Wednesday evening’s match between the Medics and Crows was an important one. Each team sits atop the North Conference of the National Premier Soccer League, with Rochester’s team still in first in the standings after the chaotic night.
Med City FC commanded the first half of its home match against Minneapolis SC, but didn’t find a goal in the first half after crashing a shot off of the post and hitting the side netting. They really should have made their dominance known with a couple of goals, and it did come back to bite them. The entire first half was all Med City as they spent most of the match time in the Crows half, setting up chance after chance (one where Francisco Neto missed a sitter just in front of goal from a cross).
The Crows also had two half-chances in the first half to put their stamp on the game at the Rochester Regional Stadium, but it wasn’t until the second half that things would get going as far as scoring goes.
Neto netted his seventh goal of the season on a penalty kick — it wasn’t quite clear if a hand-ball was called or a shove — but he put it away with aplomb as the Crows ‘keeper went the wrong way.
It was just reward for Neto. A midfielder last season, he’s been a revelation up front this one, starring in a team that pushes up field, constantly applying pressure akin to Liverpool FC in the English Premier League.
“I’ve never played up before,” Neto said after the match. “A point here, we’re kind of happy, but at home we need to get a win.”
Med City head coach Neil Cassidy said he noticed the game shifting in the second half, though he thought his side should have been up about three goals after the first half. It was just one of those nights for the home side, where a 90th-minute Crows goal was a reminder of a last-minute goal Duluth FC had at the same site in 2017 that took Med City’s destiny out of its hand as far as winning the league went.
The Crows’ athletic director, Adam Pribyl said his team knew what they had to do the second half.
“I have a lot of respect for Med City, because they play really good soccer” Pribyl said. “We had trouble figuring out their pressure in the first half. But as soon as we started moving around a couple pieces, I think that everyone saw the second half we were dominant. We had the ball in their half, we had the lion’s share of possession, started to get some actual shots on goal. As soon as we started to put pressure on them, they had a hard time responding. I think it could have gone either way, but I think it’s a well-deserved point.”
And Med City did have trouble. It was apparent after Neto scored his goal that the Crows woke up and started to threaten. It seemed that it was only a matter of time until they scored, and they did, in the 90th minute.
Med City still remains at the top of the league. And for now, Cassidy is still just plugging along with his team.
“You just take one game at a time,” Cassidy said.