Grand Rapids, MI – On Saturday February 18th, 2023, Rapid City Football Club (RCFC) defeated the Cleveland Crunch at home in Major League Indoor Soccer (MLIS). The Crunch have dealt RCFC both of their losses this season, but they have a chance to take control of the division with another head-to-head matchup this upcoming weekend.
With emotions running high in what was a revenge game, Rapid City came out overly aggressive on the defensive end. They were issued their first blue card to go down a man on the power play in the 8th minute. With thirty seconds remaining in the power play, the Crunch struck first with a goal from Michael Derezic.
Minutes later, RCFC played shorthanded on their second blue card, but found an opening in the defense with a beautiful outlet pass from Chris Mendez to TJ Ifaturoti, who tied the game at one goal apiece.
In the final minutes of the first quarter, RCFC let Michael of the Crunch slip in behind their defense to record his second goal to put them in front 2-1.
It didn’t take long for RCFC to answer, in the first minutes of the second quarter, Lito Esquivel tied the game up 2-2 with a nice pass from TJ. Two minutes later TJ got on the board again with a pass from Nermin Crnkic to put Rapid City up 3-2.
RCFC never looked back, five minutes later Elmedin Zukic found the back of the net after a Crunch turnover to put them up 4-2. He stretched the lead again moments later with a pass Daire O’Riordan to close the half with a 5-2 lead.
Following a frustrating first half for the Crunch, they came out and received a blue card, resulting in a power play goal from Nermin. Crunch responded quickly with a goal of their own to make the score 6-3.
After bringing the game back within three, RCFC went on to score five unanswered goals to make the score 11-3 over the next fifteen minutes. In that span, they saw Elmedin complete his hat trick, Alexis Mendez gets on the board, as well as Nermin and Giuseppe Barone complete their brace.
With the game in hand, RCFC let in two goals within three minutes to bring the final score to 11-5. Jay Toric was named the Player of the Match after recording 17 saves on 22 shot attempts on goal.
“Our focus over the last two weeks has been on the defensive side of the ball. After that road game against the Crunch when we let in sixteen goals, we really needed to look ourselves in the mirror to re-commit for the remainder of the season”, said Head Coach Louis Stephens. “We have the guys in this locker room that can compete against anyone, but we must buy in as a team. Once we do that, we can achieve our goal.”
Rapid City FC will be on the road this upcoming weekend for a doubleheader. The first matchup is against the Cleveland Crunch, Saturday February 25, 2023, at the Soccer Sportsplex. Game time is set for 7:00pm. The second matchup will be played on Sunday February 26, 2023, at the Detroit City Fieldhouse. Game time is set for 7:30pm. You can watch our games live online at www.rapidcityfc.com/live-streaming.