Ann Arbor Come From Behind to Beat Grand Rapids, 2-1

Jesse Muskwe, assisted on the first goal and scored the game winning goal to earn Audi Ann Arbor Man of the Match

Jesse Muskwe, assisted on the first goal and scored the game winning goal to earn Audi Ann Arbor Man of the Match

AFC Ann Arbor secured an important come-from behind victory over Grand Rapids FC on Memorial Day.

The match started brightly for The Mighty Oak. Chances in the 2nd, 8th and 9th minute were all close, but none found their way in the back of the net.

Grand Rapids seemed to find their footing and began to put some offensive pressure on Ann Arbor. With such an open game, both sides saw several opportunities go begging. However, in the 30th minute, it was Grand Rapids who struck first.

The Grand Rapids striker stuck a foot out and poked the ball around TJ to put Grand Rapids up 1-0.

Despite a long-distance Jake Rosen effort hitting the cross bar and Yuri Farkas burying the rebound, the referee ruled Farkas was in an offside position, and the goal was called back.

The first half came to a close with Grand Rapids taking a 1-0 advantage into the break. However, that was all to change in the second half.

In the 57th minute, Audi of Ann Arbor Man of the Match, Jesse Muskwe, slid a cross to Hector Morales and the Cuban buried the chance to level to score.

Just 8 minutes later, Jesse turned from provider to finisher - rifling his effort off the post and into the back of the net to put The Mighty Oak up 2-1.

The men fought hard and controlled the ball to see out an important 2-1 win.

Coach Rudland was happy with the result, and pointed to some of the changes in the side being key to the victory.

“A couple guys hadn’t been in the team over the course of the past four matches, and for Hector to come on and score a goal, Jake Rosen played well at outside back, David at center back. That’s great for us to see.”  He said.

“You lose a few guys out of the team but that’s what this is about - other guys stepping up to the plate. “

The result sees The Mighty Oak move to 15 points from 6 NPSL matches.

In the next match, Ann Arbor hit the road to Berkley, MI where they take on Michigan Stars, Friday June 2nd.

Michigan Cyber Range Match Day Guide: AFC Ann Arbor vs Grand Rapids FC - May 29, 2017

Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids share a special history having both started in the Great Lakes Premier League just 3 years ago. The two made the jump from the GLPL (now the Premier League of America) to the National Premier Soccer League, after the inaugural 2015 campaign. They joined a very talented and experienced Great Lakes West (now Great Lakes Conference) having to square up against clubs like Lansing United (won the Midwest Region in 2014) and Detroit City FC. But that didn't slow down either of these clubs and Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor finished first and second, respectively, in the Great Lakes. 

Monday's match will be the 5th contest between the two sides with Grand Rapids having the upper edge all time, 2-1-1. Ann Arbor's first victory over GRFC came last May with a decisive 3-1 result. 

Grand Rapids has earned 7 points in just 3 games with Ann Arbor winning 4 of the first 5 matches for 12 points. Tomorrow's contest will be a good opportunity for AFC to bounce back following their first setback of the season against Lansing United on Friday. 

Ann Arbor will have to look elsewhere for scoring after National Player of the Week, Dario Suarez, earned a red card after Friday's match. 

Fans are encouraged to wear white for the first ever "White Out" at Hollway Field to commemorate the all new white kits going on sale. Tickets are on sale online until midnight tonight at a discounted rate or can be bought at the gate tomorrow after prices increase. 


The Mighty Oak Stumble in Lansing, Lose 2-0

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AFC Ann Arbor lost 2-0 to Lansing United on Friday night in Lansing. It was a always going to be a difficult away match for Ann Arbor and The Mighty Oak were unable to make the most of their opportunities throughout.

The first half started with Lansing getting on the score sheet early in just the 3rd minute. TJ Tomasso was well positioned in goal, but his outstretched hands couldn’t quite make contact with the low curling drive and Lansing took the lead.

