Image: Minneapolis City SC
When Minneapolis City and St. Croix took the field this past Saturday to once again contest the Twin Cities Derby, it was hard to find much of a through-line between the teams playing at Edor Nelson Field and the teams that were so evenly matched last season, each earning a win, loss, and draw during their three games.
There’s a new head coach adorning each of the touchlines: Carl Craig for the Crows, and Andy Kohel for the Legends. The players on the pitch were also subject to a significant amount of overhaul, which is to be expected when it comes to a pre-professional league. In fact, some players found themselves on opposite sides from where they were last season, with Victor Gaulmin, Darley Florvil, and Clemente Arcuch-Puig making the trip over to Minneapolis City and Bernard Assibey-Rhule and Erick Bloom finding themselves in the Legends’ gray to start the game.
However, fans of the two teams will be delighted to know that there was no love lost between the two teams during the offseason. The game found itself get off to a bit of a slow start, with both teams looking lost in possession and making silly mistakes that led to a slower pace of play. Once the ball started bouncing around though, that’s when all of the crunching tackles and counter-attacks get to join the fray. The game managed to last a whole thirteen minutes before the first of seven yellow cards was shown, when Luca Contestabile took down a streaking Kolton Prater in the midfield.
It wasn’t until the 31st minute that Hakeem Morgan was able to open the scoring off of a free-kick. Morgan got the ball up and over the wall, placing it just inside the near post. Wesley Sanders did a good job to get a hand on it, but couldn’t do enough to keep the ball out. City took that 1-0 lead into half-time, but given the number of chances that Eli Goldman found himself in acres of space, it was a wonder that they hadn’t managed to convert a second goal.
The second half found St. Croix finally beginning to click. Nathan Donovan, who in the first half was a one man counter-attack on numerous occasions, was finally able to put the finishing touches on one, outracing his defender, chipping the ball over the Crows goalkeeper to himself, and finishing cooly to tie the match up in the 47th minute. Just six minutes later the Legends would add onto their lead, taking advantage of their corner kick dominance with Otis Andersen adding his name to the scoresheet after a scramble in the box.
St. Croix was able to ride their stalwart defense out for the rest of the game, relying on defensive talisman Jared Hecht to clean up a couple of dangerous chances, and close out their 2-1 victory over Minneapolis City.
With their win, the Legends rise to the top of the Deep North standings, by virtue of them and City being the only two teams to have played a game this weekend. The Crows will look to rebound quickly as they play host to RKC Third Coast on Saturday, May 20 at 6pm. St. Croix, meanwhile, will look to extend their division lead in their next game, a home match-up with Bavarian United SC on Sunday, May 21 at 3pm.
You can catch a replay of the St. Croix-Minneapolis City game here: https://elevensports.com/view/event/clh0m25sk5mb20fdvycw167sw?hid=clhng82nu482o158k2nsh2ksm