Med City FC followed up a disappointing 0-0 draw with Sioux Falls Thunder FC during the week with a hard-fought 1-1 draw against second ranked VSLT FC on a beautiful Saturday evening in Rochester, Minnesota. Almost 500 fans watched as the top two teams in the NPSL North Conference battled for three precious points.
Med City opened the scoring early in the match, with Jake Turnbull (Newcastle, England) beating his defender to a fantastic ball played over the top by teammate, Ignacio Milla (Santiago, Chile). Turnbull calmly placed the ball in the back of the net during the fifth minute of play. A win for the Mayhem would have secured a playoff position. But, VSLT FC had other plans. The team from Saint Paul quickly responded with a goal of their own in the 16th minute after a defensive mix-up allowed VSLT striker Ayuk Tambe to sneak through on a breakaway and beat Med City goalkeeper JC Perez Castro (Barcelona, Spain) at the far post. The game was tied 1-1.
While VSLT was able to maintain the majority of the possession for the remainder of the first half, it was Med City who thought they had a go-ahead goal. A Mayhem free kick swung in from just outside the VSLT box was won by midfielder Thilo Wilke (Dortmund, Germany), who tapped the ball into the net from a yard away. As Mayhem supporters began to celebrate, the linesman raised his flag indicating Wilke was offside. The teams entered halftime tied at one goal a piece.
The second half was a back-and-forth affair, with each team attacking the goal, but running into some excellent defending at both ends. Once again, Med City was found at the end of a very close offside call in the 53rd minute. Another free kick in the VSLT half was headed into the goal by Wilke, but he was flagged as being offside for the second time.
The two teams traded scoring opportunities for the remainder of the game, but could not find the winning goal. After two minutes of stoppage time, the referee blew his whistle and the teams each walked away with a valuable point.
The draw gives Med City FC 25 points on the season to keep them in first place in the North Conference, and a three-point edge over the now second place, Duluth FC, whom they play next weekend. VSLT sits in third place at 20 points with two games to play.
Part of the proceeds from the game on Saturday will be donated to Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Southeast Minnesota, an organization that supports active and retired military members and their families.