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.

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.

GAME RECAP: FC Indiana

Andrew Streitel

KZFC earn shutout win against FC Indiana

Kalamazoo FC earned its first win of the early season with a dominate performance against FC Indiana on Friday. KZFC also earned its first shutout of the season with the 3-0 victory.

The game was very physical from the start and FC Indiana looked to be playing defensively as KZFC was able to control the ball early in the first half. Back to back chances from the Michael brothers in the first five minutes just miss the target. FC Indiana was given a great opportunity in the 15 minute when a turnover led to a wide-open shot that goes just wide. Things would then settle down as KZFC would start to control the possession of the ball.

KZFC would start the goal scoring in the 33 minute when Dalton Michael would finish his second goal of the season. After a scramble in the box, the ball would drop to Michaels foot and he would slot it into the right corner. FC Indiana reacted well after the goal with some great chances of their own. However, Isaac Walker would make some incredible saves throughout the entire game to earn his first shutout of the season.

“Walker was excellent tonight, he gets better and better each game,” said coach Brian Clements. “He’s starting to find his voice and command his defensive line.”

FC Indiana would start the second half very strong with back to back chances just two minutes into the half. The physicality of the game would continue with both teams going at each other trying to secure their first win of the season.

“The physicality of the game helped us keep engaged in the second half. We were pretty flat in the first half and I didn’t think we played very well,” said coach Clements. “We dialed in more once the game got more physical in the second half.”

Giuseppe Vitale would find the back of the net in the 55 minute when he headed in a corner kick. It is his first goal of the season and would give KZFC a 2-0 lead. Teams would exchange blows for the rest of the second half.

Not to be out done by his twin brother, Donovan Michael would put the icing on the cake with a goal of his own in the 84 minute to give KZFC a 3-0 lead. Michael was able to speed past the defense on a breakaway and calmly place the ball in the right corner to secure the KZFC victory.

“The Michael brothers have a great work ethic and a desire to get better, when you have the pace like they do it is a great combination and hard for opposing defenders,” said coach Clements.

KZFC would win the match and gain a much needed three points heading into their match against Detroit City FC on Sunday. With a win against Detroit, KZFC could be in a tie for first place with AFC Ann Arbor in the Great Lakes Conference.

“It’s going to be exciting traveling to Detroit,” said coach Clements. “To have people yell at you and say terrible things about you, it’s exciting and it’s why you play the game.”

The match against Detroit City FC is set for a 5:30 p.m. kickoff with a lot on the line for both teams.