Week two of the 2021 NPSL North season has come and gone and two more clubs opened the first part of their 12 match league slate. Med City FC would host Sioux Falls Thunder while La Crosse Aris headed up to St. Louis Park to face Joy Athletic. This left only one club, Duluth FC, without having played a match through the first two matches of the 2021 season.
Minneapolis City SC vs Dakota Fusion FC
The Crows flew by Fusion at Edor Nelson Field to continue their perfect start to the season, following up a neatly placed Max Stiegwardt opener with a blistering 5 goal second half against a Fusion side reduced to 10 men in the 23rd minute when Aaron Pike was sent off for his second bookable offence in 8 minutes.
Medo Youssef compounded the pressure with a goal virtually from the second half kickoff and added number three on the hour mark, when he hit the crossbar from a chipped pass onto the edge of the box. A four minute burst by Lionel Vang bagged him a pair, in contrasting styles, with a blast from far out followed by a penalty. The home town happiness was capped by Javier Juarez in the 87th minute, finishing off a deflected pass with ease.
Med City FC vs Sioux Falls Thunder
Med City opened their 2021 campaign with a home match against the 0-1 Thunder at Rochester Regional Stadium on the RCTC Campus in Rochester. Sioux Falls would open up what would end up being a barn burner of a match with a 4th minute goal by Stevenson Storm he scored again in the 10th minute after the Med City keeper misplayed the ball. Med City would strike back in the 18th minute with Ayrton Redmore scoring on a header off a corner kick. Just before the end of the first half Med City would even up the score at two with another goal by Redmore.
Sioux Falls would open up the second half with a 52nd minute goal by Stephen Ayodele once again off a corner. Med City would draw the match even with yet another goal off a corner kick in the 84th minute. The Mayhem would end the home match with a 90th plus minute goal by Joshua Balsiger, which seemed to be the way to win on Saturday night, off a set piece free kick.
Joy Athletic vs La Crosse Aris FC
For the vast majority of this game, the team from St Louis Park were living up to their name and showing the joy that can be the beautiful game. Joy began on the front foot, scoring within the opening minute through Iwe before seemingly sealing a win with a second goal off a defensive error by Aris in the 60th minute, with Whitney Browne continuing his form for his new team.
However, the carefree mentality of Joy was to prove their undoing as a comfortable two goal cushion evaporated in stoppage time with a scorcher into the far corner after a mazy run, followed by a defensive error of their own by Joy let in the Wisconsin team for a well-earned point.
Dakota Fusion FC vs Med City FC
Fusion head home with their heads in their hands and look to a home crowd, or at the very least a bus-trip free weekend, to re-energize their squad after an ugly start to the season. A home match also sometimes provides for different players to be available.
The visitors from Rochester, on the other hand, come to Jim Gotta Stadium having scrapped out a win against Sioux Falls and could easily ride momentum back out of town.
Duluth FC vs Joy Athletic
After allowing Aris to come back and draw last weekend Joy Athletic will leave St. Louis Park for the first time as they head up to the Wolf’s Head to face Duluth FC. Joy Athletic’s 1-0-1 record with four points isn’t anything to shake a stick at, especially for an expansion club in this division.
Duluth will come back to play for the first time since the summer of 2019. After a tough ending to that season the BlueGreens will be looking to take back the division crown and try and prevent a Minneapolis City three-peat. If you watch any match this weekend, this is the one to watch.
La Crosse Aris FC vs Minneapolis City SC
Minneapolis City SC is once again showing that “the cream will rise to the top” as they are 2-0-0 with 6 points, 9 goals, and 2 clean sheets through the first two matches. The Crows are absolutely showing everyone that even with the pandemic that they have not missed a beat.
Aris on the other hand are 0-1-1 with a single point. However Aris did spoil Joy Athletic’s second match, coming back from down 2-0 to draw even in the closing moments of the match. This is another match that if you can watch you should but also could easily end in the Crows routing another club.