For the second week in a row, it was the number one team in the North Conference playing the number two team – Med City FC versus Duluth FC. The battle took place on a beautiful evening in Rochester, Minnesota in front of approximately 685 fantastic and energetic fans.
A win for Med City would secure a playoff spot and take them one step closer to finishing the season in first place. A win for Duluth, however, would pull them even with Med City on points, but give them first place by means of goal differential.
The game started out with the two teams attacking each other right out of the gate. Duluth FC used their distinct height advantage to create some scoring chances off of their corner kicks and free kicks, but Med City goalkeeper Nate Levy (Byron, Minnesota) made some excellent saves to keep the game scoreless. Med City responded by attacking down the wings and looking to cross the ball into the Duluth box, but the strong Duluth defenders easily cleared those chances.
The halftime whistle came quickly and the teams headed to the locker room locked in a 0-0 battle. It was evident that this game would likely come down to a single goal, as both teams did a great job defending their goals in the first half.
Med City came out in the second half with a newfound energy, likely drawing on the excitement of the phenomenal home crowd that had gathered at Rochester Regional Sports Stadium that evening. They controlled the ball throughout the half, creating multiple attacking opportunities and generating a number of shots on goal. Unfortunately, none of those shots found their way into the back of the net.
The game entered extra time still tied. Duluth knew that a win would send them into first place and one step closer to a playoff spot heading into the final week of the season, and the players responded. In the 93rd minute, Duluth got the last touch on a scramble in the Med City box. Andrew Jenkins was able to tap the ball into the net to secure a 1-0 victory.
Med City and their fans were devastated. The players had fought extremely hard to keep the game close.
The win brings Duluth FC to 25 points for the season, tying them with Med City. However, Duluth has a better goal differential than Med City, putting them in first place. Med City falls to second place, but can still secure a playoff spot with a win next weekend against Minneapolis City. Duluth can win the conference with a victory against Sioux Falls in Duluth next weekend.