluth: 5-0-0; 4-2-0 at home/on the road
Dakota FC: 3-1-1; 1-3-2 at home/on the road
Starting XI: Martin Grzywa, Sam Thornton, Aaron Pike, Keegan Chastey, Cian Gantley, Rory Carlson, Andres Solares, Jake Starling, Jessie Juarez, Michael Garrihy.
17’ – Duluth Own Goal (DFC)
35’ – Tre Bonaparte (DFFC)
45’ – Jake Starling (DCF)
69’ – Shoki Yoshida (DFFC)
The fellas finish off their three-game road trip by traveling to Moorhead Minnesota to take on the Dakota Fusion. A rematch for a game that only took place less than two weeks prior, where Duluth won a toughly contested battle 3-1. The Fusion was however able to flip the script this time around and get the best of your BlueGreens 3-1. This one stings too as they just had beat the top team in Med City a few days before and claimed their spot at number one in the standings.
In minute one of the match, it really felt like the boys would just start where they had left off, attacking early both on the offensive end and in the midfield. They were able to generate some offense right from the get-go. Pike and Thornton were especially noticeable early, running down the ball handlers and pushing the ball up to initiate some shots near the net. Fusion had their fair share of chances but it seemed like they relied more on the longball to generate those chances. Both teams however were playing at a frantic pace and you could tell it was affecting their finesse.
Dakota also got into the face of our players alot, especially around midfield, forcing early passes and turnovers. This is something that we are used to seeing from your BlueGreens. The Fusion’s gameplan of solid defense and long clears works for the first time in the game when a deep ball hits a streaking Tre Bonaparte. He then would try and go full force at the goal only to have it kicked from out under him by Jessie Juarez. Unfortunately, that kick sailed right between the legs of Garrihy and put the Fusion up 1-0 in the first 20 minutes of the game. The energy after this goal would only intensify as the BlueGreens would now have to battle back to hold onto their spot.
Despite the energy still being as solid as it was, it was the little mistakes that may have cost them the game. Offsides calls were treacherous for the BlueGreens as they acquired four of those within the first half-hour of play. Many of these calls would’ve been extraordinary chances for the fellas and could have swung the game in our favor. The BlueGreen Defense was holding up on their end for the most part but had some mistakes as well, noticeably on takeaways. Instead of the usual clear to generate possession alot of our takeaways led to the ball flying out of bounds and coming back our way. These mistakes would lead to the second goal of the game as Jake Starling’s pass back to the keeper was intercepted by Nozomu Kamei. Only having one man to beat he made a move and shot on goal only to be deflected by a pursuing Grzywa. The ball takes another bad bounce right to a crashing Bonaparte who taps in his first goal of the game making the score 2-0.
Things were looking bleak with only five minutes to go in the half and we already had our biggest deficit of the year. This would be until literally 30 seconds before time runs out for half we were awarded one last shot on a corner kick. Keegan Chastey sent in a beauty from the corner all the way to the far post where Jake Starling was awaiting the pass. Starling was then able to rise above the defender and head it home making it a 2-1 game.
The 2nd half although full of energy, never really amounted to much except for a Fusion separation Goal by Shoki Yoshida that came with 20 minutes left in the game. The Fusion started to play a little more conservative on defense and would not budge an inch for our boys. Duluth’s energy never gave out and they never gave up with many chances near the goal that just never materialized. The Fusion was able to burn out what was left on the clock and beat your BlueGreens with a final score of 3-1.
Duluth’s next match will be held back at home next Wednesday, July 6th against LA Crosse Aris FC at the Public Schools Stadium at 7 PM.
By: Ryan Tigner