Duluth FC walked into their match with Sioux Falls Thunder FC knowing that failure to get all three points could be the downfall of otherwise positive progress within the squad. With their first Dakota road trip ending in a 2-2 draw, the BlueGreens now approached their next challenge without many of the senior players from 2017, including Sean Morgan, Kyle Farrar, Vladik Margolin, Tom Greensall, and Tom Corcoran, and looked to grab their first win since May 19th with a squad filled with new names.
The first half was a forgettable one for both sides, consisting of a series of missed chances for Sioux Falls and Duluth, with Joe Watt and Dana Kowachek having the best chances for the BlueGreens. The most eventful moment for Duluth in the first half was the mass substitution that took place at the 38th minute. With a series of offensive and defensive substitutions in hand, Duluth headed into the second half hoping that a little more time would make the threat they’d already shown more fatal.
The second half, far more action-packed than the first, would kick off with another substitution as captain Joe Watt left the field for Aidan Hill and a yellow card in the 64th minute for Sioux Fall’s Edwin Linares. Duluth would finally break the deadlock in the 67th minute when Aidan Hill played a ball to Liam Moore, who easily outran his defender and slid it past the keeper. The Thunder would be quick to equalize as Eric Beltran smashed the ball past Jan Hoffelner only two minutes later.
Fearing that yet another draw awaited them, Duluth continued to pressure and possessed the majority of the ball. Their wishes would be fulfilled when Ryan Tyrer headed in top corner finish off of Cori Hill’s long throw, a common source of chances and goals for Duluth these days. Tyrer scored off of a long throw from Hill in the previous match against Dakota Fusion. The goal now makes Tyrer Duluth’s leading goal scorer with four, while Liam Moore’s goal is his second in two games. With their first three points in two weeks almost promised, Duluth’s final challenge would be a controversial yellow card issued to Aidan Hill in the 88th minute, the cause of which was unclear.
With a win and continued unbeaten run in hand, Duluth FC now return home for a week of home matches against Viejos Son Los Trapos and the Dakota Fusion. Having grabbed a win through the ingenuity of some of their key new players, Duluth have shown an ability to chase the win and get out of tough spots that their previous run of draws didn’t always showcase. While the return of veterans will be key to giving Duluth the variety of tools one needs to make it from match to match, the fact that many of head coach Joel Person’s recruits are proving not only useful but vital on the pitch could be what keeps this season successful for the BlueGreens.
Contributor: Dominic Jose Bisogno/Duluth FC
Photo Credit: Alex Ganeev Photography