Med City FC Overcomes Heat, LC Aris FC, to Remain Undefeated

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LC Aris FC has always been a tough proposition on the road for Med City FC, and their encounter in La Crosse, Wisconsin on Saturday afternoon proved no different, as the Mayhem waited until late to score the goals that would eventually see them claim a 3-1 victory to remain undefeated and in first place in the NPSL North Conference.

On an extremely hot and muggy afternoon, with temperatures in the high-80s, both teams struggled to find their best soccer. Med City FC opened the scoring in the 10th minute, as outside midfielder Abel Gebrekiros used his pace and skill to beat an LC Aris defender, drive across the end line and slot a ball back to an onrushing Tristan Jumeau, who buried it for a 1-0 lead. It was a lead that wouldn’t last long, however.

Just three minutes later, LC Aris FC would equalize. The referee awarded Aris a free kick in a dangerous area just a few yards outside the box and Aris midfielder Adhemar Lino Cortez bent his kick around the Med City wall and into the top corner of the net. That would be all the scoring in the first half and the teams would leave the field at halftime knotted at 1-1.

The two teams battled through the second half, with Med City FC looking to control play and LC Aris FC looking to counter-attack. Despite having several good opportunities, it wasn’t until the 77th minute that the Mayhem grabbed the eventual game winner. Aris goalkeeper Reighly Schultz couldn’t handle a Francisco Neto free kick cleanly and the ball fell to Mayhem defender Andrew Wilkinson. His shot was parried by Schultz, but Med City FC’s other center back, Man of the Match Nicholas Itopoulos, was on hand to score what turned out to be the game winning goal on the rebound and give Med City a 2-1 lead.

The Mayhem would add a third goal in the 90th minute, as Neto led an attack, driving at the Aris defense and then dishing the ball off to substitute Estiven Garcia, who scored after being on the field for only a minute. Both teams would struggle through the heat for five minutes of extra time, with the Mayhem working to play keep away from Aris as the home team pushed to change the score line.

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In the end, Med City FC headed back home to Rochester with the 3-1 win. The victory was their fourth on the road this season in five attempts, with their only away blemish a 1-1 draw with Duluth FC a few weeks ago. The Mayhem will now enjoy playing four of its final five conference games at home.

“We’ve had a tough schedule the first half of the season, and we’re really pleased with how we’ve done so far,” said Med City FC general manager Frank Spaeth. “Now it’s important that we take advantage of being at home for so many of the games in the second half of the season.”

Med City FC travels to Dubuque, Iowa on Tuesday evening for a non-conference match, before welcoming Sioux Falls Thunder FC to Rochester next Saturday evening, June 15. The game will be at Rochester Community and Technical College with kickoff set for 7 PM.

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Med City FC Remains Undefeated After 1-1 Draw with Minneapolis City SC

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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.

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“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.

Med City FC Defeats Dakota Fusion FC on the Road

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Med City FC made its longest road trip of the season Saturday, heading up to Fargo-Moorhead to face Dakota Fusion FC. After the dust had settled on a tough, hard-fought match, the Mayhem returned home with something they’d never returned from Fargo with before; a win.

On a beautiful night for soccer, it was the Fusion who struck first in the game, as a defensive error allowed Isaac Kehson to drive into the Mayhem defensive third, where he was able to beat goalkeeper Salvador Plaza one-on-one to put the ball in the back of the Med City FC net. The Mayhem would equalize fifteen minutes later, with Francisco Neto scoring his third goal in three conference games thanks to a beautifully weighted volleyed pass from midfielder Tristan Jumeau. The teams went into halftime with the score knotted at 1-1.

The Mayhem made some halftime adjustments, changing up their tactics based on how the Fusion had played in the first half. But it was a combination of technical skill and sheer grit and determination that eventually led to the Mayhem taking the lead. First half goal scorer Neto turned provider off a 62nd minute corner kick, as left back Ignacio Milla shook free of his marker in the box to bury a powerful header into the Fusion net to give the Mayhem a 2-1 lead.

The two would strike again just four minutes later, as Neto again set up for a corner kick, this time from the other side of the field, and Milla was the first to it again, getting a head on it in traffic as it rolled into the net for a 3-1 lead. Milla and Neto would share Man of the Match honors, with Milla scoring the two headed goals and Neto scoring a goal (his third in Med City FC’s three league games) and adding two assists. The Mayhem worked to control play from there on out and, despite the Fusion crafting a few late chances, they ran out comfortable winners.

