Last Friday, Med City FC had arguably its best, most intense practice of the season. The team carried that intensity over to their game Saturday night against Duluth FC and used it to drive them to a 3-1 victory over the Bluegreens in a battle of unbeatens in Rochester, Minnesota. Duluth FC had entered the game with a record of 6-0-2 and Med City FC sat two points behind with a record of 5-0-3. The Mayhem were looking to overcome the disappointment of a 2-2 draw the weekend before that seemed to have left the team in a little bit of a funk at the beginning of the week.
That funk was lifted on Saturday, as Med City FC came out firing, literally, from the opening whistle. The Mayhem exerted a lot of early pressure on Duluth FC and only the goalkeeping heroics of Bluegreens keeper Sullivan Lauderdale kept the hosts off the scoreboard. Med City FC went on to dominate much of the first half but had nothing on the scoreboard to show for their efforts and the game was tied at 0-0 at halftime.
Duluth FC came out with more intensity in the second half and could have taken the lead, but Med City FC goalkeeper AJ Jarvis made a spectacular save, contorting his body to keep the ball from crossing his goal line. Indeed, the Bluegreens looked the better side for the first fifteen minutes of the second half, putting pressure on the Med City FC defense and creating a handful of dangerous scoring opportunities. But, ultimately, Med City FC would strike first.
In the 71st minute, the Mayhem’s Francisco Neto swung in a corner kick that was met by Man of the Match Niklas Roessler. He drove the ball into the net to give Med City FC a 1-0 lead. Just six minutes later, the Mayhem won a penalty kick after a Duluth FC defender was called for a hand ball in the box. Neto stepped up and buried the PK, scoring his eighth goal of the season in the process. The goal marked the first time that either team had scored twice against the other in what has historically been a tight, low-scoring series of matches between the two rivals.
Duluth FC was down but certainly not out and the Bluegreens got the hearts of the Mayhem fans in attendance and watching via their Mycujoo livestream pounding when Duluth midfielder Lucas Jacobs scored in the 86th minute to cut the Med City lead to 2-1. But just a minute later the Mayhem scored again, working a short corner into the area and across the box, where it was tapped in by midfielder Jack Hilton-Jones. His third goal of the season reopened a two-goal cushion for the home team.
Duluth FC would push for goals as the game wound down, and if not for more goalkeeping wizardry from Med City FC keeper Jarvis, they would have closed the gap. The Bluegreens could not, however, and the game finished with a 3-1 win for the Mayhem, handing Duluth FC their first loss of the season and keeping Med City FC undefeated.
“This was a huge win for the team,” said Med City FC general manager Frank Spaeth. “We’ve had some epic clashes with Duluth FC over the past few years and this is the first time we’ve managed to beat them. It was good to finally get a win in the series.”
“It was a complete team effort tonight,” said Mayhem head coach Neil Cassidy. “This team has really become a family and we all fought for each other tonight. It was good to see the intensity of our training session on Friday carry over to our performance, and to get the win.”
Both Spaeth and Cassidy were also quick to praise the work of Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine and Med City FC athletic trainer Kristen Greek Erredge. Several players have been fighting through knocks picked up during the game-packed season and Erredge has been instrumental in helping them manage and recover from the issues. “She’s been amazing! She should probably be on the short list for our MVP this season,” Spaeth said.
Med City FC has a busy week ahead. The team is participating in several activities related to Rochester’s annual week-long Rochesterfest event, including a Sports Night on Wednesday, June 26 and a parade on Saturday, June 29. The team plays a friendly against local team Rochester FC on Friday, June 28 and then welcomes Dakota Fusion FC to Rochester on Sunday, June 30.