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NPSL North Round Up: Week 10

City topple Duluth and grab their second NPSL North title in two years, while Med City drop points and leave Duluth able to claim second.

June 22, 2019 - Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States - Minneapolis City SC goalkeeper Matt Elder (1) takes a goal kick during a match against MapleBrook Twinstars at Edor Nelson Field.
June 22, 2019 - Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States - Minneapolis City SC goalkeeper Matt Elder (1) takes a goal kick during a match against MapleBrook Twinstars at Edor Nelson Field.
(Photo by Seth Steffenhagen/Steffenhagen Photography)

Week 10:

Saturday:

Med City FC vs MapleBrook TwinStars FC

Med City hosted what was supposed to be the beginning of their playoff run in when they hosted the TwinStars in the second to last week of play. MapleBrook, however, had other plans. Ahmed Osman and Sadra Golzarian found the back of the net in the 33rd and 45th minutes respectively to put the TwinStars up 2-0 at half time. The scoreline would remain the same for the full 90 minutes, handing Med City its first loss of the season.

The result leaves an immense amount of pressure on Med City in the final week of play when they visit Minneapolis City. A win would hand them the second place spot in the conference and a playoff run. Anything else and they’ll finish outside of the playoffs for the third year in a row.

Dakota Fusion FC vs La Crosse Aris

Aris have silenced the haters again, winning their away tie with the Dakota Fusion only weeks after beating the North Dakotan club in La Crosse. It’s the first time in years that the side has earned six points, thanks in part to Damien Baltide’s winning strike from Saturday’s well-earned, if defensive 1-0 victory. While Aris will still finish the season in last place, they’ll do it with a respectable number of points to their name after two straight seasons of only earning a single point per year.

Sunday:

Duluth FC vs Minneapolis City SC

History seemed to repeat itself this Sunday when Minneapolis City clinched their second straight NPSL North conference title by beating Duluth 4-2 in the second to last week of the regular season. All of those factors reflect exactly how the 2018 season ended, though that match was in Osseo instead of Duluth. The first half ended in City’s favor after Nick Hutton converted a penalty earned by a soft foul in the box, called after a still Alberto Ciroi got in the way of a City player’s run in on goal. City’s defense did well to repel several chances from Duluth, leaving the home side seeking results in the second half.

It was City, however, that would score in the 65th minute after Justin Oliver scored a fantastic curving right footed shot from the edge of the 18 yard box. Duluth claimed a foul against a Duluth midfielder created the play, but it was waved off it off as a 50/50. Duluth would get one back four minutes later when striker Lucas Jacobs thumped in a shot to score his third of the season. Duluth had their momentum cut short, however, when Will Kidd took a shot on target just six minutes later. The shot went straight at center back George Proctor, who missed the ball while trying to clear it. The slightly deflected ball managed to get past an utterly surprised Ciroi, making it 3-1 in the 75th minute. City would add on to the pain mere minutes later when Oliver, who had an electric game despite coming off the bench, scored an identical goal to his first.

Duluth would score off a well placed cross in the 82nd minute thanks to Aidan Hill, but the goal would be the last and Duluth would lose its first home game of the season. The result handed City the title following Med City’s loss the day before. The Crows are now back-to-back champions and will move on to the NPSL Midwest playoffs, while Duluth and Med City wait to see who will join them.

La Crosse Aris vs Sioux Falls Thunder FC

The Thunder secured their place in the second-to-last spot of the NPSL North table after beating a somewhat resurgent Aris side 2-1 in their last match of the season. Lucas Trimble scored both for Sioux Falls, enough to overcome Devon Kendhammer’s second half strike. The result will leave where they’ve been for three seasons now, second from the bottom. It also condemns LC Aris to the bottom of the table despite a vastly improved season which resulted in six points for the Wisconsin-club, four more than their total points earned over the last two NPSL seasons.

NPSL North Standings after Week 10 of the 2019 season. Minneapolis City has won the conference for the Second straight season, either Med City or Duluth will take the second playoff spot depending on this weekends results.
Ashle Norling/E Pluribus Loonum

Week 11 Schedule:

Friday:

Duluth FC vs La Crosse Aris FC

It’s a game Duluth have to, and should win, if they want to make the playoffs. While other results will determine if the BlueGreens will have space to move up the table, a win against Aris will have to be the club’s main focus going into the final days of the season. Having won their previous match up 3-0, Duluth will be favorites to at least leave it up to the Minneapolis-Med City game to determine the 2019 playoffs.

Minneapolis City SC vs Med City FC

This is the match that will decide it all. If Minneapolis win or draw, Duluth will make the playoffs. If Med City win, Med City make the playoffs. While Minneapolis don’t need more points to stay first, a win could help them earn a bye in the playoffs due to the affect it may have on their points per game (PPG). Med City have to win this match to erase a history of disappointing late season collapses, but it may well prove Minneapolis of all people who hand Duluth their third straight playoff qualification in the NPSL.

Saturday:

MapleBrook TwinStars FC vs Dakota Fusion FC

With only pride to play for, both clubs will likely aim for a result while knowing no significant affect will come if they win or lose. The TwinStars have had the stronger season by a mile but have often dropped needless points, leaving a win against the Fusion a good chance to end the year a good point tally of 19.