By Daniel Cermak/NPSL.com
Duluth FC faced Grand Rapids FC in the 2018 Midwest Region quarterfinals of the NPSL
playoffs and Duluth FC was able to come out on top of a topsy-turvy match.
“It was the first time we hosted the playoffs, so it was already a special occasion,” Duluth FC
forward Kyle Farrar said. “There was a pretty frantic finish where were pushed into extra time
and then penalties.”
The historic victory for Duluth FC came after a quick start turned sour. Duluth FC jumped out to
a perhaps too comfortable 2-0 lead and kept the advantage all the way to the last fifteen minutes.
Grand Rapids then managed to settle the score at 2-2. The two teams battled to yet another
stalemate through extra time, leading to penalties. Farrar was able to put away his penalty and
help his team advance.
“It was amazing to score a penalty,” Farrar said. “We had practiced penalties a few days before
and I missed two attempts, either way, I was still confident. We were able to keep our nerve in
the shootout and a lot of credit has to go to our players and goalkeepers.”
Current Duluth FC head coach Sean Morgan, who was a former teammate of Farrar on Duluth
FC, was always impressed with Farrar.
“We couldn’t have had a better leader,” Morgan said. “In tough, tight games, Kyle always
stepped up and got the best out of the players around him. All he needed was half a chance and
the ball was in the back of the net. The best striker I’ve played with and an even better person.”
Next Duluth FC would play rivals Minneapolis City SC, where Duluth managed to win 2-1 in
regular time. From there Farrar and his teammates defeated another Michigan squad in penalties
to win the Midwest Region after beating Ann Arbor FC 3-3, 4-3 in penalties. Duluth’s run ended
in the national semifinals, however, with a defeat against eventual champions The Miami FC.
Even with the defeat Farrar looks back on his time with Duluth FC and the NPSL fondly.
“My time with Duluth was amazing,” Farrar said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better team to play for. Tim Sas and his management put so much time and effort into the team. We also had a
great group of players that knew how to stick together and do the necessary things to get a result.
That was one of our main strengths. We had the talent and ability, but we had a group of players
that would put it all on the line for each other. The NPSL was great for us in a sense that it
allows you access to greater competition. There is no doubt that some of the teams playing in
the NPSL can be classed as the best in the country outside of the professional ranks. The
experience it can give young players is unparalleled. Even the two years that we made the
playoffs, travelling to Detroit, Ann Arbor, and Miami are experiences you will always carry with
When fans tune in to watch the MyCujoo Classic between Duluth FC and Grand Rapids FC,
Farrar wants them to notice just how quickly a game can turn, but also the resilience of their
“It shows how quickly a game can change,” Farrar said. “The fact that the higher the level of
competition, the more focused you must be. Not just for half the game, but for the duration. I
believe it also shows the mental strength needed in a situation like this. For a team to lose two
goals in the final 15 minutes, you would think that the momentum had shifted. We kept working
hard and working together, and ultimately the result went in our favor.”
Duluth’s perseverance through their first playoff matchup spurred the team on to an NPSL
national semifinal match-up, making tonight’s MyCujoo Classic a must-watch.
Photo Credit: Alex Ganeev