The newly-formed team went on to thrash La Crosse Aris FC 4-0, with Levy only really being tested once, early on in the first half, after Aris bore down on goal following a long period of Med City possession in the visitor’s half.
Moments later in the 12th minute, German midfielder Thilo Wilke scored City’s first-ever goal in competitive play, assisted by Tiernan Talbot. Wilke was able to bring the ball down in the box after a corner was defended poorly, dribble to his right where three defenders tried in vain to close him down, and unleash a right-footed shot that flew left of the diving keeper.
“It’s amazing, it’s history,” Wilke said. “It was an amazing feeling.”
The opening goal seemed to settle a lot of nerves after an initial 10 minutes that contained some hard tackles and wayward passes.
Talbot, a local high school student (who will play soccer at Loras College in Iowa in the fall), had an excellent chance to make it two when one-on-one with the goalie after running onto a pass from Wilke. The youngster tried to guide his side-footed shot to the far right corner, but Aris FC’s keeper made a low save to push the ball around the post.
Defender Ignacio Milla found a lot of space along the right flank, making a number of overlapping runs. The Chilean continued to push forward, getting on the end of a pass to the near post after a short corner, and smacking a one-timer against the crossbar.
The extended pressure led to City’s second goal in the 41st. Though a savable shot, the Aris keeper found himself palming the effort straight up, allowing Englishman Dion Dozzell to easily nod the rebound into the goal.
Five minutes after the restart, Dozzell nodded another header down from a left-side cross from Javier Gomez that ultimately resulted in an Aris own goal.
The visiting side did not enjoy much in the way of offense, but did call subbed-in City keeper Perez Castro into action when he had to parry a shot over the bar for a corner.
City never gave up piling on pressure, and was rewarded with a fourth goal in the 87th minute. James Larson sent in a cross from the right wing that the German midfielder Wilke was able to one-time into the net from close range.
Head coach Luke Corey was happy with the result.
“We had the first-half jitters, but in the second half we regained our composure,” he said. “We started executing the things we worked on in practice and it obviously paid off with a good, hard-fought victory.”
Corey insists there is still work to do, but is confident his team will be able to play the possession tactics and system he’s hoping to instill.
Captain Midhat Mujic was happy to see about 1,500 fans come out for the match, and was busy after the final whistle, signing boots, rosters, shirts, and more.
“It was amazing to see so many people come out,” Mujic said “It shows that there’s a good soccer community in Rochester.”
Med City FC will take on the Dakota Fusion in Fargo in its next match, and plays at home again on June 7 against the Minnesota TwinStars.
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