GAME RECAP: La Liga All-Stars

Andrew Streitel

KZFC blank La Liga All-Stars in friendly

Kalamazoo FC took on the La Liga All-Stars in a friendly match this past Sunday. After a lack luster first half, KZFC would find their rhythm and go on to win the match 4-0 and improve their shutout streak to five games.

Kalamazoo FC had the chance to switch up their line-up as players that have not seen much playing time got their name called as a starter. The La Liga All-Stars did the same, bringing lots of players to get a chance to play against a semi-professional club.

“Those players need match minutes and get their confidence up,” said head coach Brian Clements. “They are doing all the right things in training but it’s just really competitive to earn a spot on the field.”

The game started slow for KZFC as they struggled to find a rhythm offensively and lacked connections in the final third. Although KZFC had the better chances and more possession throughout the first half, they lacked clear goal scoring chances. The La Liga All-Stars were holding their own as they created some great chances on net.

“We lacked composure and the final ball in the first half,” said Clements. “We got in some good positions but our final ball into the box was pretty poor.”

After a back and forth first half, KZFC would receive and penalty kick late in the half. Mario Diaz would step up to take the shot but Stephen Hunter would make a great save to keep the game scoreless going into halftime.

“We had a really precise conversation at halftime and let guys know specifically what they need to do better and they responded well,” said Clements.

Kalamazoo FC came out in the second half with high energy forcing the La Liga All-Stars to play at a quicker pace. Trevor Towghi from the All-Stars would be sent off in the 51st minute after receiving two yellow cards in just six minutes. KZFC would go on the attack from this point on playing with a man advantage.

Nooh Aljabaly would open the scoring in the 57th minute. Aljabaly would dribble past a few defenders and curl a shot past the goalie to score his second goal in two games. KZFC would have full control over the game going forward as goals came quick for the team.

Donovan Michael got on the score sheet in the 64th minute after a cross to the back post led to a tap in and a 2-0 advantage. His twin brother would not be out done, as Dalton Michael scored just two minutes after his brother.

In the 66th minute Dalton Michael, just recently substituted into the game, would get out on the breakaway and easily place the ball past the goalie to give KZFC a 3-0 lead. Michael would score his second goal of the night in the 75th minute. His breakaway goal would be the final goal of the match and give KZFC a 4-0 victory.

After a poor first half, KZFC would dominate the second half and comfortably win 4-0. This is the fifth straight shutout for KZFC and the most goals they have scored in a game this season.

“We need to be better in first halves going forward,” said Clements. “We are very sluggish and not starting games well and need to figure out what is going wrong.”

Kalamazoo FC will be on the road Friday against Grand Rapids FC in the 131 derby. KZFC will be back home on Sunday when they face off against Michigan Stars FC at 5:30 p.m.

GAME RECAP: FC Columbus

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.