Image courtesy of Med City FC


Crunch Time: NPSL North Matchweek Six Recap

by on 19 June 2017

The NPSL North reached its halfway point on Wednesday as each team completed their seventh league match of the season. In a regular season that lasts just two months, quite a bit remains undecided and it’s anyone’s conference to win. Med City extended their lead at the top of the pile with two wins this week, Dakota Fusion got back on track with the same results, and La Crosse Aris inched closer to elimination from playoff contention.

Minnesota TwinStars 2, Minneapolis City SC 0

June 14, 2017
Minnetonka High School Stadium (Minnetonka, Minn.)

Minnesota TwinStars bounced back from a tough loss in Rochester to get a win against Minneapolis City. If this wasn’t a rivalry before their first meeting, it certainly is now. TwinStars came out firing on all cylinders, dictating play for much of the first half and forcing the Crows to adapt to a rough-and-tumble style of play. On the edge of halftime, the Dragons were awarded a penalty which was calmly put away by Karim Darbaki to give the hosts a 1-0 halftime lead. The play in the second half became much more physical as City searched for an equalizer. In the 57th minute, Darbaki sealed his brace with a heads up play, jumping in front of Matt Elder’s attempt to clear the ball. It bounced off of him and into the back of the net. The physical play continued until an altercation prompted the referee to whistle the game finished with 89:30 on the clock. After a delay, Tyler Oliver was issued a red card and the game was resumed. Minneapolis City was unable to capitalize on the man advantage and extended stoppage time.

Read Kyle Eliason’s full recap here


La Crosse Aris FC 1, Dakota Fusion 3
June 14, 2017
Viterbo Sports Complex (La Crosse, Wis.)

Dakota Fusion righted the ship after two losses in a row with a 3-1 win over La Crosse. The loss ensured that Aris would go four calendar years without a win.


Duluth FC 1, VSLT FC 4
June 14, 2017
Public Schools Stadium (Duluth, Minn.)

The standings got even tighter after VSLT climbed back up with a 4-1 away win over Duluth. A cold fog made for an interesting experience on the field, as the hosts got out to an early lead with Kyle Farrar’s 14th minute goal. VSLT would score the first of four unanswered goals just six minutes after Duluth’s opener courtesy of Pedro Matias Diaz Galeano. The visitors took the lead near halftime with a goal from Mauricio Mendoza Nochez. VSLT would add to its lead late in the game with a Mark Boquin strike in the 84th minute and a Ruben Ruiz insurance goal in the 90th.


Med City FC 3, Sioux Falls Thunder 1
June 14, 2017
Rochester Regional Stadium (Rochester, Minn.)

Med City seemed to have put the game away early on, but Sioux Falls fought back in a game that ended with three red cards being issued. Jake Turnbull found Thilo Wilke in front of the net for the first goal in the 6th minute and doubled the lead within the next minute thanks to Dion Dozzell. The 25th minute saw Dozzell finish off his brace to give the hosts a 3-0 lead before the half hour mark. Matias Pazos Dumic was shown straight red in the 42nd minute and the Medics were forced to play the entire second half with ten men. Sioux Falls took advantage of the extra player and put the pressure on, but failed to score until Gonzalo Ledesma’s shot off the crossbar went over the line in the 83rd minute. Med City’s Ignacio Garrido and the Thunder’s Ibrahim Diomande both received their second yellows in the 90th minute and the game finished 9 vs. 10.


Dakota Fusion 2, Sioux Falls Thunder 0
June 16, 2017
Jim Gotta Stadium (Moorhead, Minn.)

Sioux Falls fell to its second straight loss, this time dooming themselves with a first half own goal. Both teams were playing for the second time in three days, but Dakota only made use of one substitution midway through the second half. An own goal from Sioux Falls in the 15th minute gave the home team enough breathing room to sit back, only scoring again when Jade Johnson put the ball in the back of the net in the 50th minute. Dakota held on to move back up into second place in the conference after stumbling earlier in the month.

