Duluth FC vs. Dakota Fusion
Jim Gotta Stadium | Moorhead, MN
July 10th, 2021 | Game #11
Current 2021 Records (W-L-T):
Duluth: 4-1-0; 4-2-0 at home/on the road
Fusion: 2-4-0; 1-4-0 at home/on the road
Starting XI: Brendan Dally, Jake Starling, Liam Condone, Alex Pike, Scott Wilson, Aidan Hill, Dylan Sumner, Caleb Tammi, Keegan Chastey, James Westfield, Sidney Warden
Substitutions: Danny Torres, Eric Watson, Gloire Luwara, José Bonifasi, Scott McCarthy
3′ – James Westfield (DFC)
32′ – Sidney Warden (DFC)
75′ – Aaron Pike (Fusion)
Duluth traveled to Moorhead, Minnesota on Saturday, days after a 6-0 win over La Crosse Aris, to play their final away match of the season and second to last match of the entire season. Duluth played the Fusion early in the season, resulting in a 4-0 home win which started a fantastic run of form that included two wins against Med City and one against Joy Athletic.
James Westfield would score an early opener for Duluth, who generally dominated the first half, making it five goals for him this season. Smart play with the ball at his feet and a powerful shot from inside the box would earn him his goal. Sidney Warden would find the second goal of the night, catching the keeper by surprise as he looked to control the ball with his feet and sneaking in his 15th goal of the season, meaning he’s now scored more goals in one season in all competitions than any other Duluth FC player before. The first half would end 2-0 in Duluth’s favor.
Duluth would control much of the second half, but the Fusion would find the next goal sometime later as Aaron Pike slotted in a long-ranged strike in the 75th minute to cut Duluth’s lead in half. It would be a sour moment for an otherwise positive performance from the BlueGreens backline and Brendan Dally, who had made a several key saves through the night.
Dally would make a point blank save minutes after the goal to prevent an equalizer. As the half progressed, the Fusion became the dominant side, peppering Duluth with shots and chances. Dally would prove vital, making several saves as the clock trickled toward extra time.
The night’s starting eleven would mark several returns from the last match, which saw some players rotated. Brendan Dally notably returned in goal, while the likes of Liam Condone and Keegan Chastey returned to the outfield ten. Aidan Hill also made his return after a brief red card suspension.
Dylan Sumner would earn the Man of the Match nomination from Head Coach Sean Morgan and his staff. Sumner provided a skillful and physical performance in the midfield on the night, helping both in the first half’s attacking bursts and the second half’s gritty defending. The Englishman has frequently been a key figure this season and showed again tonight why he’s so often a name to look for in the match day squad.
It would end 2-1 to Duluth, a messy but deserved win to improve their road record to four wins and two losses. While less flashy than some of Duluth’s other results this season, it means the BlueGreens are back on a win streak after their loss to Minneapolis City, a streak they can extend to three in a week.
Duluth now head home to play their final regular season match against Sioux Falls on July 16th. If Duluth win that game, they will cement their place in the NPSL playoffs regardless of how Med City performs against Minneapolis City and La Crosse Aris in their final two matches.