Duluth FC came into their weekend matchup against Dakota Fusion FC needing all three points after dropping late to VSLT FC in their midweek game on the 6th. Held scoreless for the second time this season, the need to finish chances when they came was put on the spotlight. Their match against the Dakota Fusion would showcase the same questions and same troubles, though they came with a different result.
The first half largely reflected that of their previous match, with both clubs taking chances and playing well in their own ways. Aside from a yellow card in the 31st minute to Sean Morgan however, there was little to take note of due to solid performances from both keepers and miscues for both front lines. The more exciting chances of the match came from Duluth’s Aidan Hill, who managed to put a bicycle kick on target and missed by mere inches on a diving header from the edge of the six-yard box. Center back Ryan Tyrer would also come close to haunting yet another opponent’s net as he came close with several headers.
With the defensive units of both sides looking good and the midfield providing good movement, the second half opened with one question on Duluth’s mind: will they score? The answer came in the 58th minute when Joe Watt, one of the few players from the 2017 to play every single game for the BlueGreens this year, scored a clean finish and put Duluth up 1-0. The goal was Joe Watt’s second of the 2018 regular season, though he also scored in the U.S. Open Cup. Both sides would make a series of substitutions throughout the half as they looked to widen or close the score gap. Several chances opened up for Duluth toward the end of the match, perhaps most notably a long shot from Kyle Farrar just barely tipped past the post by keeper Habib Beljulji.
With many of their veterans available and back in gear, Duluth finds itself able to finally look at its options and approach games in different ways. Their win against Dakota was created and quite literally scored into being by veterans like Joe Watt and Kyle Farrar, but young and new faces, like the aforementioned Hill and Tyrer, continue to provide great chances for the BlueGreens in both offensive and defensive positions.
The win was Duluth’s third of the regular season and their first at home. It was also their second clean sheet of the year, the other being their 0-0 draw at Med City FC. With 13 points in hand, the BlueGreens will look to continue their positive start the second half of the season with two key games, an away trip to VSLT and a home game against LCAris FC. The Aris match will mark the beginning of a three home game stint, the other matches being Sioux Falls Thunder FC and Minnesota TwinStars FC. This will be the first time this year that Duluth FC plays three home games in a row.
Contributor: Dominic Jose Bisogno/Duluth FC
Photo Credit: Alex Ganeev