Andrew Streitel

KZFC earn third straight shutout in win

Kalamazoo FC earned its third straight shutout in a much needed three points on Friday against FC Columbus. KZFC were able to find the game winner late in the match and earn a 1-0 victory over FCC.

It was the defeat cancer game in Kalamazoo, as the team partnered up with the West Michigan Cancer Center to raise money to help prevent cancer. Every ticket sold was a dollar donated to the West Michigan Cancer Center. The match did not disappoint either as both teams played at a high level.

“It was a battle tonight just like every night in our conference and around the league,” said head coach Brian Clements. “Columbus is very well organized and bring lots of threats that we had to deal with tonight.”

Kalamazoo FC started the game strong putting lots of pressure on the FCC back line. Dalton Michael would have a great chance in the sixth minute but the goalie would make a diving save to keep the game scoreless. It was a defensive battle all night with neither offense gaining much momentum.

“The defense has been well organized and they trust each other a lot,” said Clements. “It’s a back four that is so solid and we do a really good job with team defending as well.”

The game entered halftime tied at 0-0 with KZFC having a slight advantage of possession and goal scoring chances. However, none of the chances for either team in the first half were too dangerous.

Kalamazoo FC would start to gain more control of the game in the second half with lots of possession and play in the FCC half of the field. However, the defense of Columbus would be stout throughout most of the match. FC Columbus had a handful of chances of their own in the second half but nothing to threatening.

“I thought we grew into the game in the second half and we started to make more chances and got the goal we have been dying for,” said Clements.

The only goal of the match came in the 81st minute courtesy of Donovan Michael. Carson Brinks would send a ball into the box that found an open Michael on the back post that smashed the ball away. KZFC would stay strong defensively and hold on to the 1-0 victory.

“This win gives us a little bit of confidence, we were going through a rough stretch for a little bit,” said Clements. “Three points is everything in this league and ties will kill you so this was a big three points.”

This win for KZFC breaks their three-game tying streak, and improves their shutout streak to three games. Elliot Miller was named man of the match for his contributions on defense that helped KZFC secure the shutout win.

Kalamazoo FC will be back in action Friday when they travel to National Premier Soccer League newcomer, Toledo Villa FC. KZFC will be home next Sunday for a friendly against the La Liga All-Stars starting at 5:30 p.m.

GAME RECAP: Oakland County FC

Andrew Streitel

KZFC eliminated from Michigan Milk Cup  

Kalamazoo FC suffered a bad loss in the quarterfinals of the Michigan Milk Cup this past Sunday. Oakland County FC was able to come into Kalamazoo and win a 2-1 game and move on to play Grand Rapids FC in the semi-finals of the Milk Cup.

Kalamazoo FC started the game very well, keeping possession of the ball and creating some solid chances in the first 10 minutes of the game. However, OCFC were the ones who were able to open up the scoring.

“We are really struggling in the attacking third and building any type of connections,” said head coach Brian Clements. “Give them credit they defended very well throughout the match.”

Oakland County FC scored their first goal of the evening in the 12th minute. A nice cross to the back post found a wide-open Fred Prest who volleyed the ball into the net. The next 10 minutes of the game would then be back and forth as OCFC gained more confidence with having the lead.

Kalamazoo FC would start to put more and more pressure on the OCFC defense as they created chance after chance. In the 30th minute KZFC would find the equalizer as Dalton Michael’s shot from outside the box would find the back of the net. After scoring his fourth goal of the season, Michael and the KZFC offense would have plenty of more chances to score another in the first half. However, the game would go into halftime all knotted up at 1-1.

“I think we created some good chances in the first half and we did not finish those chances which lost us the game,” said coach Clements.

The second half was much like the first half, with KZFC controlling the ball with lots of possession. However, KZFC was lacking the final pass to finish off the chances they were creating and frustration grew as they were not able to find the game winning goal.

Oakland County FC broke out on the counter attack in the 63rd minute and found the last goal of the game to give them the 2-1 lead. Prest was able to score his second goal of the match when his close-range shot went through the legs of KZFC goal keeper Michael White.

KZFC would raise their intensity the last 15 minutes of the contest but the lack of good chances on net would be their downfall. Despite having majority of the possession, KZFC would end up losing the match 2-1 and be eliminated from the Michigan Milk Cup.

“It was a tough loss, in the second half I thought they sat in very well and countered and got a goal,” said coach Clements. “We need to watch the film and correct what we have been doing wrong.”

Kalamazoo FC currently sits in second place in the Great Lakes Conference of the National Premier Soccer League, fighting to stay in playoff position. The team will be on the road next week as they travel to face Michigan Stars FC. The game will be played at the Ultimate Soccer Arena on Saturday at 7 p.m.

GAME RECAP: Detroit City FC

Andrew Streitel

KZFC scores in stoppage time to beat DCFC

Kalamazoo FC pulls out a thrilling victory over Detroit City FC at Keyworth Stadium. Elliot Miller scored his first goal of the season in stoppage time to give KZFC a 3-2 win on the road.

After seeing heavy rain throughout the day, the field was water logged and both teams would have to adjust to the speed of the ball early in the first half. Detroit City FC saw more of the ball in the first half as they continued to pressure the defense of KZFC early. KZFC looked to attack on the counter with not much success in the first half.

Lasse Kjeldsen and the KZFC defense did well to keep the game scoreless for most of the first half. Goalkeeper Isaac Walker also added some big saves to keep KZFC in the game early on. After a few counter attacks by KZFC, Detroit would open up the scoring in the 40 minute.

Shawn Lawson was able to score the opening goal for Detroit after a ball was slotted across the goal box and he placed his shot into the right corner. KZFC would go into halftime trailing 1-0 with what would be an exciting second half to come.

Detroit would start the second half strong again with lots of pressure on the back line of KZFC. However, KZFC would hold them off and score a goal of their own in the 57 minute. After a penalty kick was awarded to KZFC, Giuseppe Vitale rose to the challenge and placed the ball in the left corner to tie the game at 1-1.

Detroit would respond well by regaining their lead just five minutes later on a miscue by the KZFC defense. Max Todd would secure the ball and score on an open net to give Detroit a 2-1 lead in the 63 minute.

The game would then go back and forth until KZFC would tie the game for the second time in the 73 minute. Dalton Michael would use his speed to get out on the breakaway and slot the ball home to score his league high third goal of the season.

Detroit would then go on the attack creating many chances to score but the back line of KZFC would play phenomenal in the final 15 minutes of the game to hold Detroit to two goals in the game. KZFC looked dangerous all game long on the counter attack and they had one more in them which would end up being the game winner.

Elliot Miller made a run down the right side of the field and got in behind the Detroit defense. He would then take a shot just outside the goal box and chip the goalkeeper to give KZFC a 3-2 lead in stoppage time.

KZFC held strong in the final two minutes of stoppage time and secured, a very hard to get, three points on the road at Keyworth Stadium. Lasse Kjeldsen was named man of the match for his stellar defense. KZFC is currently tied for first place with AFC Ann Arbor in the Great Lakes Conference of the National Premier League.

Kalamazoo FC will be back home on Friday when they host conference rival, Grand Rapids FC. Kickoff at Mayors Riverfront Park is set for 7 p.m.