The goal seemed to settle the side, with possession coming in long stretches for Ann Arbor. However in the 28th minute, it was again Lansing playing on the front foot, winning a penalty kick after some aggressive counter-attacking play.

TJ guessed right on the penalty, diving low and making a strong save to palm the ball out for a Lansing corner. The ensuing corner was cleared and AFC Ann Arbor avoided going down two goals so early in the match. The 1-0 scoreline held heading into halftime.

The second half saw a shift of play – Ann Arbor were pressing hard to find a way back into the match and Lansing were content to sit in and look to hit on the counter attack.

With substitutes Yuri Farkas, David Cross and Kaleb Jackson on in the second half as well, it was clear that Coach Rudland was throwing all hands on deck going forward.

As the side pushed for an equalizer, Lansing looked to exploit the gaps in the Ann Arbor backline. In the 88th minute, they did just that.  After a throw in deep in Lansing territory, Lansing capitalized on the opportunity to counter. The deflected shot snuck past a wrong-footed TJ and put the match out of reach for The Mighty Oak.

After time had expired, Dario Suarez was issued a red card by the referee for alleged “violent conduct and dissent”. The club has been in contact with members of the NPSL's Disciplinary Committee to express disapproval in the booking. 

Coach Rudland spoke to the result and what it means moving forward following the loss.

“The message to the guys is ‘It’s early in the season. This is one game’.’” He said.

“We have to take this lump and learn from it and move on. […] It’s a regeneration day tomorrow, we’ll train Sunday, just tactically to make sure we’re switched on, and then we have to lace up and play again on Monday.”

The Mighty Oak look to bounce back from Friday’s loss in just a few days as they host Grand Rapids FC at Hollway Field at 1:00 pm on Memorial Day.

Michigan Cyber Range Match Day Guide: AFC Ann Arbor at Lansing United

Dario Suarez has scored 6 goals in 4 matches and was voted the Mitre National Player of the Week by the media 

Dario Suarez has scored 6 goals in 4 matches and was voted the Mitre National Player of the Week by the media 

AFC Ann Arbor will face Lansing United Friday evening as the only two remaining unbeaten teams in the Great Lakes Conference. The match will kick off at 7PM at the East Lansing Soccer Complex. Tickets can be purchased online here or for those unable to make the travel you can stream the match here

Last year, The Mighty Oak captured 6 points in 2 matches against LanU, both in dramatic fashion. When Ann Arbor traveled to Lansing, the final result was 1-0 in favor of AFC on a beautiful olimpico goal compliments of Bruno Oliveira. Then, when the teams met for the second time in 2016 in Ann Arbor, The Mighty Oak found themselves down 2 goals with just 11 minutes left in the match. Lead by the heroics of Hector Morales, the boys rallied back to score 3 goals in before the final whistle to pull off the unbelievable comeback. 

Before coming to Ann Arbor, Head Coach & Sporting Director Eric Rudland spent two years with Lansing United, helping them earn the Great Lakes Championship in 2014. Add in the fact Lansing is off to a good start this season and you won't need any more reason for this to be a thrilling early season match up. 

"We've had a good week of training coming off last weekend's matches, so tactically and physically our men should be in good order. Obviously, Lansing United os off to a great start in league play, hopefully we can settle into the match and find a way to neutralize their team strengths," said Rudland. 

Friday's match also has Michigan Milk Cup implications, a cup created to crown Michigan's top semi-pro side. For standings and updates visit the Michigan Milk Cup website

Official Online Ticketing Partner of AFC Ann Arbor

Official Online Ticketing Partner of AFC Ann Arbor

Suarez Named Mitre National Player of the Week

Great things come together when you mix teamwork and passion.
— Dario Suarez, Mitre National Player of the Week

The National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) Mitre National Player of the Week is AFC Ann Arbor's very own, Dario Suarez. 

