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NPSL North Roundup: Week 2

Another week of NPSL action saw Duluth and TwinStars draw, City start the season with a win, and Sioux Falls dominate the scoreline at home against Aris.

May 11, 2019 - Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States - Dakota Fusion midfielder Hartrick Tarr (22) lunges out to break up the run of Minneapolis City SC forward Will Kidd (12) during the Minneapolis City SC vs Dakota Fusion FC match at Edor Nelson Field. 

(Photo by Seth Steffenhagen/Steffenhagen Photography)
May 11, 2019 - Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States - Dakota Fusion midfielder Hartrick Tarr (22) lunges out to break up the run of Minneapolis City SC forward Will Kidd (12) during the Minneapolis City SC vs Dakota Fusion FC match at Edor Nelson Field. (Photo by Seth Steffenhagen/Steffenhagen Photography)

Week 2:

Duluth FC vs. MapleBrook TwinStars

Coming off of a tough U.S. Open Cup match up against the Des Moines Menace, which Duluth lost in a penalty shootout after drawing 1-1, the BlueGreens returned home to host the TwinStars. Both meetings between the two clubs in 2018 were eventful, with 9 goals scored between the two matches. Saturday’s showing would prove in the same vein, as the TwinStars scored in the 45th and 55th minutes, due to a fantastic solo play by Sikiru Kareem and an own goal off a set piece. Duluth would fight until the 80th minute for their first taste of a comeback as debutee Damia Viader beat the keeper to a loose ball, scoring his first for the club with a strong header.

The equalizer would come in the final moments of the game, when Ronaldo Fortune dealt in a strong cross into the box, one which proved too strong for a defender who spiked into his own net. Both camps proved positive in the end, with the TwinStars earning a strong road point, while Duluth could feel happy that the squad reacted well to a poor first hour of play.

Minneapolis City vs. Dakota Fusion

The Crows marked their return to Augsburg’s Edor Nelson Field and the city of Minneapolis with a hard fought 2-1 win against a Fusion side which had lost the last two games against City handily. Fusion began the game on the front foot and had a penalty awarded in the 9th minute after Archie Suah was brought down by Matt Elder. After a bizarre exchange around the spot, Jacques Ncengetere - who had had his back to the goal - had his shot saved low to the goalkeeper’s right. Max Kent ended up being at the heart of the match’s remaining minutes when he collected a goal in the 33rd minute, an assist in the 43rd and a bruise in the 80th after Fusion’s Emra Beljulji was given a straight red card for starting a violent altercation with the defender following a clearance.

May 11, 2019 - Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States - Minneapolis City SC forward Justin Oliver (9) takes a strike on goal during the Minneapolis City SC vs Dakota Fusion FC match at Edor Nelson Field. 

(Photo by Seth Steffenhagen/Steffenhagen Photography)
May 11, 2019 - Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States - Minneapolis City SC forward Justin Oliver (9) takes a strike on goal during the Minneapolis City SC vs Dakota Fusion FC match at Edor Nelson Field. (Photo by Seth Steffenhagen/Steffenhagen Photography)

Down to ten men, the raucous crowd might have expected City to go further ahead but the fragility of early season defense was exposed again when a ball remained uncleared and Archie Suah completed his own muscular evening with a goal in the 85th minute.

Sioux Falls vs. La Crosse Aris

Both Sioux Falls and Aris were the topic of speculation and curiosity ahead of this game. Sioux Falls played better than the scoreline showed against Duluth, but Aris are always looking to jump on the club that assumes too much of them. That wasn't the case on Saturday when Sioux Falls beat the Wisconsin-club 4-0. While that kind of result doesn't always equal bigger results, Sioux Falls have shown they have things on track and will look to cause some trouble. The ability to get a few goals and keep a clean sheet will be anything but bad for the club’s aims this season.

NPSL North Standings after Week 2. The top two clubs at the end of the season will qualify for the NPSL Midwest Region Playoffs.
Ashle Norling/E Pluribus Loonum

Week 3 Schedule*:

Minneapolis City SC vs. La Cross Aris

After a tough but eventually positive 2-1 win against the Dakota Fusion, City will host La Crosse Aris in an ideal opportunity to start the year with two victories. With Sioux Falls managing to be dominant in their own match against the Wisconsin-club, the match may prove a chance for City to build their goal count. However, the reigning conference champions will likely treat the match up with La Crosse with care, as the often-underestimated Aris managed to grab a point from City last season in a 0-0 draw in La Crosse.

Dakota Fusion FC vs. Duluth FC

Fusion’s tough schedule continues with a home opener against the Midwest regional champion BlueGreens. Following the red card in the previous game, a reshuffle for the new coach will be inevitable. Duluth FC travel up to Moorhead following a rallying 2-2 draw against MapleBrook, and will be seeking to claim 3 points. It’s a match Duluth will be hungry to win after dropping two points at home and a game the Fusion would love to get something from after keeping things relatively close against City.

Sioux Falls Thunder FC vs. Med City FC

Med City have yet to play in the NPSL this summer, though they did beat Granite City 3-1 in a friendly this week. Their first opponent will be an interesting one, the Sioux Falls Thunder. As was mentioned above, the Thunder have shown they have pieces to fear, and a late season opener may just provide the South Dakotan club with the perfect platform for an upset. With that said, Med City have yet to complete a season without being one of the toughest teams to play in the conference. If they’ve managed to recapture the magic of the last two years, this may well be the start of a strong run in Rochester.

*For exact kickoff times, locations, and tickets, visit the websites of the home club, which can be found by clicking the italicized team.