By Dominic José Bisogno/Duluth FC
Duluth FC looked to follow up their convincing 4-0 win over Dakota Fusion FC on June 12th with a third home win for 2021 as they welcomed Med City FC to Duluth on June 16th for the two clubs’ first matchup of the year. Med City entered the match in second place but with more matches played than Duluth thus far.
The first half would start with intensity as two of the North’s best sides faced off. Both teams managed to create early chances, but it would be the visitors who found the back of the net first as Tyler Oliver opened the scoring for Med City in the ninth minute. The experienced NPSL forward, who previously played for Minneapolis City, split the Duluth defense before slotting in his goal.
Duluth still had something to say, however, as James Westfield scored his second of the season to equalize for Duluth in the 29th minute after a well-played through ball followed by a run into the box from Westfield. It would remain 1-1 going into halftime.
The second half would hold several chances for both sides, but the third and final goal wouldn’t come until the 80th minute when substitute Gabriel Campora scored on his club debut with a powerful strike. Both before and after the goal, Campora impressed playing alongside the likes of Sidney Warden, James Westfield, and Eric Watson coming close to adding another goal or assist throughout his brief minutes on the pitch.
Duluth would hold on to their newfound lead for the remainder of the match despite a fast-paced remaining ten minutes, which saw both sides have to defend to the bitter end to prevent a fourth goal. Brendan Dally would have to come up big for Duluth throughout the night, and while the keeper didn’t add another clean sheet to his collection, he did oversee his third win with the club and a vital one at that.
Duluth are now at twelve points this season from six matches. With another match against Med City, who have fifteen points from six matches, this weekend, Duluth could be tied for second place in the NPSL North Conference by Sunday, June 20. The current standings also leave Duluth two points ahead of Joy Athletic, who had previously spent several weeks in third place. Joy has ten points from seven matches. Minneapolis City, meanwhile, has 21 points from seven matches.
Goalscorer Gabriel Campora would be named Man of the Match by head coach Sean Morgan following a perfect substitute performance and a historic debut which helped leave Duluth undefeated at home.
The match also included a second start for forward Keegan Chastey, in addition to a start for Scott Wilson and a strong second half from Eric Watson, who are all ensuring that Duluth develops a strong, locally-sourced spine for the 2021 season.
The win gives Duluth 12 points so far this year, with an away trip to Med City awaiting this weekend. Duluth will then play Joy Athletic on June 26th before facing Minneapolis City at home on June 30th.
Photo Credit: Holden Law