GAME RECAP: Michigan Stars FC

Andrew Streitel

KZFC and MSFC end in draw

Kalamazoo FC and the Michigan Stars FC battle to a 2-2 draw in a very high intensity match. It was a hot and humid day but both clubs performed well in the heat offensively scoring two goal apiece.

Kalamazoo FC came out of the gate strong with lots of pressure on the MSFC back line forcing multiple turnovers. KZFC’s high intensity would pay off early as they scored the opening goal in just the seventh minute of the game.

Isaiah Nieves whipped in a corner kick that found Carson Brinks who was able to head the ball home and give KZFC an early 1-0 advantage. This goal would give KZFC lots of confidence as they continued to push forward to create many chances in the first half. KZFC was in control throughout the half until stoppage time came.

“I thought we created chances very well in the first half and defended well until Ruddock went down and we didn’t adjust,” said head coach Brian Clements. “We gave up a cheap goal and that kind of changed the game.”

Alex Ruddock would have to be substituted out of the game after an apparent head injury occurred late in the first half. KZFC was down one of their best defenders when MSFC would capitalize on a mistake by the defense. After KZFC failed to clear a cross, Steven Juncaj was in the right place to clean up the mistake and a tie the game at 1-1 heading into halftime.

“We just need to focus on the details and be sharper on the ball,” said Clements. “We didn’t finish our chances and made too many mistakes.”

Michigan Stars FC would score the next goal in the 49th minute giving them a 2-1 lead early in the second half. A sloppy turnover by the KZFC defense lead to a one on one and Isaac Walker was unable to make the save. KZFC would respond well after conceding the goal, creating plenty of goal scoring chances of their own.

“I think we were a little fatigued defensively as guys are putting in a lot of minutes and we made some mental errors,” said Clements. “When you make two big mistakes that lead to goals, it is tough to win.”

Nieves would get on the score sheet again in the 56th minute after his goal tied the game yet again. David Magallon played a great ball to the back post that found Nieves who was able to beat the keeper and score the teams second goal of the match.

Kalamazoo FC controlled the run of play for the rest of the match but were unable to find the game winning goal after creating many chances. The game would end in a 2-2 draw and Nieves was awarded the man of the match for his assist and goal.

Kalamazoo FC will play two games this upcoming weekend as they travel to face FC Columbus on Friday, July 5. KZFC will be back home on Sunday, July 7, when they host Toledo Villa FC.

GAME RECAP: AFC Ann Arbor

Andrew Streitel

KZFC and AFCAA battle in scoreless draw

Kalamazoo FC hosted back to back Great Lakes Conference champion, AFC Ann Arbor, on Friday in their second match of the season against the club. Similar to the game at Ann Arbor this match ended in a 0-0 draw with both clubs earning a point.

It was Special Olympics night in Kalamazoo, as KZFC honored participants of the Special Olympics from the Kalamazoo area. It was a great night with a good atmosphere for an important match as KZFC hoped to stay in the hunt for a playoff spot.

The first half started with both teams creating chances but the defense from both clubs would get the best of the attack and stop anything that came their way. Alex Ruddock and the KZFC defense played extremely well throughout the entire match. Ruddock earned man of the match honors as the team earned their second shutout of the season.

“The defense is starting to form a partnership; they understand each other and aren’t afraid to get on each other a little bit,” said head coach Brian Clements. “They have been playing very well the past few games.”

The game entered halftime scoreless with AFCAA having more of the possession. However, KZFC continued to work hard and had plenty of chances of their own in the first half but failed to convert on those chances. KZFC goalkeeper, Isaac Walker, made some key saves as well in the first half to keep the game knotted at 0-0.

“Whenever you play Ann Arbor you are going to have to defend a little more,” said Clements. “We got behind the ball and defended well and created some great chances that we weren’t able to capitalize on.”

Kalamazoo FC played much better in the second half creating lots of quality chances. The best chance of the game came in the 53rd minute when Dalton Michael got out on the breakaway. However, Ian McGrane would make a great kick save to keep Michael from scoring and keep the game scoreless.

 “Ann Arbor plays a lot of guys in the midfield and we were forcing the ball into their center midfielders,” said Clements. “In the second half we started playing balls into the channels and found success with that.”

Kalamazoo FC would continue to have the better chances in the second half but failed to find the back of the net. AFCAA started to push more players forward late in the match as both teams looked to find the late game winner. The final ten minutes of the game was a hectic one as both teams opened up looking to score. However, the defense from both clubs would stay strong and the game would end up in a 0-0 draw.

Kalamazoo FC will be on the road Sunday as they face FC Indiana. The team will be back home next Friday when they host FC Columbus with kickoff at 7 p.m.

“We just need to continue to get points in every match,” said Clements. “Everybody in the league is good and can beat anyone on any given day.”