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: Toledo Villa FC

Andrew Streitel

KZFC earn another shutout in win against TVFC

Kalamazoo FC were on the road for their only National Premier Soccer League match of the weekend against Toledo Villa FC. KZFC would go on to win the match 2-0 and improve their shutout streak to four games.

This was the first match of the season against NPSL newcomer, TVFC, and KZFC would start the two-game series well with a commanding victory. KZFC would start strong with both Donovan and Dalton Michael performing well in the offensive third. It was a back and forth first 25 minutes as KZFC had the better chances on net but TVFC controlled the ball.

It was much of the same for the rest of the first half until stoppage time arrived and things got more exciting. Nils Valdmanis worked hard to get a turnover and found Giuseppe Vitale open near the top of the box. Vitale calmly slotted the ball into the right corner and scored the game’s first goal. KZFC goalkeeper, Isaac Walker, would be tested just minutes after the goal when he made a great point blank save to keep TVFC scoreless entering halftime.

Kalamazoo FC would start the second half with lots of energy as they pressured higher up the field. This would rattle TVFC as they struggled to keep possession of the ball. KZFC was in control of the second half when they added another goal in the 66th minute.

A shot from long range was deflected back into the box and Nooh Aljabaly would smash the rebound home and give KZFC a 2-0 advantage. Aljabaly substituted into the game just ten minutes before and made an immediate impact scoring his first goal of the season.

Kalamazoo FC continued to control the flow of the game after their second goal. The defense would be tested though late as Walker made another huge save late in the game to keep the teams shutout streak alive. The KZFC defense held true and the game would end in a 2-0 road win.

Kalamazoo FC has now won two games in a row and continue their four-game shutout streak. The team has not lost a NPSL game since late May and look to continue their run next weekend with two league games.

Kalamazoo FC will be on the road in the 131 derby against Grand Rapids FC this upcoming Friday. KZFC will be back home on June 30th as they host Michigan Stars FC at 5:30 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.