For the past two seasons, the weather has been anything but kind for Med City FC, and Sunday afternoon’s contest against visiting Dakota Fusion FC was no different. It started out as a beautiful Sunday afternoon, where fans enjoyed a pre-game tailgate party thrown by Rochester’s Post-Bulletin newspaper and a guest appearance from “American Ninja Warrior” star Roo Yori. However, the nice weather didn’t last long…
The game kicked off with Med City FC quickly in control in terms of possession and the Mayhem created several early chances but misfired on their early attempts. Dakota Fusion FC, who had made the six-hour trip from Fargo-Moorhead were weathering the Mayhem storm as an impending thunderstorm crawled into the area. Then, in the 24th minute a miss-timed tackle by Fusion forward Isaac Kehson drew a straight red card from the center referee and Dakota found themselves down a man. Less than two minutes later the storm system that had been rolling in filled the sky with lighting and the match was suspended for a weather delay.
It was nearly an hour and a half before the two teams retook the field. And while Med City FC would continue to dictate play and create chances, Dakota Fusion held their nerve and the two teams would end the first half at 0-0.
The Mayhem continued to control the game and pressure the Fusion defense and the pressure finally paid off in the 52nd minute as Fusion defender Justin Masudi was penalized for a hand ball in the box. Med City FC’s leading scorer Francisco Neto stepped up to blast the spot kick past Fusion keeper Lukas Billhardt to register his ninth conference goal in ten games.
Substitute Ayo Adebayo entered the match in the 59th minute and added to the Mayhem lead just six minutes later, deftly turning in a cross from defender Ignacio Milla to make the score 2-0. Another Med City FC sub, Jordan Lennon, would take even less time to make an impact, coming on in the 68th minute and adding a third goal just two minutes after entering courtesy of a fine through-ball from Alan Schembri Wismayer.
Lennon and Man of the Match Adebayo would then combine for the fourth goal in the 82nd minute, as Lennon used his pace to drive up the right side of the field and slot a ball into the path of Adebayo, who scored his second of the match at the second time of asking after Fusion goalkeeper Billhardt stopped his initial effort.
Mayhem midfielder Jack Hilton-Jones was credited with a fifth goal in the 87th minute, as his close-range shot bounced around off a couple defenders and found the net. That wrapped up the scoring as Med City FC claimed a 5-0 victory. It was a vital win for the Mayhem, who are in a three-team race for the two playoff spots in the NPSL’s North Conference. It leaves them just one point behind conference-leading Minneapolis City SC and one point ahead of defending Midwest regional champions Duluth FC.
Med City FC has just two regular season conference games remaining. The team welcomes a tough Minnesota TwinStars team to Rochester on Saturday, July 6 before finishing up on the road in Minneapolis against Minneapolis City SC on Friday, July 12. With Duluth FC and Minneapolis City SC meeting in Duluth on July 6, the races for the playoff spots and conference title look almost sure to come down to the last weekend of play.