Bluegreens Take Down Fusion

Duluth FC vs. Dakota Fusion FC

Denfeld Public Schools Stadium | Duluth, MN

June 18th, 2022 | Game #8 Current 2022: Records (W-L-T):

Duluth:5-0-0; 2-1-0 at home/on the road

Dakota:1-1-1; 1-2-2 at home/on the road

Starting XI: Wynand Wessels, Martin Grzywa, Peter Oyentunji, Blake Perry, Diego Valle, Kostyantyn Domaratskyy, Cian Gantley, Andres Solares, Jake Starling, Jessie Juarez, Michael Garrihy

A not-so-photo finish for the Fusion as the Bluegreens take over and win 3-1 

It was a brisk and windy day in Duluth today for the Dakota Fusion FC to come into town and take on your Duluth BlueGreens. It was also Grandma’s Marathon as well and a sweet 50 degrees all day long which the runners both in the streets and on the field could be thankful for. However, come game time it began to drizzle which turned into an all-out downpour when the half had ended, which made the field slick and blurred the vision for some on the field. The game, regardless, was intense and we got some flashy plays throughout the match. 

The Bluegreens came out with alot of energy at the beginning of the match putting pressure on absolutely anybody who even came near the ball. Jake Starling was the main perpetrator of many chase downs and forced turnovers. Grzywa and Juarez also did an excellent job holding down the back line and sending beautiful clears into our midfielder’s stride all game long. Some of this defense turnded into offense when Solares was able to lob the ball on an inbound pass that deflected off a defender who whiffed on a kick. The ball was then placed right in front of Diego Valle who faked the shot and slid it to Domaratskyy who does a smooth slide stride with a quick kick and a beautiful shot for the first goal of the game at the 6th-minute mark. 

Dakota was not looking like they came ready to play as they had a tough time maintaining possession for long enough to even create space for a good look at the goal. This was also a result of poor passing as they just could not get things clicking offensively. They also struggled through the whole half with switching with their defenders which let the BlueGreens have pretty clear lanes for easy passes back and forth. It became apparent near the end of the half they were getting a little antsy as their defense became more aggressive. This also hurt the Fusion because this restlessness led to some premature clears that looked like they were doing it for the sake of rest instead of generating a possession. 

The BlueGreens were sure to take advantage of these mistakes and our forwards tried to make the absolute most of their opportunities with the ball. Peter Oyetunji was able to control the ball around the 41st-minute mark when he delivered a strike on the net. The Goalkeeper was able to make the save but the ball ricocheted to the corner for Oyetunji to get to yet again. He then passed it over to Diego Valle who facilitated a nifty pass to Domaratskyy who knocked it home for his second of the and 5th of the season. 

The Second half started and all the players were still getting drenched as the rain continued but lightened up about 10 minutes into the half. This half was more of an ariel battle than the first. Both teams were sending the ball on long clearing passes in an attempt to get one player to break free. But not much came of this strategy for either side and the teams started to think more outside of the box to penetrate the zone. These tactics helped set up a free kick for Duluth about halfway into the second half. This kick would land smack dab in a group of people and the play turned into a scramble. The ball eventually popped out to the corner right to Jake Starling, who has all the time to chip a perfect pass right on Wynand Wessel’s foot. Wessels then, out of mid-air, launches the ball into the upper corner of the net and scores putting the home team up 3-0. 

As the game roared on each side continued to generate more opportunities but were halted by either the swarming defenders or the goalies whom both played on their heads tonight and made some spectacular saves even late into the game. This hardnose gameplay continued until extra-time in the match when the Fusion was finally able to clear one to an open man and some miscommunication by Garrihy and the defenders resulted in a shot on an open net which ends the match at 3-1.

Duluth’s next match will be held back at home next Saturday, June 22nd against Minnesota Twinstars FC at the Maple Grove Crimson Stadium at 7 PM.

By: Ryan Tigner