Duluth started their week of Dakota road trips by visiting the Dakota Fusion in a match that would mirror the U.S. Open Cup match between the two in many ways, with the BlueGreens battling to a 2-2 draw. The more notable comparisons between the two matches are that Duluth conceded an early goal to the Fusion, this time on the third minute, and that the match included a massive comeback, this time on the part of Duluth.
Despite the possession and chances being relatively even at the edge of half time, the Dakota Fusion showed the extra bit of intent and had given themselves a 2-0 lead against their visitors with goals from Massimo Baron and Benjamin Eastwell. Both goals were earned the tough way in a match that featured few moments of brilliancy but many moments of undying pressure. Leading into the second half Duluth’s best chance had been a shot from Sora Wakabayashi would strike off the crossbar, the second half, however, would bring more chances and an increased attacking threat. Duluth would find its way back into the game as Liam Moore and Ryan Tyrer both scored goals in the 53rd and 55th minutes respectively. The match, which suddenly found itself returned to a stalemate, would continue with a series of chances for both sides but to no avail.
After the match, head coach Joel Person had both positive and negatives to share on a game which consisted of two very different halves,
“I’m proud of the way the team fought through adversity to come back after being down 2-0 at the half. We made some adjustments as the game went along and we started to click at the beginning of the second half. At the same time we were all disappointed with our performance in the first half to put us in that hole to begin with. We are going to continue to work hard both on and off the field to put together consistent performances for a full 90 minutes, not just a half at a time.”
While the BlueGreens will hope to grab more than one point from games such as these, the match did come with some positive notes. Tyrer, not letting his position as center back get in the way, is now tied as lead goal scorer in league play with Dana Kowachek with three goals. Liam Moore, who sparked Duluth’s comeback when he made it 2-1, scored his first goal for the BlueGreens. Cori Hill, named Man of the Match by Person, returned to the starting lineup to reforge Duluth’s center back pairing of himself and Ryan Tyrer. The two have featured in every Duluth FC match this season, with Cori Hill playing as a substitution against Minneapolis City.
The BlueGreens play a struggling Sioux Falls Thunder this weekend, with the Thunder’s midweek game showing their own defensive struggles as they fell 3-1 to Med City. With the chances still there to pick up four points over a series of tough road trips, Duluth’s hopes of jumping back into the top positions within the conference are alive and well, but will require a strong ninety minutes from a squad still finding its composure.
Contributor: Dominic Jose Bisogno/Duluth FC
Photo Credit: Alex Ganeev