By Ryan Tigner/Duluth FC
Joy Athletic came into town on Wednesday for a rematch against Duluth FC. They must have had a fire in their belly still from Saturday night as they came in tonight ready to battle. Although Joy Athletic played an aggressive game the whole match, Duluth FC was able to adapt and win the match 3-0. The stadium was packed as kids played on the inflatable field, and supporters got to enjoy some beautiful weather.
The game started out fast-paced, and players on both sides were very assertive as both are coming off losses and who could really use some more momentum midseason. You could tell early on in the game with some of the passing that Duluth’s chemistry was building. The Duluth FC players are really starting to trust and figure out each other as the season progresses. Both sides had some really nice chances early on in the game, including some 1v1 chances but Michael Garrihy was there to make some fantastic saves. Whether it was sliding for a stop or diving for a save, Garrihy was busy in goal the entire evening.
The defense was also solid as usual tonight as Rory Carlson and Jake Starling showed off their great trackdown speed and fancy footwork which led to some incredible clearances. Joy had some nice chances throughout the game. However, the Duluth FC defense made sure to limit that and push the ball up as they were dominating in time on attack.
The game was lacking any scoring until the 43rd minute. Blake Perry, who was being shadowed pretty much the entire game, was able to penetrate the zone and juke through three defenders. He then shot it off the leg of a defender, and the ball landed right in the lap of Keegan Chastey who netted his first goal of the season.
Free kicks and yellow cards were also in abundance tonight as Joy Athletic was not going to let Duluth have this one without a fight. Perry was on the receiving end of a lot of that. However, it would lead to chances. In the 56th minute, Perry was tackled from behind for a yellow card and a penalty kick. The kick was taken by Samuel Thornton who sniped the bottom left corner for the second goal of the game. To top that off, not but two minutes later, Perry was at it again as he wiggled past a defender and chipped to Chastey.
Chastey was given another gift and made it count as he got his second goal of the game and season, making it 3-0. Chastey actually went to Denfeld High School so he is used to scoring on his old stomping grounds.
The defense played great near the end of the match, and Duluth had a couple of chances but nothing came of it. When the dust settled the BlueGreens stood victorious and completed the season sweep of Joy Athletic.
Duluth’s next match will be away this Saturday, June 11th against Sioux Falls Thunder FC at O’Gorman High School’s McEneaney Field.
Photo Credit: Holden Law/Duluth FC