Matchweek 6 Recap:
Rochester United FC vs Fire SC 98
A closely contested, end-to-end matchup saw the Lions claim a victory. Rochester had the ball ricochet off the frame from Ana Sanchez Garcia in the 15th minute, only to see Fire breakaway down the other end through Hartkemeyer and take the lead less than a minute later. The equalizer came in the 24th minute as Dalmedico rifled a free kick into the center of the goal from 25 yards out on the left edge. Rochester sealed the win after Dalmedico followed up on her own saved penalty to beat the keeper to the rebound in the 58th minute.
Dakota Fusion FC vs Fire SC 98
Fusion notched a second win of the season after another close match against Fire, this time in a windy Moorhead. Ellie Schneider broke the deadlock from a corner in the 25th minute. Fire then took the majority of the possession before a 66th minute breakaway was finished with a chip over the visiting keeper by Laura Powell. Five minutes later, the visitors returned fire with an almost identical setup and a smart finish by Lauren Johnson from 30 yards out. The last goal of the evening saw Brookelyn Dew finish off a pass from her NDSU team mate Mariah Haberle - a former Fire player - in the 85th minute.
Rochester United FC vs Salvo SC
Salvo lived up to their name with a 5 star performance in Rochester. Meredith Haakenson opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the 17th minute and the home team kept it close for the rest of the half before the visitors got two goals in a minute from Makenzie Langdok in the 55th and 56th minutes. Preston added a header from a corner before an own goal completed the scoring in the 86th minute.
Fire SC 98 vs Rochester United FC
After dropping the match in Rochester earlier in the week Fire 98 came out finally firing on all cylinders with a 3-0 home victory over the Lions. Ashley St. Aubin notched herself a brace with two first half goals while Annika Fingal scored in the second half to seal the home victory and clean sheet for Fire 98.
Matchweek 7 Recap:
Mankato United SC vs Salvo SC
A Kugler goal from an Atkinson pass deflected by the keeper within the first ten minutes proved to be the decider for Salvo SC at a wet and blustery Caswell Park, even though Kato had a number of good chances down the left with Vetter continuing to show her class and speed, albeit without the sharpness of finishing on a slick pitch.
Maplebrook Fury vs Rochester United
Rochester came into Maple Grove on the back of a moral boosting win against Fire and took everything that Fury could throw at them before finally succumbing in the 71st minute. Johnson and Odmark gave the home side a 2-0 lead before the 25 minute mark but Rochester rallied in the last minutes of the first half, with goals from Ramafifi and Mushtaq tying it up. Odmark notched her second goal of the game to secure the three points for Maplebrook to avoid a potential slip-up.
Salvo SC vs Fire SC 98
An inconsistent season for Fire continued with yet another goal from St Aubin equalizing Salvo’s Gopher made go ahead from Patricia Ward and it was there that it stayed as misplaced passes and inefficient finishing left the two local rivals tied.
Fire SC 98 vs Rochester United FC
Fire avenged their loss to Rochester with a comfortable 3-0 victory courtesy of goals from St Aubin twice within 5 mins and then Fingal in the second half.
Dakota Fusion vs Mankato United
Fusion began a weekend of home fixtures by facing off against a Mankato squad showing some good results whilst failing to challenge for the playoffs. Marisa Schulz opened the scoring on 15 minutes, capitalizing on a disasterous clearance from the Fusion goalkeeper, who saw the ball volleyed back past her. It was there that it stayed through the hour mark before the visitors doubled their lead, again through Schulz, in the 67th minute after her low driven corner beat everyone and ended up in the goal. The victory, and a strong personal performance, was complete when Jenny Vetter made it three with a solo burst of speed from the half way line, dribbled around the keeper to score just before the end.
Dakota Fusion vs Maplebrook Fury
Fury came into Moorhead fighting Salvo for the sole berth in the WPSL playoffs but were outplayed for the majority of the game. Salvo took the lead after 10 minutes when a thunderbolt free kick from outside the area crashed back off the crossbar and to the feet of Karina Gilson, who converted. Fusion equalized in the 60th minute as they broke purposefully down the left wing and Megan Phillips turned her defender inside out inside the box before laying it on for Lauren Hodny. Fury showed their ruthlessness, claiming all three points with a flurry of goals in stoppage time. The go ahead goal which was greeted by bemusement from players and fans alike when the referee indicated it had indeed gone in but the third goal for the visitors was more clear cut, with a long clearance up field being met by Linnea Yacovella ahead of the onrushing Fusion goalie.
Mankato United SC vs Fire SC 98
Kato had a number of chances before Annie Williams proved to be the difference maker, with a goal in the 19th minute, with close control inside the penalty area and defensive mistakes combining to set up the chance.
Mankato United SC vs Rochester United
The early week match saw the two sides trade blows, beginning with a long range screamer by Annie Williams. After Rochester equalized, Julia Zach put the home side ahead again with an authoritative finish off the post. The Lions secured a second equalizer in the 44th minute but Kato scored the last goal of the game even before half time.
Matchweek 8 Schedule*:
Mankato United SC v Maplebrook Fury
The final weekend in WPSL play opens up with a match that could possibly decide the season. Salvo sits three points up on Maplebrook and 6 points up on Mankato with these two having two matches left and Salvo only have one to play. A win for Mankato will put them three points back from Salvo with a match against them on Sunday to end the season and anything but a win for United will end their season after Sunday. Maplebrook is in a less desperate situation being only three points back with a match against Rochester but they’ll still want to come out with a win and will pull out all the stops to do so.
Dakota Fusion FC v Rochester United
In terms of the 2019 playoffs, there is nothing on the line for either the expansion side or their second year opponents. Don’t try telling anyone in the stands at Moorhead High or on the stream that, though. Wins are valuable and Fusion’s plans for next season can be sketched out and tested in the real-life context of a match, before these hard-working amateurs head back to work or to college (or in some cases, high school even). The strength of the respective support for the men’s and women’s teams of Dakota Fusion will doubtless be reflected in the crowds for the matches in this double header, but the women going first may curb any benefit they might accrue.
Salvo SC v Mankato United
With the final day of the season having matches at separate kickoff times this could be the penultimate match of the season depending on Friday’s result. A win for Salvo will almost certainly give them the title and the playoff spot in their first season in the league. For Mankato they look to give a strong showing against a side they lost just 1-0 against. Regardless of Friday’s result if Mankato can win or draw against Salvo they either put themselves or Maplebrook in decent position to knock Salvo off the top of the ladder.
Rochester United v Maplebrook Fury
The final game of the 2019 WPSL North Conference season has the last place Lions of Rochester hosting a Maplebrook side that absolutely must win. The Fury could be coming into this game down more points depending on Friday’s result and Salvo’s earlier in the day so a draw isn’t an option for the team. While Rochester can’t do much for themselves standings wise they can potentially play spoiler to Maplebrook by winning or even forcing a draw.
*For exact kickoff times, locations, and tickets, visit the websites of the home club, which can be found by clicking the italicized team.