The visit of La Crosse Aris is a big chance for the Crows to pick up early points and take top spot in the North Conference table.
That is not to say that Aris should be underestimated. Though the score over four games between the two is 24-0 in favor of Minneapolis City, the Crows were famously held to a 0-0 draw in La Crosse late last season. Not that it mattered in the end as City went on to win out, beating Duluth 4-2 to win the title at home with a game still to play. Despite the end result, it was a surprising result and no doubt one that everyone in the City of Lakes will be keen to ensure does not happen again.
It shouldn’t happen again.
Aris were beaten 4-0 by Sioux Falls last weekend while City cruised to a more-comfortable-than-the-scoreline-suggests 2-1 win over Dakota Fusion.
Still, there is a reason the games are played.
ARIS SCOUTING REPORT
Head coach Greg Saliaras is back at the helm of La Crosse Aris and continues, it appears, to focus his recruiting on younger players from the area. He will get them built into a coherent team as he always does but the North Conference requires a mix of raw talent and physicality and often Aris get overpowered.
From a scouting standpoint, little has been announced by Aris so the best assumption is “same as it ever was” and plan accordingly.
CITY SCOUTING REPORT
The Crows got the win on Saturday, but it was not without incident as City conceded a penalty and allowed a late goal through a defensive mishap. That suggests that there remains some work to be done to get the team fully bedded in, though the strength of the performance and the confidence in getting the results are strong building blocks from vanBenschoten’s team.
Centerback Max Kent and his defensive partner Jonah Garcia stole the headlines with each bagging a goal and marshalling a nearly faultless defensive display. They may have less to do this game than when faced with a fast, physical, and tricky Dakota Fusion attack, but their prowess at set pieces will surely see them heavily involved in the action.
It was also interesting to see their comfort on the ball and willingness to play passes long and short in what was a controlled performance from both.
Players continue to return from college this. Could this be an opportunity for livewires like Sekou Kromah to make an appearance? Will we see stalwarts like Nick Hutton and Myles Norville back in the team or will vanBenschoten take this chance to rest them for a busy June? There are definite personnel questions heading into the game.
Head coach Matt vanBenschoten said “last week was not our best, but regardless we got the win.”
“This Friday is no different” he continued “and we need to get another three points. Aris proved to us last year that we can’t take them for granted. We’ll have a few new players who I think can come in and make an impact on the game and hopefully win us another three points.”
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