WEST FARGO — The air was chilly and the atmosphere tense as the Mustangs and Packers boys soccer teams met for the second time this season at Essentia Health Packer Stadium.
In a back-and-forth Eastern Dakota Conference battle, West Fargo Sheyenne came back to force a 2-2 draw with in-town rival West Fargo on Thursday night.
Sheyenne (5-1-4, 4-1-4 EDC) and West Fargo, the defending state champions, played nearly the entire first half in a steady drizzle.
The Packers (3-3-5, 1-3-5) were first on the scoreboard thanks to a goal by senior midfielder Nuradin Musa, who had 13 goals last year, assisted by junior forward Mason Weninger.
In the 11th minute of the first half, West Fargo senior midfielder George Reeves almost netted a breakaway kick, but tried to go to the short side and just missed the net.
A Mustangs goal was called off with two minutes to go in the first, leaving Sheyenne trailing by one heading into the second half.
The rain came pouring down in West Fargo just as the second half was about to begin.
Junior defender Om Dahal netted an unassisted goal from just beyond midfield to give the Packers a 2-0 lead with 31 minutes to go.
West Fargo couldn't retain its momentum, as Sheyenne senior defender Dipesh Rana got his team on the board with 18 minutes to go, leaving the Mustangs trailing by one.
The Mustangs tied it up with six minutes remaining, thanks to a bullet fired by junior midfielder Kai Black, setting up the 2-2 final score.
Thursday night's EDC matchup was the second tie between the two teams this year.
West Fargo head coach James Moe said the tie hurt.
"This was a big game for us, trying to climb the standings," Moe said. "You can see (Sheyenne's) excitement, they were happy to get away with a tie."
Moe and his team weren't satisfied with how the game ended, he said.
"I think the better team didn't win tonight," Moe said.
At the second half, Mustangs head coach Jon Melendez-Soloaga talked to his players. Collectively as a group, they wanted to erase the 2-0 deficit.
"So it feels pretty good coming back from that," Melendez-Soloaga said. "We started moving the ball like we do every day during games or in practice. The movement of the players were there. And they wanted to win, that's a big thing."
The Packers new turf field proved beneficial during Thursday night's game, as both the surface and players were drenched.
"(The turf) allowed the boys to have a rainy day here in North Dakota and play," Melendez-Soloaga said.
Moe said the wet conditions at West Fargo's old field would've made a big difference.
"It would've slowed the ball down," Moe said. "But it also would've been a sloppy mess. So this field helped to keep the ball even for both sides."
"It was a good game overall," Moe said. "But, not the way we wanted it to end."
The crosstown rivals faced each other twice last season, with the Packers recording both wins.
West Fargo came off of a 3-2 road loss to Grand Forks Central (7-3-0) on Tuesday, Sept. 10, heading into Thursday night’s match. That same night, Sheyenne tied Grand Forks Red River (2-3-4) 2-2 at home.
The Mustangs next play another EDC contender in Fargo South (7-2-1) at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 17. Sheyenne beat the Bruins 3-0 earlier this season. The Packers play Moorhead (5-2-1) at 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, at the Spuds’ home field.