The Green Line Derby between Minneapolis City and St Paul’s Viejos son los Trapos FC kicked off on a hot and sunny Saturday at James Griffin Stadium, just 5.6 miles from City’s Edor Nelson Field home.
It was a cagey first 20 minutes with each team content to keep possession and probe, and then the match burst into life. Miles Stockman-Willis burst into the VSLT box before firing at the goalkeeper and, minutes later, City lost possession and a quick ball over the top forced goalkeeper Matt Elder into a challenge. The referee deemed that he hadn’t gotten the ball and he was sent off.
Despite being down a man, City were able to carve a number of good chances on the counterattack and VSLT had their goalkeeper to thank for being quick off his line on more than one occasion.
Minneapolis City had the ball in the back of the net midway through the half, Isaac Friendt being played in by Miles Stockman-Willis and chipping the goalkeeper, only for the referee to deem him ever so slightly offside.
All too often, however, the counterattack was slowed by a low-grade, niggling foul by VSLT. They were giving up free kicks but keeping the game at a slower pace and it was certainly effective.
On the other side, VSLT probed but were kept largely to long shots by the powerful cente rback pairing of AJ Albers and Nate Engel until just before the half when a long free kick found the head of a VSLT attacker and rippled the back of the net, but he was offside.
City burst out of the blocks after halftime, with forward Will Kidd finding space but not quite the final ball.
VSLT had the bulk of possession, with City sitting deep, and were methodical in how their looked to carve chances. Angel Riera in particular was thoughtful in how he used the ball, with a number of searching passes including one that forced City goalkeeper Peter Runquist to be quick on his feet.
It was Minneapolis City who broke the deadlock.
A heavy foul on winger Friendt second after he had created a chance meant a freekick about 20 yards out and wide right. Martin Browne flighted a curling in-swinger deep into the 6-yard box where center back AJ Albers powered home.
VSLT didn’t let their heads drop. Riera was finding luck with a long diagonal into the corner and, though a City player was down injured, he played it again, where his winger cut in and caused confusion in the box. A bobbling ball fell to the striker and it was equalized. Just a few minutes behind and the scores were level again.
As the second half wore on, and the heat beat down, the game fell into a predictable pattern as City sat deep while VSLT played the ball in front of the defense and continued to settle for long shots or crosses. City looked to break quickly.
VSLT had the vast amount of possession in the later stages, but the best chances were all City’s as forward Tim Wills’ hold-up play allowed Javi Alcantara, on for Will Kidd, and Whitney Browne, on for Isaac Friendt, to race in behind the defense.
Indeed it was link-up between Wills and Alcantara that broke the deadlock with just 10 minutes remaining.
Wills received a ball to feet from Martin Browne, held off two defenders and played a short ball to Alcantara who took a touch and then fired low into the left corner of the goal.
VSLT continued to push in the dying stages of the game but just couldn’t create a clear-cut chance, while City almost scored again with Wills once more using his strength on the ball to lay off for Alcantara. In this case, however, the referee whistled the ball back for a foul.
In the end, it was a battling victory for 10-man Minneapolis City as they beat cross-town rivals VSLT FC 2-1 in the May sun.