By Dominic José Bisogno/Duluth FC
Duluth traveled to Rochester, Minnesota on June 19th to face Med City FC just three days after beating the club 2-1 at Duluth’s Public Schools Stadium through goals from James Westfield and Gabriel Campora.
With Med City just three points ahead of Duluth, the match provided the BlueGreens with a big opportunity to tie up with Med City for second place in the NPSL, the last place on the table that qualifies for the playoffs at the end of the regular season. It would prove a night to remember for Duluth, both for its immediate entertainment and potential meaning for the rest of the 2021 season.
Sidney Warden did what Sidney Warden does as he completed a first-half brace with goals in the 24th and 30th minutes, with the first goal coming from open play via a through ball played into space on the right side of the 18-yard box and the second a well-earned penalty kick.
Warden now has 10 goals, leading the NPSL North Conference in that metric. The University of Wisconsin Superior’s own Eric Watson would score his first-ever BlueGreen goal later in the 43rd minute, a wonderful arching shot from the edge of the box, to make it 3-0 with halftime approaching.
Med City would do their best to answer the heavy Duluth lead as the second half started and would come close just under ten minutes in. A wonderful volley following a blocked free kick attempt would give Med City some hope in the 53rd minute via Toby Millward, but Duluth would dig in and survive until the 80th minute when James Westfield dribbled past the Med City back line and put in his third of the season to end the scoring.
Man of the Match honors would be awarded to Jacob Daffern by Duluth FC head coach Sean Morgan. While Daffern may not have featured on the scoresheet, his effectiveness in the midfield proved vital for a Duluth side that looked to build out of the back and move the ball with intelligence across every inch of the pitch.
Sidney Warden’s reaching of the ten-goal mark now means the English striker has scored more goals for Duluth FC than any player did in all competitions in 2019 and leaves the newcomer prime for a historic season with the club, while James Westfield has now tied Joe Watt for the second all-time scorer in Duluth FC history, with his goal tonight getting him to the 11-goal mark. The two Englishmen have been truly dangerous in the final third for Duluth this season, aided by contributions from fellow forwards, midfielders, and defenders. Duluth now has nine goal scorers this season in total with several matches remaining.
The ending result of 4-1 would make the week a hugely successful one for Duluth, who secured three wins across seven days. The win leaves Duluth tied with Med City at 15 points in second place and opens up the race for the NPSL playoff spots in the North Conference. They play Joy Athletic on the road on June 26th.
Photo Credit: Holden Law