Scoring 6 goals in his first 4 NPSL matches has not only put Suarez on other team's radars, but fans across the region are beginning to take notice as well. 

Joining The Mighty Oak in 2016, Super Dario as dubbed by his fans, shared 2016 Great Lakes West Golden Boot recognition as the top scorer in the conference with 6 goals on the season. Just four matches in this year and he's already matched his total from the previous summer. 

When asked about his accomplishments this season, Suarez said, "Great things come together when you mix teamwork and passion." 

Click here for the complete story from the NPSL. 


The National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) is the largest organized men’s soccer league in the United States with 96 teams competing across the country in 2017.   The NPSL is a successor to the Men’s Premier Soccer League (MPSL), which was formed in 2002.  The NPSL is a member league of the United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA) and sanctioned by U.S. Soccer, the governing body of soccer in all its forms in the United States.  NPSL’s cooperative and turnkey ownership platform has led to its explosive growth, countless player development opportunities, and commitment to grow the game in the United States.  For more information about the NPSL, please visit

Top 10 Reasons To Attend 3rd Annual Memorial Day Classic

Starting out the season 4-0-0 in National Premier Soccer League is reason enough to catch The Mighty Oak on Monday, May 29th at 1pm vs Grand Rapids FC. But if you're still not convinced, here are ten reasons why you should absolutely spend Memorial Day with AFC Ann Arbor. 

1. First Place

AFC Ann Arbor sits at the top of the Great Lakes Conference table with 12 points total. With another double-match weekend ahead, a result on Monday at home against GRFC will allow them to hold the first place spot. 


2. White Out

The all new white kits (compliments of Soccer Plus) will be on sale for the first time on Monday, May 29th. Fans are encouraged to wear ALL WHITE to Monday's Memorial Day Classic. 




3. Made for Kids

We are focused on creating a memorable experience for our youth fans including the following: 

AFC Ann Arbor Bubbles, Soccer Ball Tattoos, Soccer Plus Kids Zone, and Post Match Autographs

(all of which are 100% free with admission to the game; kids 1, 2 and 3 are free) 


4. ICC with AFC Giveaway

Win tickets to the International Champions Cup matchup in Detroit on July 19th and watch the match in the AFC Ann Arbor suite. Entry to win is free at the front gate! 

5. Food Trucks

Bigalora and Ray's Red Hot's will be on-site as usual along with the ever-popular ice cream truck. 

6. Facing Great Lakes Champs

Last year, Grand Rapids FC edged out AFC Ann Arbor for the top spot in the division down the stretch. The Mighty Oak will look to solidify their winning ways with a result on Monday over 2016 Conference Champions. 

7. Clean Planet Foods Tailgate

Join the Clean Planet Foods team in the Pioneer parking lot leading up to Monday's match. They'll be dishing out AFC/Clean Planet swag in addition to free food! 



8. Nutmeg The Squirrel at Halftime

The infamous Nutmeg the Squirrel returns Monday for a special edition of "Nutmeg vs The Kids" at Halftime. 

9.  Milk Cup Implications + Free Cowbells

Ann Arbor is out to a quick lead in the all-new, Michigan Milk Cup, aimed at crowning Michigan's top semi-pro club. With another win Monday, The Mighty Oak would take a commanding lead in the early cup standings. The first 100 fans to Monday's match will receive a free cowbell compliments of Michigan Milk Cup. 


10. Come see National Player of the Week, Dario Suarez

The NPSL recognizes one person each week as the Mitre National Player of the Week. Ann Arbor's very own, Dario Suarez, was selected by the media for this week's award. It's not only the quantity of goals Super Dario is scoring (6 in 4 matches) but also the quality. If you haven't seen him play yet, you're absolutely missing out. 

