Brutal heat and an early red card led to disappointment for the Sioux Falls Thunder (2-4-0) in their home showing against Med City (5-1-0) as they fell 0-4.
The temperature climbed throughout the day, peaking at 94 degrees shortly before kickoff, with the humidity pushing it even higher. Despite this, play commenced, and the first chance of the game went to the Thunder in the 10th minute, foiled by an offsides call.
Disaster struck for the Thunder in the 14th minute. Forward Tyler Limmer, breaking away from the defense, stretched for a ball as Med City keeper Gal Elyashiv reached in. The collision resulted in a straight red for Limmer and an injury substitution for Elyashiv.
The referees used the down time for a water break, and the Thunder resumed play with 10 men and 75 minutes left of regulation. Thunder keeper Federico Simonetti embraced the challenge, making several incredible saves that included a slide outside the box to pick the City forward’s pocket.
The Thunder held on to the water break in the 32nd minute, preceding by Thunder defender Stephen Ayodele heading out a chipped back lofted over Simonetti. The lads in red held on, getting a corner in the 38th minute.
Another water break gave life to Med City, putting more pressure on Simonetti and the back line. With one less, the Thunder played slow and possessive, resulting in an excellent but off-target shot from Juan Mackrey.
The breakthrough for Med City came in the stoppage time. Midfielder Jack Hilton-Jones, perhaps frustrated by the ironclad Thunder defense, cranked a shot from thirty yards. The ball streaked across to the far post and tucked into the upper ninety. The Thunder went into the half 0-1.
The break wasn’t enough for the Thunder to recover from the physically demanding half, having spent remarkable amounts of energy to hold it level as long as they did. Med City midfielder Till Tripner scored just two minutes into the second half.
The pressure from Med City eased with their two goal lead, allowing several attempts from Kirubel Yerga and substitute David Bizimana that fell apart with sub-par touches in the crucial moments. It wasn’t until the 82nd minute that Med City struck again, this time from a set piece, the team’s strong suit. Jack Hilton-Jones netted his second from that corner. The midfield for Med City would carry them to one more goal, as substitute Andreas Garcia put one away in the remaining seconds of stoppage time.
About the game, head coach Ryan Beier said, “I thought we played well. After the early red card, we obviously were at a disadvantage, but continued the effort. I was proud of the way we adjusted and tried to keep playing. We ran out of gas towards the end. We hope Med City’s keeper is doing better. That collision was two players giving maximum effort to make a play. We wish him the best in his recovery.”
The Thunder will leave Sioux Falls and travel to Arcadia, WI to play LC Aris FC this Saturday, June 12th. The game will kick off at 7 pm.