Up next:
Dakota Fusion at Duluth FC, June 21
Sioux Falls Thunder at VSLT FC, June 23


Minneapolis City SC 2, VSLT FC 1
June 17, 2017
Edor Nelson Field (Minneapolis, Minn.)

Minneapolis City came from a goal down to complete the season sweep of the Green Line Derby as VSLT went a man down with an hour to play. The visitors from St. Paul were in control early on and were rewarded in the 13th minute by Ayuk Tambe’s goal. Tambe made a good move at the top of the box and shot through traffic past a diving Peter Runquist, sparking additional chances for VSLT in the subsequent minutes. They kept the pressure on even after Raul Guzman’s red card for denying Will Kidd a goal scoring opportunity in the 36th minute. It took until the hour mark, but City found an equalizer from Trey Benhart’s head off a corner. Kidd got redemption ten minutes later, poking the ball past Jose Herrera for the game winner. A late scramble in front of the Crows’ net looked like it could spoil things for the hosts, but the defense held and City took all three points.

Read Kyle Eliason’s full recap here

Up next:
Minneapolis City SC vs. La Crosse Aris FC, June 21
VSLT FC vs. Sioux Falls Thunder, June 23


La Crosse Aris FC 2, Med City FC 3
June 17, 2017
Viterbo Sports Complex (La Crosse, Wis.)

La Crosse lost its closest match yet and nearly pulled off a shock upset of the conference’s first place team after Med City rushed out to another 3-0 first half lead. Chances were even for the first quarter of an hour, but the visitors struck paydirt in the 17th minute when James Larson met a cross into the box with his head. After five minutes and several corners for the Medics, Dion Dozzell finally finished one to give his team a 2-0 lead. Dozzell was at it again in the 27th minute for his brace as he and Pepe Cejudo kept the opposing keeper busy until halftime. Aris cut the lead to two in the 66th minute with a goal from Evan Espelien. The hosts got their second, the most they’ve scored in one game this season, in the 77th minute courtesy of Hussien Alrubayee. It was a good effort, but not quite enough as Med City retained its spot at the top of the table.

Up next:
La Crosse Aris FC at Minneapolis City SC, June 21
Med City FC at Minnesota TwinStars, June 21


Duluth FC 3, Minnesota TwinStars 1
June 17, 2017
Public Schools Stadium (Duluth, Minn.)

Duluth took another early lead in a back and forth game between teams fighting for a playoff spot. The seventh minute saw Joe Watt bury a penalty kick after being tripped up by the TwinStars’ goalkeeper in the box. Both teams had good chances until Chase Wright found the back of the net and equalized for the visitors in the 24th minute. Duluth took control after allowing the goal, eventually retaking the lead in the 40th minute thanks to Kyle Farrar heading the ball on net. Farrar made it a brace fifteen minutes into the second half knocking a free kick in off the post. TwinStars gave the Bluegreens all they could handle for the next thirty minutes but only broke through in added time, Brian Chapman scoring in the 95th minute. The win keeps Duluth level with Minneapolis City and VSLT on points, all three teams two back of a playoff spot.

Up next:
Duluth FC vs. Dakota Fusion, June 21
Minnesota TwinStars vs. Med City FC, June 21


NPSL North standings

Club Played Won Drawn Lost GD Points Possible
Med City 8 5 2 1 +9 17 35
Dakota Fusion 8 5 0 3 +1 15 33
Minneapolis City 8 4 1 3 +8 13 31
VSLT 8 4 1 3 +3 13 31
Duluth 8 3 4 1 +8 13 31
TwinStars 8 3 2 3 +5 11 29
Sioux Falls 8 2 2 4 -2 8 26
La Crosse Aris 8 0 0 8 -29 0 18

NPSL first tiebreaker is head to head results between the tied teams.

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