Register Now for the Inaugural AFC Ann Arbor Foot Golf ProAm at Georgetown Country Club


Georgetown Country Club and AFC Ann Arbor have teamed up to host the inaugural AFC Ann Arbor Foot Golf Pro-Am. The event will be held at Georgetown Country Club on Sunday, June 4th beginning at 10am. 

The cost to play is only $15 ($10 for GCC Members), which includes a round of FootGolf with at least one AFC Ann Arbor professional and get a buy-one-get-one free coupon to come back to play FootGolf another day with a friend. Up to three amateurs can sign up as a group to play with a pro.  Single players will be put in a group with at least one pro.

Space is limited so register online today

Suarez Rains on Detroit as Ann Arbor Improves to 4-0

Super Dario tallies 2 more goals bringing season total to 6 goals in 4 matches

Super Dario tallies 2 more goals bringing season total to 6 goals in 4 matches

AFC Ann Arbor hosted Detroit City FC at Hollway Field Sunday afternoon and the local rivalry did not disappoint as The Mighty Oak earned a 2-0 victory to remain undefeated in NPSL play.

Detroit came ready to play and controlled the game for large portions of the first half.

The first real chance of the game went to AFC through Alec Lasinski in the 32nd minute. He took a touch around his defender before firing over the cross bar.

Just 8 minutes later and with half time looming, Audi of Ann Arbor Man of the Match Dario Suarez took control of the game. He slid in behind the DCFC defense and fired the ball into the back of the net at the far post to put Ann Arbor up 1-0 heading into half time.

After a 15-minute down pour at halftime, the sides came back out just as the clouds cleared and play resumed.

The match went back and forth with both sides creating chances early on in the second half, as did the rain. 

In the 61st minute, Suarez again took over, after some nice link-up play between Jesse Muskwe and Tendai Jiraira. The ball rolled to Dario, he took a touch, and buried the ball in the top corner to make it 2-0 for AFC. Once again, a goal to remember compliments of Super Dario. 

There was a lot of game left, but The Mighty Oak stayed calm and compact in defense, and continued to look for ways to put the game out of reach.

The second half saw several yellow-cards for both sides and a bit of pushing and shoving but ultimately nothing serious.

In the end, The Mighty Oak were able to hold on and get the win. It was a great team display – AFC shared the ball well, looked comfortable in possession, and made the most of their chances.

Coach Rudland was proud of the result, but wanted to make sure the men kept this win in perspective.

“This is just another game.” He said. “We want to continue to stay focused on the process and the details, and stay sharp in training. But it’s obviously a big win for us.”  

The result puts AFC Ann Arbor on top of the NPSL Great Lakes West table with twelve points from a possible twelve.

AFC Ann Arbor will look to keep their fine form going on Friday night as they take on Lansing United on the road at 7:00 pm before returning to Pioneer, Monday May 29th, for the 3rd annual Memorial Day Classic. 

AFC Ann Arbor Remains Unbeaten After Third NPSL Match

Audi Ann Arbor Man of the Match, Dario Suarez (Super Dario), has scored 4 goals in 3 games

The red hot Mighty Oak were unfazed by the chilly temperatures and wet conditions earning their second road result of the season, with a decisive 2-0 victory over Kalamazoo FC. Dario Suarez earned Audi Ann Arbor Man of the Match honors by netting both goals (61’, 75’) for Association Football Club Ann Arbor.

With tonight’s result, AFC Ann Arbor improves to 3-0-0 in the NPSL Great Lakes Conference and remain atop the table heading into Sunday’s match against Detroit City FC. The Mighty Oak are now 4-0-0 all time against Kalamazoo FC. 

Early until midway through the first half, Ann Arbor controlled possession and continued to press creating multiple chances early on. Just five minutes in, a short ball in from Sam Zisette played through to Jake Rufe, began a sequence involving five AFC players (Zisette, Rufe, Lasinski, Suarez, Breitmeyer) resulting in the team’s first real chance of the night when Kyle Breitmeyer’s shot from 10 yards went just over the top of the goal.

