by Nate Howells
In the 2nd minute of the match, the attacking Fire SC turned the ball over deep in Dakota Fusion’s defensive third. The ball fell to Fusion’s Ingrid Castro, who passed the ball cleanly to streaking midfielder Annika Greany. Fire’s midfield was caught too far up-field and struggled to get back to defend the counter. Greany’s centering pass to the top of the six-yard box found Katie Moller, who tapped it neatly past Fire SC goalkeeper Julia Clifford.
Fire SC recovered from this momentary lack of focus and quickly took control of the midfield. Playing the ball back to defenders led to great distribution. In the 8th minute, Makenzie Langdok, who is listed as a defender for Fire SC, sent a great through ball to Taylor Bare, who collided with Fusion center back Kacee Bailey in the 18-yard box. Bailey went down hard grabbing her left leg. An eerie feeling filled the stadium as she was in obvious pain. Three full minutes later, Bailey limped off the turf, with assistance. Fusion FC was forced to go to their short bench early. The lack of a deep bench in this heat was a noticeable disadvantage.
The rest of the first half saw many chances for Fire SC. If not for Fusion defenders clearing balls off the goal line twice in rapid succession, the final score could have been much more lopsided. Fire SC forward April Bockin had several great opportunities including intercepting a goal kick and immediately rocketing a bending shot just wide of the goal. Minutes later, Bockin dribbled through a crowd of defenders and found herself in the box about to take a shot when she lost her footing and also possession of the ball.
After subbing in for Langdok late in the first half, Mimi Eiden made a terrific move into the Fusion box, where she was taken down hard. The referee was not about to call for a penalty to the displeasure of the Fire SC supporters. The disappointment was short-lived as the ball rolled quickly toward the end line, but Fire SC forward Emily Sullivan was quicker. She crossed the ball in for Mariah Haberle to knock in the equalizer in the 42nd minute.
The second half was all Fire SC. In the 73rd minute, Taylor Bare won a ball in the midfield, dumped the ball to Molly Fiedler, who immediately gave it back to Bare who was about 30 yards from goal. It was clear to everyone in the stadium that Taylor was determined to score on this play, and she did not disappoint. Dribbling into the box hard and fast, Taylor ripped the ball into the lower right corner of the net, beating the diving Haley Hillstrom.
Three minutes later, Fire SC’s April Bockin took a fantastic corner kick which found the head of Erika Hjort. The ball arched back across the front of the goal and Langdok headed it into the net for the final goal of the match, securing Fire SC 98’s first three points in the WPSL North.
Fire SC 98
Goal 42’ Mariah Haberle (Emily Sullivan)
Goal 73’ Taylor Bare (Molly Fiedler)
Goal 76’ Makenzie Langdok (Erika Hjort)
Dakota Fusion FC
Goal 2’ Katie Moller (Annika Greany)
Caution 89’ Allie Zueger
(At the conclusion of each match recap, I will include items of note in this section)
Sky Above: the player who embodies creativity and opportunity during the match
#4 April Bockin (F), for her vision and positioning throughout the match, for dribbling through opponents, for taking tough-angled shots, and for the corner kick that led to the third goal.
Earth Below: the player who embodies steadiness and reliability during the match
#33 Annie Williams (D), for her consistency in stopping the opponent’s attack, for winning aerial balls, for clearances and distribution, and for dangerous free kicks from any distance
Fire Within: the player who best embodies passion and energy during the match
#27 Taylor Bare (F), for her confidence and goal-scoring mentality, and for her great movement off the ball
FiftyFive.One is now on Patreon. Do you like the independent coverage of soccer news from Minnesota and beyond that FiftyFive.One offers? Please consider becoming a patron.