In their first season of UPSL Premier play, Superior City FC qualified as the three-seed for the UPSL Midwest-West Playoffs, and earned a date with second-seeded St. Croix SC. The Navy lost to St. Croix earlier in the season 5-0, the worst defeat of the inaugural season, but the Superior squad were looking to change the narrative against a strong Legends club. The game kicked off fast, with St. Croix dominating possession and chances early. The Legends’ quick start helped them to an early goal, as St. Thomas centerback Jack Barry slotted a ball from a corner kick past Cloquet-native Dru Senich in the 7th minute to put the home team up early. The game continued on with intensity from St. Croix, but as the half wore on, Superior started to push forward and glimpses of brilliance from the Navy sparked more pressure forward. In the 21st minute, after some strong play in St. Croix’s half, Superior earned a corner kick. St. Scholastica’s Jordan Finneran stepped up to take the ball with his wonderful left foot, and the whipped ball found the head of UM-Duluth Club’s Matti Sysimaki. Sysimaki slammed the ball home to tie the game up at one in the 21st minute. The game continued with both teams seeing stretches of offense, but neither back line broke. Late in the half, former St. Scholastica forward Mally Lumsden broke free, finding himself all alone with the goalkeeper. Lumsden’s shot just found the leg of the keeper, and bounced out the back line. The half ended with the teams knotted up, but left Superior feeling good about their chances after the team vastly improved play throughout the half.
Despite a promising start to the game, the second half kicked off poorly for Superior, who found themselves down by one after six minutes. A ball across the six yard box was accidentally knocked in by a Superior defender, pulling any built momentum away from the visitors. St. Croix pounced at the shift, continuing to press early in the half. St. Croix found another goal nine minutes later, when Gustavus Adolphus All-American Matt Gibbons slotted Carleton’s Trevor Jones through on net via a perfectly timed through-ball, with Jones slotting the ball past Senich to increase the St Croix lead. After the goal, Senich made some amazing saves to keep the game within reach, but Superior couldn’t find any composure moving forward, and hope for the two goals needed to keep the season going began to fade. St. Croix found their fourth goal in the 83rd minute, when Jack Barry scored a brace off of a feed from Gustavus’ Owen Johnson, and St. Croix clinched a spot in the Midwest-West championship game against Minneapolis City. Superior’s fantastic first season came to an end in Stillwater, but it was a wonderful start to the club’s UPSL journey for the local boys in Navy.
6-25/Stillwater High School/UPSL Premier Midwest-West Semifinal
Superior City FC.............................1 0 - 1
St Croix SC.....................................1 3 - 4
First Half - STCRX - Jack Barry (Liam Moriera) 7’, SCFC - Matti Sysimaki (Jordan Finneran) 21’
Second Half - STCRX - Own Goal 51’, STCRX - Trevor Jones (Matt Gibbons) 62’, STCRX - Jack Barry (Owen Johnson) 83’
Saves: SCFC - Dru Senich (5 saves); STCRX - Tucker Mann (3 saves)