Wednesday at 8:00pm—note the kick-off time—Minneapolis City host Minnesota TwinStars less than a week after the spectacularly physical match at Prairie Seeds Academy.
Minneapolis City escaped from that match with the win, with no injuries and, notably, no cards.
The Crows were unfazed by the Dragons’ approach, and showed that they would not be provoked into unsporting play. Look for those same cool heads to be on the field on Wednesday in a match that City will desperately want three points from to continue their drive for the title—and TwinStars will desperately want three points from to stay in the playoff hunt.
Goalkeeper Matt Elder said that he is “looking forward to the home game against the Twinstars this week.”
He continued, “it’s shaping up to be a nice rivalry—they were lucky to finish last weeks game with 10, and probably should have had a couple more sent off. It’s important to keep our heads and play our brand of soccer. As long as we do that, we will continue rolling.”
Early season injuries to Isaac Friendt, Ben Wexler and Branden McGarrity should be almost mended, but none of those three will be available to play on Wednesday, unfortunately.
Abdallah Bah is day-to-day and will be a late call by the physio, David Bloomquist on if he is fit. Tommy Katsiyiannis is back from Northwestern and in training and will be racing to be match fit for this week’s games.
As the Crows have for most of the season, they will be calling in U23 players to strengthen the side. Midfielders Aidan O’Driscoll and Lionel Vang featured and did well in Saturday’s game against Sioux Falls and will be in training this week.
TwinStars scouting report
What you saw on Thursday is what you’re likely to get: TwinStars will line-up in their standard 3-5-2 and look to play balls in behind the City backline for Chase Wright to run onto.
That is not to say that they are a direct team. Not at all. They will look to possess the ball, but Wright’s pace and predilection to hang off of the last defender are key weapons in their attacking arsenal.
In terms of changes, expect to see Karim Darbaki and Sean Teske to start this time around.
Darbaki will add quality on the ball and steel off the ball. Teske will be extremely hard to score on. This could easily end 1-0 again, despite the otherwise high-scoring games that these two teams have played.
Saturday’s win over Sioux Falls coupled with VSLT’s loss to Duluth leaves the Crows with a 4 point cushion in first place with 5 games left to play, albeit with 3 of those five games against the second, third and fourth placed teams.
Adam Pribyl issued a challenge to the team, saying “we can’t be complacent. We need to stay hungry.”
He continued, praising the team for its hunger so far, “I think we saw that hunger last week. We took 3 points from a very intense and physical match against Twinstars on Thursday, and turned around and smashed Sioux Falls 6-1. It shows our depth, our quality, but more than anything our passion and drive.”
Going up against a team like the TwinStars, technical, extremely physical, dangerous in the attack, presents an extreme challenge, perhaps the biggest of the remaining challenges in conference play. Approaching the game with hunger for a result (and a cool head) is critical.
Pribyl elaborated, “Wednesday versus Twinstars will be a difficult match. They are a physical team, and we have to match that physicality while keeping our heads. Our focus now is getting a positive result on Wednesday. At times that means drowning out a lot of outside noise, and turning to each other at training and leaning on each other to push ourselves to new heights.”