KZFC and Monarcas Morelia Battle to Draw
Kalamazoo FC faced off against Liga MX side Monarcas Morelia in a preseason match this past Tuesday at Mayors River Front Park. The highly anticipated game did not disappoint as both teams battled to an entertaining 1-1 draw.
Fans packed the stands which made for a great atmosphere to welcome the team from Mexico. It was a good start for KZFC as they came out strong putting pressure on Monarcas’ back line. Both teams would settle into the first half creating chances on both ends on the field. Dalton Michael made his presence known with creating chances early in the game.
Much of the first half was back and forth and had a feel of a preseason match, which saw Monarcas goalie, Ricardo Daniel Gutierrez, taking a free kick. Things would change however, when Jose Luis Chavez was shown his second yellow card and was sent off the field in the 35th minute. The game would start to heat up after this point.
“We tried to control the midfield and then move the ball wide and pull them out of their defensive shape. After the red card, it gave us more freedom to do that,” said head coach Brian Clements.
Despite playing with only 10 men, Monarcas were able to create great chances on net that tested defenders from KZFC. Monarcas would score first in the 38th minute when they were awarded a penalty pick. Lenin Brian Esquivel calmly placed the ball in the bottom right corner and Monarcas would take the early 1-0 lead into halftime against KZFC.
KZFC would start the second half just as they did in the first half, with a lot of high pressure and creating offensive chances. Michael and Eoin Broughan were very active throughout the whole game with lots of creativity on the offensive end. KZFC goalie, Isaac Walker also made some key saves that held the score line at 1-0 throughout the second half.
“Eoin was excellent tonight, his intensity and work rate were very high. He brings something that every team needs, being a work horse,” said coach Clements.
KZFC started to look very dangerous around the 75th minute as they were locked in offensively creating chance after chance but failing to find the back of the net. Time was running out for KZFC until they were given a penalty kick in the 89th minute for a chance to tie the game. Broughan ripped a shot into the top the right corner to tie the game with just stoppage time to be played. Both teams would try their best to score in the final minutes of the game but neither team were successful and the game would finish in a 1-1 draw.
“I think we showed some character to keep playing through the advisory that a team like this brings,” said coach Clements. “We need to build on our connections in the midfield so we can move the ball quicker.”
Kalamazoo FC will wrap up their preseason with a purple and white scrimmage on May 10 before starting their National Premier Soccer League schedule. KZFC will start NPSL play on May 12 when they travel to Ann Arbor to face off against AFC Ann Arbor.
“This team has great character, we have some great guys that want to win and want to be here and improve, it should be a very exciting season,” said coach Clements.