The weather was unfortunately terrible, to the point that Sioux Falls Thunder vs La Crosse Aris was cancelled, and it certainly impacted the quality of play across the division in Saturday’s games but didn’t stop two big results from away teams on a day when Dakota Fusion were the only perfect team left standing in just week two.
TwinStars 1, VSLT FC 3
1. Viejos son los Trapos have a tactical set-up that is a great fit for this league. They sit deep and possess in their half before looking for a long pass to release an attacker, a forward or a winger, and the classic “short, short, long” can take apart defenses in short seasons and attacking without committing too many players keeps them tight at the back. A big 3-1 win and they are back in the hunt for the playoffs.
2. TwinStars need a bit more savvy. This is a side that is great at keeping the ball, but, they have struggled against streetwise teams like Duluth and VSLT. There is more than enough talent in the team, but is there the nous to win big games against smart teams?
Minneapolis City 1, Duluth FC 1
1. Duluth will do whatever it takes to get a result. Their fight to the finish was admirable, and the quick counter-attack for the equalizer impressively well played, but this is still a team that kicked, fouled, and long-balled their way through the game.
For example, they “everyday tackled” guys like Isaac Friends every time he got the ball, which was 10 times in the first half, leaving him with visible stud marks as he left the game in the second half with injury:
It was ugly throughout. The seven players surrounding and remonstrating with the referee at half time, the groups of players pointing and yelling at the referee after every call against them, the constant fouling and then the post-game trolling is more than enough to turn off a neutral. They are the Pulis-era Stoke of this league, only without the likable Peter Crouch who is awesome at life.
That said, who doesn’t love a good conspiracy theory?
2. Like I said, Minneapolis is lacking a top forward and it is impacting their complete game. Unlike Duluth’s Farrar, who was a target for long balls and a focal point for his team, City’s Stevenson struggled to make an impression, either with pace or in a physical battle with the centerbacks. The question remains if there are enough goals in this team.
Dakota Fusion 3, Med City FC 0
1. Dakota Fusion with Jade Johnson is a different proposition and it shows. I have already waxed poetic about the North Dakotan frontman and, had I know he was signed, would have predicted Fusion way higher in the table than I did. He makes this team very dangerous.
2. Our favorite blogger from Fargo noted that Med City played a high line and were punished for it. First seasons are hard, long away trips are hard, and building a team from scratch is hard and we saw just how hard as they were dismantled on Saturday. How quickly they find the right team and tactical mix will determine if this is a wake-up call or if this is the real Med City.
A big week is coming up with a number of storyline that will keep things interesting.
Minneapolis City face off against Med City FC and Dakota Fusion over three days, and it will be a test of all three teams. How does Minneapolis recover from that last minute draw? Are Dakota Fusion now favorites for the title? Can Med City get sorted at the back quickly enough to win points in Minneapolis and in St Paul against VSLT on Saturday?
TwinStars take on Sioux Falls Thunder and we will find out if TwinStars faced two tough opponents or if I overrated them. For Sioux Falls, we will see just how worried we should be about them challenging Aris for the wooden spoon.
Finally, Aris travels to Duluth for the usual foregone conclusion.
See you all next week with more things we learned and May Power Rankings!