GAME RECAP: Grand Rapids FC

Andrew Streitel

KZFC suffer tough road loss

An early penalty kick for Grand Rapids FC gave them the edge they needed as Kalamazoo FC would fall 1-0 on the road. With both teams fighting for a playoff spot, the game featured high intensity with good play from both clubs.

The game did not start well for KZFC as the referee would call a penalty kick in favor of GRFC in the third minute of the match. Isaac Walker guessed the right way but Sammy Biek would smash a ball into the right corner giving GRFC an early 1-0 lead.

“It is always tough when a decision in the first couple minutes goes against you and you give up a PK that is questionable,” said head coach Brian Clements.  “We never really bounced back after giving up the early goal.”

Grand Rapids FC would sit back for the remainder of the first half, absorbing anything that KZFC threw their way. KZFC saw the better of the possession in the first half but could not test the goalkeeper as they struggled to get shots on net. The game would go into halftime with GRFC holding the one goal advantage.

“Grand Rapids were able to sit deeper and we couldn’t figure out a way to get through them,” said Clements. “We only made one big mistake in the beginning and if its 0-0 maybe it’s a different game.”

The KZFC offense struggled throughout the match as they could not find a way to get a meaningful goal scoring chance. Both teams were very aggressive in the second half with lots of yellow cards issued to both clubs. The first 20 minutes of the second half was fairly back and forth with no clear chances for either club.

As the half moved on GRFC would gain more control of the match and looked comfortable with the 1-0 lead. KZFC would push men forward late in the game looking for the equalizer. However, the tying goal never came and KZFC would suffer their second loss of the season in a 1-0 defeat.

“It was a frustrating loss as we did not do enough to earn a win,” said Clements. “We struggled to keep the ball at certain points and collectively our attack was frustrating.”

The loss would end a three-game winning streak for KZFC and also end their five-game shutout streak. With only four games left on the schedule, KZFC’s chance of making the playoffs is slim as they will need help from other clubs.

Kalamazoo FC will be home this Sunday when they face the Michigan Stars FC in the second match between the two clubs. The game is set to kickoff at 5:30 p.m. at Mayors Riverfront Park.

GAME RECAP: Grand Rapids FC

Andrew Streitel

KZFC fall short against GRFC

Kalamazoo FC suffers its first loss of the season as they fall to Grand Rapids FC 2-1 on Friday night. Nils Valdmanis was able to score his first goal of the season late in the match.

Friday night was yet another important match for KZFC in their race for a playoff spot. Grand Rapids FC came into the match ranked 13th in the latest National Premier Soccer League power rankings and second place in the conference.

The first half was not pretty, as both teams struggled to find a rhythm offensively. However, both defenses were playing well stopping every attack that came their way. The first half was mostly back and forth until the 40th minute when GRFC would score their first goal of the game.

“We struggled a little bit to get out of first gear and were very sloppy,” said head coach Brian Clements. “Grand Rapids broke up our play very well and a lot of credit goes to them.”

A turnover by the KZFC defense lead to a 3 on 2 that GRFC was able to capitalize on. James Decosemo was able to slot the ball into the bottom right corner. KZFC goalkeeper, Isaac Walker, made some nice saves to finish the half and KZFC went into halftime with a 1-0 deficit.

After a good first 10 minutes of the second half for KZFC, GRFC was able to find their second goal of the night. TJ Ifaturoti used his speed to break down the right side of the field and placed his shot in the left corner of the net. GRFC would able to hold most of the possession in the next 15 minutes till KZFC would make things interesting and score a goal of their own.

With his first touch of the game, Valdmanis, finished a pass that was slotted back to the middle of the box. After erasing the two-goal deficit to one, KZFC would raise their intensity trying to find the equalizer. KZFC was not able to find the tying goal and would lose the match 2-1.

“This loss was a massive eye opener for us tonight,” said coach Clements. “Our ability to move off the ball and keep the ball are things we still need to work on.”

KZFC will host Oakland County FC in the annual Michigan Milk Cup tournament this Sunday. This quarterfinal match is set to kickoff at 5:30 p.m. at Mayors Riverfront Park.