Minneapolis City Futures 2(13) – 2(12) St. Croix
Last week, we finally witnessed the conclusion of the 2023 UPSL Midwest-West season, with Minneapolis City Futures remaining undefeated and crowned champions with a ticket to the UPSL regional playoffs.
There had been a fair share of hyping up for this game from folks around the Minnesota lower league scene, including yours truly, after the high level seasons both teams played and the 3-2 result to their regular season meeting. That hype turned out to be well-placed as we saw what may have been the wildest UPSL Midwest-West final yet.
Carter Hermanson got the Futures on the board in the 34th minute with an assist from Rigo Arellano. That lead would last the Futures 60 minutes, before a last minute St. Croix equalizer from Carver Tierney forced the game into aded extra time.
St. Croix took the lead in the 116th minute through Tierney, suddenly on the doorstep of victory. It was the Futures turn, however, to equalize late. A 120th minute goal from Collin Byrne made it 2-2 and took the game to penalties, perhaps causing flashbacks to the 2022 final between the Futures and Vlora. For the second year in a row, Minneapolis City Futures went on to win the Midwest-West on penalties, coming out on top of a wild 14 round penalty shootout, 13-12.
This Minneapolis City Futures team has been undeniable. There is simply no doubt that they deserved this spot. Without a loss this season, the Futures were pushed to the edge in both of their games against St. Croix, but the Crows consistently refused failure. Their coming playoff run should be a fun journey for a group that deserves the exposure it will bring.
Dakota Fusion 3-1 La Crosse Aris
Sioux Falls 6-1 Joy Athletic
Dakota Fusion 8-2 Joy Athletic
Med City 1-1 Duluth
It was a good week for the Fusion, who picked up two wins and look like they’ll be a side to watch out for in the opening round of the playoffs. Joy Athletic, meanwhile, had a difficult run, suffering losses that leave the TwinStars in a very good position to clinch fourth soon.
Duluth dropped points for the first time in NPSL play this season, drawing Med City 1-1. However, a 1-1 draw a man down at the reigning champs without the likes of Jake Starling and Kostya Domaratskyy present has plenty of plus sides for the BlueGreens. For Med City, it is a result that reinvigorates the coming playoff games and shows the Mayhem are still ready to fight for their title.
Sioux Falls are out of the playoff picture, but it is worth noting they earned their first win of the season last week, blasting six goals past Joy. It’s the result of a lot of hard work and means that every club in the North will have at least one win this year.