Minneapolis City traveled to Fargo on the last day of the season already conference champions but knowing that they needed a win to lock up the top seed in the Midwest Region–and wanting to make sure that they finished this magical season undefeated.
The heat was suffocating, with on-field temperatures over 100 degrees, and yet the Crows started brightly with winger Sekou Kromah the star of the early stages as City probed the Fusion back line.
Dakota Fusion were content to leave possession to City, absorbing pressure with a deep block and occasionally looking for counterattacks via long diagonal balls from their fullbacks.
It was from one of this rare forays that the first goal was scored, with Minneapolis City countering Dakota’s counter, finding space in behind for Will Kidd to sprint on to only for him to be dragged down in the box.
Branden McGarrity stepped up and sent the goalkeeper the wrong way to open the scoring.
Just 10 minutes later, Justin Oliver drove into the box. Shaping to shoot, he pulled the ball back, nutmegged his defender, and was about to fire home when a Fusion defender went down in the box and stuck out his hand, pushing the ball away from Oliver. He escaped a booking, but the penalty was awarded.
Oliver had his first attempt saved, but was able to shoot again after encroachment from Fusion. He buried his second attempt.
Minneapolis City would break through in the second half, an early goal from McGarrity after a mazy run by Oliver setting them up to connect again a few minutes later, with McGarrity the provider and Oliver the finisher.
Then McGarrity got his hat trick on the hour, again from Oliver.
The finishing touches were applied by Oliver, completing his hat trick, Charlie Adams, whose lung-bursting run was punctuated by party trick moves before he let fly from 20 yards to score. Then Will Kidd completed the rout, scampering into the area before pulling the ball back onto his left and letting fly across the face of the goal.
The final score was 8-0, with Fusion having no answer for Justin Oliver (three goals and three assists) or Branden McGarrity (three goals and two assists).
With that as the final, Minneapolis City finished undefeated on the conference season and look forward to the playoffs.
Contributor: Minneapolis City SC
Photo Credit: John Pavlecka