It’s been almost 700 days since the last home match for Minneapolis City, making Friday’s home opener against Dakota Fusion all the more special.The two-time defending North Conference champions got their campaign off on the right foot with a 3-0 win at Sioux Falls Thunder. A barely regulation sized, soggy, uneven, and patchy pitch challenged the Crows, as did some very heavy tackles, but a City would not be denied and Medo Youssef, Will Kidd, and Miles Stockman-Willis did the damage in Sioux Falls. “It was not the easiest game, not the cleanest game” said head coach Matt vanBenschoten. “We got the three points and that’s what we needed.”

Dakota Fusion did not have as happy of a start to the season as they were beaten 4-1 by Joy St. Louis Park, with three first half goals, two by former Crow Whitney Browne, driving the expansion club forward. Given that result, how City does on Friday against Dakota will be a good yardstick for these teams early in the season.

DAKOTA FUSION SCOUTING REPORT

It is early in the season and players are continuing to join up with their clubs as their college year ends. That gives hope to Dakota Fusion, who were well beaten in their opener, that help may be on the way. It also clouds the scouting picture for their opponents. Will additional college-based players join up? If so, when? Will they be match fit right away?

While Dakota Fusion found success in 2017, on the back of the folded FC Fargo’s team building efforts, the club has seen results slide in recent years. It may be that the natural level for this club is not as a perennial playoff team, but as firmly mid-table and an occasional spoiler.

“Every game is difficult at this level” said scouting director Jon Bisswurm. “With players returning, the difficulty of playing away, and the short season making every game an opportunity, you just can’t look at what happened the week before as indicative of anything more than what happened the week before. We’re working hard to prepare for Fusion. It won’t be easy.”

CITY SCOUTING REPORT

The Crows can’t wait to get back to Edor Nelson Field, where the regulation-sized turf field will be a stark contrast to the playing experience offered by Yankton Trail Park.

They will do so with three points and some early confidence for striker Medo Youssef, who bagged his first City goal and laid on an assist as well. With Will Kidd and Miles Stockman-Wills back on the scoresheet, and a clean sheet courtesy of the Matt Elder, Charlie Adams, Jonah Garcia, Abdallah Bah, Matt Murakami rear guard, it’s clear that the core of the team remains as competitive and focused as ever.

Players continue to join up with the City squad, with fan favorite Max Kent back in training this week. He was joined by Kevin Andrews, who is back in the United States after playing the Portuguese season with Sport Uniao Sintrense, and midfielder Brayan Lopez. Historically, players have not been rushed into the City team as they return. However, with Justin Oliver questionable after suffering a bad head gash on Saturday, that may change.

“After last weekends adventure in Sioux Falls where we had sleeting rain, saw a 1st half red card and a trip to the ER, we are very happy to be back home this week” said head coach Matt vanBenschoten. “More and more of our out of town players continue to return and the level in training is at an all-time high. Combined with that and the chance to finally play in front of our fans again, I know our guys are really amped up for this Friday.”