2019 SEASON RECAP

Andrew Streitel

KZFC post their best season to date

Kalamazoo FC finished their 2019 National Premier Soccer League season this past weekend. KZFC lost their final game, 3-1 against Detroit City FC, but that result does not compare to the successful season the club had.

Kalamazoo FC had their best season yet in their four-year history as a club. The team finished with a 6-3-5 (W-L-D) record and posted a total of 23 points, the most the club has ever earned. In addition to the record breaking 23 points, the club also tallied a club record six shutouts throughout the season. KZFC also broke their record of most wins in a season with six and earned their first winning season.

Although the team did not qualify for the playoffs, they played extremely well against the teams who did qualify, AFC Ann Arbor and DCFC. KZFC battled AFCAA very well in the two games they played as they tied both games against the club.

Arguably the biggest win in club history came on the road against DCFC, as they earned three points in a 3-2 victory and gave DCFC their only loss on the season. However, KZFC lost their second match against DCFC and split the season series at one win apiece.

The team’s downfall came in the middle of the season when they tied four games in a row. If the club won some of those games instead of tying, the season would likely be very different as they would have been battling for a playoff spot.

Kalamazoo FC will be back for the 2020 NPSL season and look to grow upon their best season to date.

“This team raised the standard for what Kalamazoo FC has to deliver every season,” said head coach Brian Clements. “Now this club needs to be fighting for a championship every year.”

2019 Season Awards

  • Lasse Kjeldsen, Most Valuable Player
  • Elliot Miller, Team Player Award
  • Giuseppe Vitale, Offensive Player of the Year
  • Carson Brinks, Coach’s Player of the Year
  • Isaac Walker, Defensive Player of the Year

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.