“The Fusion are always a tough proposition when we come to play them here and I expect other teams in the conference to have a challenging game when they make the trip up here,” said Med City FC general manager Frank Spaeth. “They have some fast, skillful players and they play a very physical, direct style of soccer. We spent a lot of time in the first half trying to match their style, which isn’t the way we typically play. At halftime, we made a few adjustments and we were able to take better control of things in the second half.”

The win takes the Mayhem to 3-0 in the conference and 4-0 overall. Their road trips continue this-coming week, with a 3 ½ hour trip to Duluth, Minnesota on Wednesday to take on defending Midwest Regional Champions Duluth FC followed by a trip to the Twin Cities to take on Maplebrook TwinStars FC on Saturday, June 1.

Med City FC Strikes Early on the Way to Victory over LC Aris FC

Fagan Studios/Med City FC

Fagan Studios/Med City FC

Med City FC wanted to start out quickly against LC Aris FC in the meeting between the two teams on Wednesday night in Rochester, and they did exactly that. Just 33 seconds into the match, after heavy defensive pressure forced a turnover deep in LC Aris FC territory, midfielder Alan Schembri Wismayer opened the scoring from a beautiful cross by Finlay Bloodworth. It was the fastest goal in Med City FC history and set the Mayhem up on the way to victory.

Just three minutes later, Man of the Match Schembri Wismayer turned provider, setting up Francisco Neto, who scored his second conference goal in two conference games. At that point, the Mayhem had scored two goals on two shots in four minutes and looked to be cruising to a win. Credit to LC Aris FC, they didn’t fold despite the two early goals and it wasn’t until the 19th minute that Med City FC was able to add a third goal. That came courtesy of Estiven Garcia, off a wonderful volleyed pass from Niklas Roessler. Med City FC continued to dominate the first half and went into halftime with a 9-0 advantage in shots on goal and a 17-0 advantage in shots. The Mayhem also enjoyed 57% of the possession in the half.

Fagan Studios/Med City FC

Fagan Studios/Med City FC

With a game in Fargo-Moorhead on Saturday, Med City FC started planning ahead and pulled a couple starters to start the second half. And while they continued their dominance, they weren’t able to add to their early goal tally. As the half continued, the Mayhem made more substitutions, giving 17 players minutes in the game. And it was LC Aris FC who would get a final consolation score, with LC Aris FC substitute Christian Milner converting on a scramble in the Med City FC box in the 90th minute to cut the score to 3-1 and ruin the Med City FC shutout.

“I was really pleased with the way we implemented a lot of the tactics we’ve been working on in practice,” said Med City FC head coach Neil Cassidy. “We’ll continue to refine what we’re doing and hope that we can keep improving with each practice.”

Med City FC will look to follow up their strong performance on Saturday night, when they travel to Fargo-Moorhead to play Dakota Fusion FC. They’ll then face another long trip to Duluth to take on Duluth FC next Wednesday.

Med City FC Wins in Sioux Falls

The Med City FC Mayhem opened their 2019 conference season on the road with a trip to Sioux Falls, South Dakota to take on Sioux Falls Thunder FC on Saturday night at the University of Sioux Falls Sports Complex. Just like last year, the weather conditions were less than ideal. And just like last year, the Mayhem left Sioux Falls with a 2-0 victory.

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Med City FC opened the scoring in the 34th minute, with Francisco Neto controlling a long pass from Andrew Wilkinson and slotting it home to give the Mayhem a 1-0 lead. The Thunder rarely threatened the Med City FC goal and starting goalkeeper Salvador Plaza was not tested on many occasions.

Med City controlled play in the second half, with the wind at their backs, and finally made another breakthrough, with Estiven Garcia setting up Niklas Roessler for a tap-in in the 64th minute. That would be all the Mayhem would need, as the Thunder failed to register a shot on target in the second half.

Med City FC is back in action at home this Thursday, May 23, as they take on LC Aris FC at RCTC. Kickoff is at 7 PM and the gates open at 6:15. Thursday might is Gift of Life Transplant House night and anyone who donates an item for the House will get a chance to win prizes.

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