Med City FC and Minneapolis City SC reached the midway point of the NPSL North Conference season on Saturday night, as the Crows came down to Rochester for a battle of the teams holding down the top two spots in the conference. And, in what proved to be a gritty, hard-fought game, the two teams ended in a 1-1 draw.
Both teams had their chances in the first half. The first one fell the way of the Crows, as a fine shot from Minneapolis City forced Med City FC goalkeeper AJ Jarvis into a sprawling save to his right. The Mayhem would quickly return fire, as a Minneapolis City turnover in their defensive third created a chance for Med City FC midfielder Tristan Jumeau, who fired a rocket shot against the post. Each team had a few more chances in the half, but neither could convert and the teams went into the locker rooms tied at 0-0 at halftime.
Med City FC would draw first blood in the 58th minute of the second half. Halftime substitute Emmanuel Lopez was judged to have been pushed over by a defender in the Minneapolis City SC box, and the referee awarded the Mayhem with a penalty kick. Med City’s leading scorer, Francisco Neto, stepped up and dispatched the penalty past Crows’ keeper Matt Elder to give Med City a 1-0 lead. It was Neto’s seventh goal of the season.
The Mayhem would hold that lead all the way until 90th minute, when some good work by the Crows created a chance for substitute Tim Wills to send the ball past Med City keeper Jarvis and into the back of the net to tie the score at 1-1. Med City FC would push in injury time to grab a late winner but none was to come and the game ended in a tie, with Med City FC retaining the top spot in the conference and Minneapolis City SC remaining in second place, one point behind.
“We did a decent job in the first half of the game and really should have taken better advantage of our chances,” said Med City FC head coach Neil Cassidy after the match. “But, overall, it certainly wasn’t our best game. We weren’t as dangerous on the attack as we have been in our other games this season, and we’ll be spending time focusing on our transition into the attack as we prepare for the weekend. It was a rough way to drop points, giving up a goal like that so late.”
It was, indeed, a tough end to what had been an even tougher 24 hours for Med City FC coach Neil Cassidy. Strong storms had rolled into Rochester the night before the match and Cassidy’s neighborhood bore the brunt of the storm, with his house sustaining extensive damage as well as a loss of water and electricity to the home. Cassidy and his family will be picking up the pieces from the damaging storm for the next several weeks.
Med City FC will be back in action on Saturday afternoon, as they travel to La Crosse, Wisconsin, to take on LC Aris FC, who is fresh off their first win in six seasons. Meanwhile, Minneapolis City SC will take on Des Moines Wanderers FC in a non-conference match-up. These two teams will face off again the last weekend of the regular season, as the Mayhem will travel up to Minneapolis for what could be a vital showdown in the conference.