Image courtesy of Louis Livingston-Garcia

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Grudge Matches Ahead and Behind: NPSL North Matchweek Four Recap

by on 30 May 2018

As is tradition for a conference in which 14 regular season games are packed into two months, the table remains tight and there was a good amount of movement in the past week. After opening the season with a draw, VSLT has won four straight to fly to the top of the conference. Rivals Minneapolis City and Duluth battled to a draw, Dakota Fusion and Med City continue to disappoint, and La Crosse Aris is not actually the worst team in the NPSL.

Dakota Fusion 3, La Crosse Aris 0
May 23, 2018
Viterbo Sports Complex (La Crosse, Wis.)

Fargo to La Crosse is a long trip, especially for a Wednesday, which might explain why last year’s conference runners-up only managed to put three past the North’s doormat. Aris, continuing to defy low expectations, held Dakota off the scoresheet until Jacob Weiler’s 53rd minute goal. Possession changed continuously as La Crosse tried to pull one back and secure a point for the first time this season, but an 80th minute foul in the box sent Aris to ten men and allowed Joel McIlroy to put home a penalty. Miah Wills tacked on a third in the 89th for good measure and Dakota earned their first points since the season opening draw with VSLT.

VSLT FC 1, Minnesota TwinStars 0
May 23, 2018
Prairie Seeds Academy (Brooklyn Park, Minn.)

VSLT secured its third straight 1-0 win, this time grinding it out against crosstown opponents Minnesota TwinStars. The conference’s best defense (two goals allowed in five games played) held strong again against a TwinStars team that had scored six goals in two games. The lone goal of the match was scored in the 52nd minute by Mauricio Mendoza Nochez.

Duluth FC 0, Med City FC 0
May 23, 2018
Rochester Regional Stadium (Rochester, Minn.)

Duluth and Med City slogged their way through a physical 0-0 draw on Wednesday night. Both teams had good opportunities in front of the opposing net, but strong defensive performances and missed offensive opportunities meant that the points were shared. Considering the start that Med City has gotten off to, shutting out Duluth and taking a point might be near enough to a win.

You can read Louis Garcia’s full report here.

Dakota Fusion 1, Minnesota TwinStars 4
May 26, 2018
Minnetonka High School (Minnetonka, Minn.)

Early season troubles continued for Dakota Fusion as they fell by another wide margin to a Twin Cities team. Nuukele Gboe opened the scoring just a quarter of an hour into the game, but that was the only offense the visitors could muster. They held TwinStars goalless until the second half, but the Dragons poured it on after the break. Chase Wright scored a minute after play resumed and then turned it into a hat trick within half an hour, scoring in the 65th and 77th minutes. Taiki Kinugawa added a fourth just before the final whistle blew and Dakota dropped further down the table as they look ahead to avenging their US Open Cup loss to Duluth.

Up next:
Dakota Fusion vs. Duluth FC, May 30
Minnesota TwinStars at La Crosse Aris, June 2

Minneapolis City SC 1, Duluth FC 1
May 26, 2018
Public Schools Stadium (Duluth, Minn.)

The latest installment in the Minneapolis-Duluth rivalry had less on-field drama than the first two meetings, ending in a draw that could have been a win for either side. City took an early lead when Will Kidd muscled past a Duluth defender and slotted the ball home. Just 15 minutes later, Garga Nyuah got in behind the Crows’ defense and beat the keeper to knot things up at 1-1. Missed chances on both ends were the theme of the second half, as a physical game tumbled along, eventually resulting in a fracas. Minneapolis City now turns its attention to the Green Line Derby and a top of the table clash with VSLT.

You can read Jake Brown’s full report here.

Up next:
Minneapolis City SC at VSLT FC, June 2
Duluth FC at Dakota Fusion, May 30

La Crosse Aris 0, VSLT FC 5
May 26, 2018
James Griffin Stadium (St. Paul, Minn.)

VSLT did exactly what was expected of a conference leading team and hung five goals on lowly Aris, although most of them came late. They did jump out to an early lead with Boris Zaraguro’s 19th minute goal and a second strike courtesy of Mark Boquin in the 35th minute. Sikiru Kareem scored in the 70th and 87th minutes to put the game away. Ruben Ruiz added the final nail in the 90th. Despite the heavy loss and lopsided goal differential thus far, La Crosse Aris is not the worst team in the NPSL this year. FC Indiana, of the Great Lakes Conference, is goalless through five games and has conceded 31 times.

Up next:
La Crosse Aris vs. Minnesota TwinStars, June 2
VSLT FC vs. Minneapolis City SC, June 2

NPSL North Standings

Club Played Won Drawn Lost GD Points Possible
VSLT 5 4 1 0 8 13 40
Minneapolis City 4 2 2 0 6 8 38
TwinStars 4 2 1 1 3 7 37
Duluth 4 1 3 0 6 6 36
Sioux Falls 4 1 1 2 3 4 34
Med City 4 1 1 2 2 4 34
Dakota Fusion 4 1 1 2 -5 4 34
La Crosse Aris 5 0 0 5 -23 0 30

 


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