Duluth FC Earns Fifth Straight Win in Gritty Contest with TwinStars

In a match riddled with goals, fouls, and cards, Duluth added a fifth victory to their winning streak and continued their efforts in the title race. Duluth’s starting lineup followed a similar pattern to their last several matches, featuring a mixture of returning veterans and recruits from the 2018 preseason. Joe Watt continued his run of appearing in every single match in 2018 while Gonnie Ben-Tal continued his positive return to Duluth’s lineup, having only began his 2018 season during the BlueGreens’ recent match against VSLT FC on June 16th.

Duluth held much of the possession in the first half, but as has happened often this year, that possession turned into mostly missed or well defended chances. TwinStars keeper Sean Teske would have a standout first half, blocking several shots off the line. The TwinStars would score not one, but two goals on the counter. One a chip from outside the box, the other a curved in shot from within the 18-yard box. By the 39th minute, the TwinStars had a 2-0 lead and seemed ready take some points home. Kyle Farrar pulled one back before the half with a flicked in header, assisted by Watt’s corner kick and Ryan Tyrer’s header attempt, earning his third goal of 2018 for the BlueGreens.

Starting the first half with a deficit, Duluth looked to translate their possession into goals only to find themselves down a man in the 58th minute as Aidan Hill received a red card for his challenge on goal scorer Ethan Pitre. Duluth would then receive a second red for keeper Alberto Ciroi for behavior. Ciroi was on the bench when he received his card, therefore Duluth maintained their ten men on the pitch. With the game beginning to descend into a grind of half- chances, Duluth found the fuel for their comeback as TwinStars’ Andrew Avram received a red card after colliding with goalkeeper Jan Hoffelner, making both sides even at ten players.

With both teams working to find ways to succeed without key players, Duluth were given a free kick roughly ten yards out from the 18-yard box which was whipped into the near top corner by Tom Corcoran to make it 2-2. It would be Corcoran’s second of the season, the first coming from a free kick against the Sioux Falls Thunder. With the energetic match at a standstill andDuluth starting to sub in new attacking players, the BlueGreens won a corner in the 80th minute. Taken by Corcoran, the corner would draw Teske out and give Ben-Tal room to tap in the ball, giving Duluth the win with his first goal of the season.

Christian Deaconson of the TwinStars would receive a second yellow in the 96th minute, leaving the opposition with nine players on the pitch when the final whistle blew moments later. Both Dana Kowachek and Brooks Rice would hit the post in the dying minutes of the match in hopes of giving Duluth a stronger lead, but the BlueGreens would take their 3-2 win as a positive result and deserved comeback. The match does however represent the end of Duluth’s four-game clean sheet.

Hill and Ciroi will not be available for the match against Minneapolis City SC this weekend, but Santiago Garcia Castro will be available to play after serving his suspension for the accumulation of four yellow cards. The pair of reds are Duluth’s first of the regular season, having earned one through Ivan Adika during their U.S. Open Cup First Round match.

Contributor: Dominic Jose Bisogno/Duluth FC
Photo Credit: Alex Ganeev/Duluth FC

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