By Dominic José Bisogno/Duluth FC
Fresh off of a four-match winning streak which saw Duluth FC score fifteen goals while conceding just three, the BlueGreens returned home on Wednesday to host current conference table leaders Minneapolis City SC in a rematch of this season’s earlier 3-2 loss.
City had held a perfect record this season going into Wednesday, but had to face a Duluth side that has drastically improved since their early matchup and has found a deadly run of form in the final third, particularly through the ever-scoring Sidney Warden, who started the day on 12 goals in his debut season.
Duluth would start off well with an early goal from Aidan Hill, who headed in a rebounded shot off the crossbar from Warden in just the third minute. It was Hill’s third goal for the club, coming just one match after his second goal in three seasons during Duluth’s 4-1 win over Joy Athletic. Defender Jack Barry would equalize for Minneapolis soon after, however, after City earned a corner on the counter. It would be 1-1 at half time, with both sides showing promise and creating chances.
The second half would bring an array of obstacles, however, as Aidan Hill would receive a red card early in the half due to receiving two yellow cards, leaving Duluth with ten men and roughly 40 minutes of soccer remaining. It’s the BlueGreens first red of the season and an unfortunate stoppage in what has been a strong year for Hill, Duluth’s most senior player after spending 2018 and 2019 with the club.
Minneapolis City would follow the card with a flurry of goals to make it 6-1 by the final whistle, controlling the midfield and affording Duluth just a few chances to get back in the game. The initial winning goal would come just minutes after Hill’s dismissal, while three of City’s six goals came in the final five minutes of the match. Eli Goldman’s brace from the 59th and 73rd minutes would prove the deciding goals of the match, which was 3-1 until the 86th minute.
It would be Duluth’s first home loss of the season and would officially hand Minneapolis City the conference title. The two clubs remain the only sides to have won that title, with City earning their third in three seasons while Duluth earned its first iteration in 2017. It is also Duluth’s most substantial loss of the season, with the other two being just one goal apart in a 3-2 loss to Minneapolis City earlier in the year and a 2-1 loss to Sioux Falls, both on the road.
The result leaves Duluth’s playoff qualification bid in jeopardy with three games remaining and a race for second with Med City well under way. They next play La Crosse on July 7th. It will be one of their final three regular season matches, the others against Sioux Falls and the Dakota Fusion, and will be key to the BlueGreens securing a playoff position.
Photo Credit: Holden Law