Crunch Defeats Rapid City After Falling Short in Season Opener

by Mason Decker

In an exhilarating indoor soccer match on Saturday night, the Cleveland Crunch achieved a remarkable victory against the reigning MLIS champions, Rapid City FC. This triumph marked a notable turnaround for the Crunch, who had previously suffered a 6-2 defeat to Rapid City in their season opener. The final score of 11-8 not only symbolized redemption for the Crunch but also brought an end to Rapid City's undefeated record this season.

The initial strike came from midfielder Tom Beck, who made his Crunch debut this season, as he skillfully maneuvered the ball past the goalie. Cleveland extended their lead to 2-0 after defender Boban Cancar navigated the ball under two defenders for a goal. Ma’Cain Spragling and Beck, scoring his second of the night, quickly followed suit, bringing the score to 4-0.

Tensions heightened as Rapid City received back-to-back yellow cards. Seizing the opportunity on the power play, Giuseppe Barone of Rapid City unintentionally scored an own goal. At the end of the 1st quarter, Cleveland led 5-0.

Rapid City mounted a comeback in the second quarter, scoring consecutive goals, with the second one occurring during a power play. The Crunch retaliated as Sami Mutemwa found the goal during Cleveland’s power play. However, Rapid City swiftly responded, narrowing the score to 6-3.

The third quarter witnessed Rapid City making a strong comeback, reducing Cleveland’s lead to 6-5 and captivating fans with the suspense. The Crunch regained momentum as Kevin Blackwood, overcoming two defenders, secured his first score of the game. Vinny Bell, also making his debut for the Crunch this season, further contributed, propelling Cleveland to a 3-point lead. The quarter concluded with both Rapid City and Cleveland adding to the scoreboard.

In the 4th quarter, Beck completed a hat trick, extending Cleveland's lead to 9-6. Rapid City managed to narrow the lead to 2, but the Crunch, with precision, increased it to 3, establishing a score of 10-7. Both teams scored again, bringing the tally to 11-8 with 5 minutes remaining. The Crunch head to Denver Feb. 17 to take on the Colorado Bucks.