As the opening stretch of away games for Duluth’s 2018 NPSL season reach their mid point, Med City on the 23rd being the end of a stretch of only-away league matches, the BlueGreens managed to put together a performance stacked with goals, new faces, and the idea that they are in every way ready to race for the title. LC Aris FC’s season had started off rough and Duluth added on to those struggles with a 7-1 road win, the biggest loss/victory the two clubs have experienced this season.
As the BlueGreens marched out with a squad not featuring the likes of Kyle Farrar or Sean Morgan, giving first a first start to Arad Ari and a debut to Sora Wakabayashi, they looked to have removed some of the cutting edge that would normally give them the goals. That edge was instead found in the likes of Dana Kowachek, Liam Moore, Mally Lumsden, and perhaps most surprisingly, the center back pairing of Cori Hill and Ryan Tyrer.
Tyrer grabbed his first goal in the eighth minute with a well placed header off of a corner, while Kowachek took a touch on a long pass from Liam Moore and sent the ball sailing over the keeper and into the back of the net. The two goals contrasted a series of missed chances for the BlueGreens in a half of mixed possession between the two sides. Duluth certainly looked to have the game at the half, but also looked to still be finding their place in the match.
The second half began with a bang as Kowachek earned his brace when Ivan Adika’s thunderbolt of a strike rebounded off the post in the 51st minute. Aris grabbed their one goal of the game, something they’ve managed in every league game this year, in the 53rd, only to have their comeback cutoff when Joe Watt shot in a well-crossed ball from the edge of the six-yard box. With subs rotating in to keep the squad fresh and healthy, Tyrer tapped in a low cross for his brace and second goal for Duluth FC.
Duluth’s efforts would continue to find obstacles however, as Kowachek was denied his first hat trick when both the keeper and the crossbar helped to deny his penalty in the 60th minute. Hill, Tyrer’s center back partner, scored his first goal for the club only six minutes later with a powerful header off of a Kowachek corner kick. Mally Lumsden would also grab his first of the season in the 78th minute with a calm and collected chip from inside the box.
The match would also feature league debuts for subs Aidan Hill, Soham Kathuria, and Alberto Ciroi, who played the second half in place of Jan Hoffelner for rotation purposes. The BlueGreens earned their three points, rotated key players, gave new names a chance to begin their progression within the squad, and now look to take on Med City this Wednesday in hopes of continuing their run toward the title.
Contributor: Dominic Bisogno/Duluth FC
Photo Credit: Alex Ganeev