Duluth Dominate Dakota to Earn Second Home Win

Duluth FC vs. Dakota Fusion
Duluth, MN
6.14.19 | Game 7

Current 2019 Records (W-L-T):
Duluth: 2-0-2; 3-0-0 at home/on the road
Dakota: 1-2-0; 1-4-0 at home/on the road

Lineup: George Proctor, Brooks Rice, James Westfield, Jake Starling, Dodi Barberio, Carlyle Junior, Damia Viader, Soham Kathuria, Sullivan Lauderdale, Ronaldo Fortune, Roberto Hernandez
Substitutions: Nico Torres for Dodi Barberio, Dana Kowachek for Brooks Rice, Aidan Hill for Soham Kathuria, Julio Neto for Ronaldo Fortune, Charlie Evans for James Westfield, Liam Condone for Roberto Hernandez

Goals:
‘1 – Brooks Rice
’19 – Carlyle Junior
’30 – Carlyle Junior
’35 – Carlyle Junior
’58 – James Westfield
’63 – Dana Kowachek
’72 – Carlyle Junior

On a night when Duluth needed three points, the BlueGreens delivered with the club’s biggest win of the season. The seven goals Duluth put past the Dakota Fusion would pass Duluth’s previously best score of 3-0 in Fargo by four.

The first half started as any club can hope, with a goal in the first minute as Brooks Rice found George Proctor’s cross to give Duluth a particularly early lead. Carlyle Junior would add to the magic with three goals from the 19th to 35th minutes, scoring his first hat trick for the club and in the NPSL.

Junior’s first goal would come after a cross was deflected by a defender before being fed back into the box. Junior would strike a calm ball into the back of the net from near the penalty spot to score his first goal since Duluth’s 2-0 win against Sioux Falls in the first week of the season. Junior would then be fed a through ball, going one on one with the keeper to get his second. Finally, Junior would receive another chance at a shot from the edge of the box, scoring his third with perhaps his best attempt of the match. The score line read 4-0 at half time.

With a strong hold on the game already clear at the beginning of the second half, several substitutions began to be made. Duluth would add three more goals in the second half. James Westfield would score his fourth of the season via a cross from Soham Kathuria to make it 5-0, with substitute Dana Kowachek following instead five minutes later when he tapped in his first of the season.

With the game well over, Carlyle scored a fourth goal in the 72nd minute to truly end the match. The match was Duluth’s fourth clean sheet of the season and third win in a row following wins away at Minneapolis and Sioux Falls. Duluth remain undefeated in league play this season through seven matches, only losing their U.S. Open Cup match in a PK shootout.

Carlyle Junior is now Duluth’s top goal scorer with five league goals and one U.S. Open Cup goal to his name, while James Westfield provides a strong case for second place with four goals. Junior has now scored more goals than any Duluth player did in the regular season last year, when Ryan Tyrer and Dana Kowachek both scored four regular season goals to top the list.

Roberto Hernandez made his first start of the season in this match after appearing as a substitute on several occasions.

The result also represents Duluth’s fourth clean sheet of the season, with the other three coming against the Dakota Fusion and Sioux Falls. Duluth have now won five games and tied two, only dropping points at home in the second and fourth weeks of play. With another five games awaiting the BlueGreens, challenges await as both Minneapolis City and Med City apply pressure from below and above on the NPSL North table respectively. All three still have a match to play against the other, meaning the battle for the North is far from over.