In what will go down as one of the most back-and-forth, stressful, and amazing nights in Duluth FC history, Duluth FC beat Dakota Fusion to advance to the next round of the U.S. Open Cup. In the course of the 120 minutes played, Duluth would go down 0-1, go up 3-1, tie up at 3-3, and then again at 4-4. Needless to say many goals were scored. After a slow start that led to a goal for Dakota in the first 15 seconds, Duluth packed on three goals, one from Ricardo Ramos, one from Joe Watt, and one an own goal created brilliantly by Sean Morgan’s corner. The successes of the first half, born from a mixture of long balls and build up play, would prove necessary as the Dakota grabbed two quick goals at the beginning of the second half.
More drama would follow as Ramos built on his fantastic debut and put us up 4-3, only for Jacob Weiler to equalize at the 63rd minute. The 93rd minute would bring the boiling point of the match as Ivan Adika was shown a red for his attempt at a 50/50 ball dropping from the air. The BlueGreens would play the rest of the match a man down, fighting their way to a penalty shoot out. Deadly penalties from Santiago Castro, Watt, and Vladik Margolin would counter a save by Alberto Ciroi and two misses by Dakota players, giving Duluth FC the win.
Duluth FC is beyond excited to move on and play Saint Louis FC in the second round of the U.S. Open Cup. This club is very proud of its players for showing fighting spirit despite the many obstacles during this game. Most of all the club would like to thank everyone that came to watch this historic match, despite the weather, and showing the nation what Duluth has to offer. Duluth FC is eternally grateful for the support.
Coach Joel Person provided the following thoughts on the match: “It was a very exciting and hard-fought game from both teams and we definitely gave the fans a great opening game of the season to watch. We have a lot to improve upon but that is somewhat normal as we have not been training together as a team for very long. Having said that, I was proud of how our guys kept pushing and working even when things weren’t going our way. We showed a lot of resiliency as a team which will be crucial as we go throughout this season. We are excited to have qualified for the professional rounds of the U.S. Open Cup and can’t wait for our next game on May 16th.”
Contributoor: Dominic Bisogno/Duluth FC
Photo Credit: Alex Ganeev