The Crows celebrate in front of the Citizens. Image courtesy of Minneapolis City SC.


Tighter Than Ever: NPSL Matchweek Five Recap

by on 12 June 2017

After a week in which nearly every team played two games, the standings in the NPSL North are tighter than ever as the season approaches its midway point. Just three points separate the top seven teams in the conferences after Minneapolis City bounced back with two wins, Duluth kept its unblemished record going, and Dakota Fusion continued to falter after starting the season 3-0-0.

La Crosse Aris FC 0, Minneapolis City SC 8
June 7, 2017
Viterbo Sports Complex (La Crosse, Wis.)

Minneapolis City thoroughly dominated play from the first whistle, scoring three goals inside the first fifteen minutes in a game that helped the team’s goal differential tremendously. Isaac Friendt curled in the opener from twenty yards out, the Browne brothers linked up for the second as Martin played Whitney in on net, and Charlie Adams added the third in the 12th minute with a hard shot from outside the penalty area.

La Crosse stopped the bleeding for a short while, but Friendt was at it again in the 29th minute, scoring after a winding run through the defense. Connor Stevenson and Ian Smith were alone on goal just before halftime and the former gave Smith the tap-in goal opportunity to put the visitors up 5-0 at the break.

Whether City eased the attack a bit or La Crosse was more determined, the second half was less of a rout. A 58th minute penalty attempt by Friendt was saved, but the winger jumped on the rebound and finished off his hat trick. In a play similar to the Smith goal, Whitney Browne passed across the box to Ben Wexler who powered a shot past the keeper in the 66th minute. The final tally came at the 90th minute mark when Samuel Ruiz-Plaza found a way past the keeper from just outside the box.

Read Kyle Eliason’s full recap here

Up next:
La Crosse Aris FC vs. Dakota Fusion, June 14


Dakota Fusion 0, Duluth FC 6
June 7, 2017
Jim Gotta Stadium (Moorhead, Minn.)

A pair of braces launched Duluth past a nine-man Fusion side as the North Dakota team’s season continued its rollercoaster ride. Duluth opened the scoring in the 12th minute when Sean Morgan linked up with Charlie Crane. The brace was finished twenty minutes later when Crane scored again, this time assisted by Vladik Margolin.

Duluth was firmly in control by that point and added a third after Gonnie Ben-Tal was played in by Ben Cullen. Dakota’s first red card of the match came on the verge of halftime for a handball in the box. Joe Watt converted from the spot to give the Bluegreens a 4-0 lead at the break. The second half was punctuated by a high number of cautions for both teams, with Dakota’s second red card coming in the 87th minute. Ten minutes prior, Morgan had his second assist of the game, supplying for Watt’s second goal of the game. Kyle Farrar added the final goal in the 90th minute, adding to the suddenly-important goal differential.


Sioux Falls Thunder 3, VSLT FC 0
June 7, 2017
Yankton Trails Park (Sioux Falls, S.D.)

Sioux Falls notched its second win of the season with a comfortable 3-0 result at home against VSLT. It was the Limmer and Holiday show on Wednesday night. Tyler Limmer scored his second of the season in the 19th minute after Brice Holiday intercepted an errant pass and played him through on goal. Holiday got one of his own in the 51st minute to put the Thunder up 2-0 amid several cautions given out to the hosts. Limmer made it a brace in the 80th minute to send VSLT on the long trip home with no goals and no points.


Med City FC 2, Minnesota TwinStars 1
June 7, 2017
Rochester Regional Stadium (Rochester, Minn.)

The visitors let an early lead evaporate as Med City climbed to the top of the table. It was a hotly-contested game with TwinStars more confident on the back of their take-down of Dakota Fusion and Med City looking to control possession. They did so, but a booming Brian Chapman shot off underside of the crossbar landed behind the line to give the Dragons a 1-0 lead in the 29th minute.

The hosts drew level in the 47th minute when Midhat Mujic converted the penalty that left TwinStars with 10 men. The Medics took full advantage of a controversial referee performance that left both sides scratching their heads. Ayo Adebayo drove the ball across the goal and into the bottom right corner for the winner in the 77th minute, forcing the Dragons to push for an equalizer. The shorthanded visitors were unable to find one and went home empty-handed.

Read Louis Garcia’s full recap here

Up next:
Minnesota TwinStars vs. Minneapolis City SC, June 14


Minneapolis City SC 3, Sioux Falls Thunder 1
June 9, 2017
Edor Nelson Field (Minneapolis, Minn.)

Sioux Falls’ unbeaten run ended at two games, unable to capitalize as Minneapolis City was once again reduced to ten men. The Thunder scored the first goal of the game when Brice Holiday went over the top and found Michael Haight on a run behind the defenders. Haight gathered the ball and slipped it past goalkeeper Matt Elder.

Isaac Friendt continued a good week in the 17th minute with a hard shot from 25 yards out. The ball hit the keeper’s hand but continued on into the net to draw the Crows level.

A controversial second yellow shown to AJ Albers just before halftime put the hosts at a disadvantage however. Two goals were called off for the Crows within the first ten minutes of the second half, but Brandon Bye’s cross and Will Kidd’s touch in front of the net was all it took to take the lead. Bye added one of his own, slotting the ball past the diving keeper after Aaron Olson found him on a through ball. The hosts buckled down and rode the game out to their second-straight win.

Read Kyle Eliason’s full recap here

Up next:
Minneapolis City SC at Minnesota TwinStars, June 14
Sioux Falls Thunder at Med City FC, June 14


VSLT FC 3, Dakota Fusion 1
June 10, 2017
James Griffin Stadium (St. Paul, Minn.)

VSLT got back on track with a 3-1 win, taking advantage of Dakota’s midseason malaise. Ayuk Tambe got the scoring going in the 23rd minute for the hosts and doubled his team’s lead just ten minutes later. Jack Hartley pulled one back for Dakota near to halftime, but it was to be the only goal for the visitors that evening. Mauricio Mendoza Nochez sealed the game for VSLT in the 75th minute as the St. Paul team joined the three-way knot for second place at 10 points.

Up next:
VSLT FC at Duluth FC, June 14
Dakota Fusion at La Crosse Aris FC, June 14


Duluth FC 1, Med City FC 1
June 11, 2017
Public Schools Stadium (Duluth, Minn.)

Duluth had to settle for another draw against a shorthanded Med City team as both sides relied on late-game drama. Duluth bossed the game and had the majority of chances early on, forcing JC Perez Castro into tough saves all game long. The Medics played the final hour with ten men after Claudio Rivadeneira was shown straight red for reasons unknown to either team. Perez Castro kept the visitors in the game until Charlie Crane’s 87th minute goal looked like it would sink them. A 90th minute goal from Matias Pazos Dumic pulled Med City back for a draw that must have felt like a win.

Up next:
Duluth FC  vs. VSLT FC, June 14
Med City FC vs. Sioux Falls Thunder, June 14

NPSL North standings

Club Played Won Drawn Lost GD Points Possible
Med City 6 3 2 1 +5 11 35
Duluth 6 2 4 0 +10 10 34
Minneapolis City 6 3 1 2 +9 10 34
VSLT 6 3 1 2 +3 10 34
Dakota Fusion 6 3 0 3 -3 9 33
Minnesota TwinStars 6 2 2 2 +4 8 32
Sioux Falls 6 2 2 2 +2 8 32
La Crosse Aris 6 0 0 6 -26 0 24

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