The second weekend USL League Two Deep North Division action saw thirteen(!) goals scored between Minneapolis City’s match-up against RKC Third Coast and St. Croix’s home opener against Bavarian United SC, both newcomers to the conference and looking to make their mark early on in the season.
RKC Third Coast 5-3 Minneapolis City
Minneapolis City’s 100th competitive match started with a bang, unfortunately, it wasn’t for the home team. RKC put a sour taste into the City faithful’s mouths, knocking in two goals within the first eight minutes of gameplay to take a commanding lead at Edor Nelson field. Viktor Vondryska got the visitors started, slotting home a beautiful through ball from Malte Keiser to put them up 1-0 in the 3rd minute of the match. Not to be outdone, Nick Cenek decided to put his own mark on the match, cutting inside from the left wing before loosing a rocket of a ball into the upper ninety to extend their early lead.
Not to be outdone, Eli Goldman opened his 2023 goal account through some serious on-ball pressure. After Henry Bruer mishandled a back pass, Goldman and Shea Bechtel pounced on the hapless defender, winning the ball and allowing Eli to finish from a seemingly impossible angle to bring the Crows back within one.
The two sides would see three more goals in the first half, Malte Keiser picking up one of his own in the 31st minute off of a beautiful RKC counter-attack that saw him all alone with the goal to put them back up by two. Only five minutes later Eli Goldman picked up his second of the night, slotting home a near identical goal to his first as he ran onto a through ball and put it away from his favorite angle again. And finally, in the third minute of stoppage time, David Cox again put Racine back up by two when he volleyed home a headed pass to close out the half with RKC Third Coast leading City 4-2.
The second half saw a much tamer affair take place, with only two goals from the sides, Max Floriani proving that RKC isn’t a one trick pony by knocking home a header from a corner in the 60th minute. The second saw Eli Goldman complete Minneapolis City’s first USL2 hat trick as he powered home a penalty kick for his 3rd of the match.
What could be easily lost among the flurry of goals and Eli Goldman’s hat trick, was Oscar Herrera’s performance in net for the Crows. RKC was deadly on the counter, and Herrera stepped up and faced numerous one-on-one opportunities with poise and power. Without him, Minneapolis City may have had a significantly more lopsided scoreline go against them.
You can watch the entire eight goal thriller here: https://elevensports.com/en/view/event/clh3slqe07rnw0fdvg9pkkf0h
St. Croix Legends 3-2 Bavarian United SC
St. Croix’s home opener got off to a rough start, before Nathan Donovan took over, notching two goals and an assist on the day to lead the Legends to an undefeated start through two games.
The Bavarians struck first in this evenly contested game, though whether it was an own goal or not is up for interpretation. Jackson Castro recycled a corner kick, sending a cross into the box that Wesley Sanders punched away, only for it to deflect into his goal to provide the visitors with the lead in the 27th minute. The St. Croix announcers credited Fabian Alvarez with the goal, but there is the possibility that it was an own goal from Dylan Olson (you can check out the match at the link below and let me know your thoughts).
Donovan would rock home his first goal of the game shortly after, as Ethan Anderson sent a looping ball in over the Bavarians’ back line for Nathan to run onto. With the defender beaten, all he had to do was put the ball into the side-netting to even up the game and put the Legends right back in it. The score would remain knotted up 1-1 when the half drew to a close.
Neither team was able to take control of the game in the second half, each having their chances in a true back-and-forth game. Finally, in the 64th minute Coleman was able to put Bavarian United back in front, cutting in from the right wing and loosing a bullet of a shot directly into, and (unfortunately for him) through Sanders’ gloves. Luckily for St. Croix, Donovan refused to let the visitors have any sort of joy. Barely two minutes later a turnover ended up gratuitously at his feet, and he wasted no time in taking it up the field and into the opposing box where he was brought down by Tobias Jahn, earning a penalty for his troubles. Jahn got himself a yellow card, and Nathan Donovan got his brace, finishing cooly low and to the left for more delicious parity between the two sides.
The final piece of scoring came in the 77th minute, again from Donovan (surprise, surprise), but this time in the form of an assist. Kolton Prater sent another ball for Donovan to chase down over the top, and after he sucked Jahn into him, rolled it across the six-yard-box to a wide open Carter Thiesfeld to put the Legends up for good.
Bavarian United would try in vain for the rest of the game to score, coming close in the 80th minute when Fodstad put the ball in the back of the net, only to have the goal taken away for offsides in the build-up, but the only thing worthy of note in the final portion of play was a red card issued to Bavarians’ Luke Mitchell for denial of a goal scoring opportunity against (who else?) Nathan Donovan.
You can check out the match (with it’s possible own-goal) on St. Croix’s youtube page, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLWo2hc7j-I
Who’s on First, and What’s Ahead?
Through the first two matchweeks of the USL2 season, the St. Croix Legends sit alone atop the Deep North Division on six points, one of three teams (Minneapolis City SC and Bavarian United SC) to have played both games. RKC Third Coast and fellow Minnesota club Rochester FC are right behind them, both sitting on three points through one game played. The aforementioned Minneapolis City and Bavarian United find themselves in the cellar of the division, with neither picking up points in their games, while FC Manitoba and Thunder Bay Chill still haven’t begun their seasons.
Minneapolis City will look to turn their season around as they make their first road trip of the season to take on USL2 newcomer Rochester FC, who will be thirsty for more following their inaugural win against Bavarian at home on the 19th. Meanwhile, St. Croix will have the week off before they make the trip out to Wisconsin for their first ever match against RKC Third Coast.
Looking for a recap of Rochester FC’s 2-1 win over Bavarian United? You can find that on our page here, and follow along with Andrew Nelson (@NinesNorth on Twitter) as they bring you all of the action from Rochester, MN!