By Ryan Tigner/Duluth FC
The BlueGreens were happy to host the Mayhem of Med City for a rematch and a last-chance effort to move up in the standings. The home side brought all the energy on a beautiful Duluth night; it began intensely and never let up through the entire duration of the match. Unfortunately, the BlueGreens were unable to finish the job and move ahead of Med City as the game ended in a 1-1 draw. Duluth could still steal first place with a Med City loss and a BlueGreen victory next week. However, it’s not as important as locking in the playoff spot which has already been secured.
The match started as expected with tons of energy spilling out of both squads. Each team knew what was on the line and what it would take to outmaneuver the other. You could tell that having fresh legs was crucial as plenty of substitutions were made throughout the match, even in the first half. Both squads were playing very aggressively as whistles were called constantly and cards were issued as teams were ready to do anything to gain possession. Defenses were rock solid throughout the match so many of the penalties were a result of frustration built up by close chances and missed opportunities.
Med City’s defense was like a machine mostly all game, making very few mistakes and utilizing excellent communication. This made getting a good look improbable for the BlueGreens. This stout defense also helped generate some offense when Matthew Roberts of the Mayhem had a slick interception that turned into a nice pass to Andres Garcia. Their leading goal scorer would take the lob pass, drive past two Duluth defenders, and beat Brendan Dally to put Med City up 1-0. Garcia would be a little shaken up on the play and had to leave the match entirely after the goal.
Duluth would be able to ramp up their offense a bit, getting some nice takeaways and breakaways. However, the breakaways were diverted by multiple accounts of miscommunication and defensive pressure by the Mayhem.
Duluth really started clicking offensively in the second half, and it felt eerily similar to the last match. Duluth would have opportunities but the shot would either go a bit wide, a bit high, or the keeper would make a fantastic save. This would only build on the frustration of the BlueGreens, and they would start receiving their fair share of cards as well. Duluth started to have a sense of urgency midway through the second half, and they got their best look of the night when Cian Gantley chipped the ball over the head of the defender. It would head straight for Felipe Arteaga who headed it right off the crossbar.
A minute later, Jake Starling and Felipe Arteaga got the offense going with a couple of nice moves and passes back and forth. Arteaga was able to get the ball out to Blake Perry who made a little move to the left of the defender and sent in a screeching shot to tie the game at 1-1 in the 59th minute.
The rest of the match was played out with plenty of intensity, and there were even two late chances spearheaded by the always energetic Perry. It would not be enough though, and the game ended in a draw. This would keep Duluth still one point behind the Mayhem with one game left in the regular season.
Duluth’s next match will be held back at home next Friday, July 15th against Sioux Falls FC at the Public Schools Stadium at 7:00 pm.
Photo Credit: Holden Law/Duluth FC