MATCHDAY PREVIEW: SIOUX FALLS

Sioux Falls are coming to town for the third of four home games in a row, and it’s critical points on the line in the race for the title.

With Duluth FC completely re-tooled and looking strong as ever and Rochester’s Med City FC off to a perfect start as well, the pressure is already on to grab every point available while they’re up for grabs. And they are up for grabs against a Sioux Falls Thunder team that has already lost to each of Duluth and Med City–and never won a game in Minneapolis.

The Crows have gotten the job done in the first two games this season without ever seeming like they have gotten out of first gear. Sioux Falls will provide a sterner test than La Crosse did, so Minneapolis City will have to be sharper than they were last weekend when three late goals added gloss to an otherwise dull game.

Sioux Falls, on the other hand, have done what you would expect in beating Aris and while their defense has improved they were still comfortably beaten by Duluth and Med City. The Crows will be expected to do the same.

THUNDER SCOUTING REPORT

Always a cipher because of the relative low profile of South Dakota soccer and the dearth of media coverage, social or otherwise, the first weeks of the season have shown a Sioux Falls team with a familiar faces providing the backbone of the team. There are some new faces, mostly notable a big upgrade between the sticks, but Amadu Meyers is coming back for another season with a team that hasn’t seen a major overhaul.

The Thunder, who finished seventh in the conference last season, will be hoping that familiarity plus the quality from the scattering of new players will be enough to make a difference.

CITY SCOUTING REPORT

The result was never in doubt, but a sense of disappointment hung over Friday’s match against La Crosse. The scoreline was more than fair, it’s true. And yet, nobody on the Crows team will call it a vintage performance. There was a slackness to the play that is going to have to get ironed out because the schedule only gets tougher from here.

Jonah Garcia scores against Dakota Fusion. Photo: Daniel Mick

That said, and bearing in mind the opponents, the central defensive partnership of Max Kent and Jonah Garcia is looking good already. As cool and collected on the ball as they are when called on to defend, this pairing is one to watch as the season goes forward.

Players continue to return to the team, and Friday saw first appearances this season for Nick Hutton, who scored a brace, Sekou Kromah, and a first appearance ever for teenager Kevin Andrews.

There are more still to come, with highly-touted Luke Haakenson joining the camp at the end of May, midfielders Aidan O’Driscoll and Arthur Parens returning from college soon, centerback Myles Norville recovering from injury, and centerback Trey Benhart available after bereavement leave. In other words, the team could get even stronger.

Head coach Matt vanBenschoten said, “Friday is a big game for us. I think we’ve learned in our first two games that all of the NPSL North has dramatically improved and there’s no such thing as a “gimme” Frankly, we have not been at our best so far and while we’ve had some really good moments we have to find some consistency. There are some new faces in the lineup tonight. I’m excited to see if we can perform well and, if we do, I’m confident we will get a result.”

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