By Dominic José Bisogno/Duluth FC
Duluth FC traveled to La Crosse this weekend in search of their first away win of the season. Duluth had opened the season with a win and a loss, scoring six and conceding six along the way. They then faced an Aris side they had dominated historically across all three previous seasons in the NPSL. LC Aris FC started their season with a 2-2 draw against Joy Athletic and a 4-0 loss to Minneapolis City.
LC Aris would hold out against Duluth’s high possession play until just before half time, when Sidney Warden found his fifth goal of the season and the night’s opener. It would stay 1-0 at halftime. Duluth would continue to push in the second half but it would take several substitutions before the second goal arrived in the 71st minute via Gloire Luwara, who made his first appearance after coming on for Eric Watson and scored his first goal for Duluth FC on the day. Warden’s day wasn’t, however, over. He drew and scored a late penalty 89th minute kick to make it 3-0, the final score. That leaves him with six goals from three matches, an almost unheard of goal rate in club and conference history that leaves him with two thirds of the club’s goals thus far. For further context, the lead goal scorer in 2018 was Ryan Tyrer, who had six goals total from regular season and playoff play, while Carlyle Junior came out on top in 2019 with nine goals from league and U.S. Open Cup play.
The lack of time between today’s match and Wednesday’s resulted in a changed starting eleven for head coach Sean Morgan, who notably handed University of Wisconsin Superior stars and UMAC champions Scott Wilson and Eric Watson their first starts of the season, though both have played as substitutes previously. Wayne Davis also made his first appearance for Duluth as goalkeeper, starting ahead of Brendan Dally, who impressed earlier the same week against Minneapolis City.
Dany Torres was awarded Man of the Match by Morgan on the night for his performance, his first for ninety minutes since joining the club. Torres was able to orchestrate the Duluth midfield in a match where possession was aplenty, but an artistic touch was needed. It is also the first time Torres has been named Duluth FC’s Man of the Match.
The win leaves Duluth with six points from three games and gives Morgan his first-ever away win as an NPSL head coach. After a tough midweek loss, the result returns the BlueGreens to winning ways and shows that while the race for the conference’s top spots will be tight amongst several clubs, the 2017 North Conference champions and 2018 Midwest Regional Champions are here to compete.
Duluth next plays on June 5th against Sioux Falls Thunder FC, the final away game before playing two home games on the 12th and 16th against the Dakota Fusion and Med City.
Photo Credit: Holden Law