In a game which continued Duluth’s trend of playing new faces while also welcoming back old favorites, the club found itself face-to-face with the same issues featured in the first round of the U.S. Open Cup.
The TwinStars, looking to start their season with a strong home opener, scored two goals at the 15th and 21st minute. The first came from a miskick, the other a deadly run down the left wing. At the 37th minute, head coach Joel Person put in two subs in an attempt to change the direction of the game, replacing returning keeper Tom Greensall for Jan Hoffelner and Nico Railef for Garga Nyuah. The half closed at 2-0 to the TwinStars, with Duluth having made little of several first half chances.
Duluth would proceed to make five more chances in the second half as they searched for solutions to their growing frustrations. The silver lining came as Kyle Farrar and Ivan Adika both scored in the 63rd and 69th minutes respectively. Duluth’s comeback almost came short as the TwinStars won a penalty in the 75th minute, making the game 3-2. As both clubs chased after a final say in the match, Duluth found their chance in stoppage time as TwinStars keeper Ibrahim Toure was caught using his hands to control the ball outside of the box, resulting in a free kick. Arad Ari took the kick quickly, placing it at the feet of Dana Kowachek who wasted no time putting it in the back of the net. The match would end at 3-3, both clubs taking home a hard- fought point.
Taking home a road point is always a positive and the BlueGreens did end their away game at the TwinStars last season in a 1-1 draw; however, the way the match played out showed the need for continued tuning with the squad. Person emphasized that showing fight and quick thinking are important for any team, but that Duluth has a squad that shouldn’t need to do those things if they show their full potential. With that in mind, the BlueGreens will now look forward to playing Saint Louis FC in the Open Cup this Wednesday and then travel to LC Aris FC on the 19th.
On a quick, personal note, we would like to thank the Duluth FC staff and players that attended Saturday’s match for their help and patience involving a transportation incident that took place during the trip to Minnetonka. Clubs like this are built on compassion, patience, and support, and this weekend a group of people who have largely known each other for perhaps a month showed that in spades. As you look onward to the Open Cup Second Round, be proud to be a BlueGreen.
Contributor: Dominic Bisogno/Duluth FC
Photo Credit: Alex Ganeev Photography