The pressure continued and in the 20th minute Alec Lasinski struck a volley from 23 yards out which was all but in before meeting Ade Adeniyi’s forehead on the goal line. Kalamazoo's defender being in the right place at the right time prevented Ann Arbor from securing the early lead. 

Shorty after, around the 26th minute, momentum shifted as Kalamazoo began creating chances of their own only to be met by TJ Tomasso time and time again. Tomasso, earning his second NPSL clean sheet of the season (he's only given up 1 goal on a PK), made four saves in the first half which allowed the team to go into the locker room at half scoreless.

Ann Arbor came out pressing hard creating opportunity after opportunity when a Dario Suarez cross across the box was deflected in for the 1-0 lead.

The Mighty Oak continued to control play almost the entire second half as they continued to press Kalamazoo and look to seal the deal.

In the 75th minute, Breitmeyer beat Kalamazoo’s defender before finding Suarez who was able to cut back and finish earning his second goal of the evening and 4th of the season.

Second half substitutions of Nick Melleville, Yuri Farkas, Hector Morales and Jack Hallahan proved to show even more depth for the club.

Hallahan beat multiple defenders a handful of times in just 30 minutes of play Friday evening. Just after Ann Arbor’s second goal, Hallahan made a stunning move before a ball that to Farkas that met Kalamazoo’s keeper to save the third goal.

The substitutions made by Rudland not only proved the club’s depth in multiple (if not all) positions, but were also made to manage minutes seeing as the team plays against Detroit at home on Sunday at 1pm.

“We will check in with the men tomorrow during our regeneration session and see who rested or treated. We expect a few changes in the team due to health and availability, but we feel good about our player pool and the depth we have in most positions,” said Rudland.

Coach Rudland talks to his team at half on Friday evening at Mayor's Riverfront Park

Coach Rudland talks to his team at half on Friday evening at Mayor's Riverfront Park

He was also pleased with the performances of two new additions to the Soccer Plus Starting XI in David Cross and Jake Durham.

Rudland added, “Both Jake and David played well for us tonight. We were also able to bring on two returning players for the first time this season in Hector Morales and Colin Watson who both helped us seal the match. We still have a lot of work to do as a team, so 9 points are nice, but we need to keep pressing.”

AFC Ann Arbor will look to do just that when they host Detroit City FC at Pioneer High School’s Hollway Field, this Sunday, at 1pm.

Michigan Cyber Range Match Day Guide: AFC Ann Arbor at Kalamazoo FC

The Mighty Oak return to action tonight against Kalamazoo FC for the 4th meeting in 2 years between the two sides. AFC Ann Arbor has dominated the overall series earning a record of 3-0-0, with the most recent victory coming last Sunday at home in the 2017 home National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) opener.

Former AFC Ann Arbor striker/defender Ade Adeniyi joined the Kalamazoo FC team this season adding size and speed they lacked before. In addition, KZFC has some key Western Michigan University players returning for their second season with Kalamazoo in Brandon Bye and Hunter Vandenboom.


With two games on the docket this weekend, Coach Eric Rudland will look to manage his lineup to make sure rotation players are receiving rest and recovery time as needed.

He added, "Today is a tricky match as we travel to Kalamazoo who we just played last weekend. On top of that this will be our first double-match weekend. We have been working this week to come up with a rotation of players we can use in an effort to keep players healthy and sharp. Tactically we have a good understanding of KZFC but we'll have to see if they make any personnel adjustments to their roster." 

After Friday’s match, AFCAA will host Detroit City FC at 1pm on Sunday, May 21st at Pioneer High School’s Hollway Field. For tickets to Sunday’s match click here.

Location: Mayor's Riverfront Park // Kickoff: 7:05PM // Broadcast: Play-by-Play Tweets

Official Online Ticketing Partner of AFC Ann Arbor

Official Online Ticketing Partner of AFC Ann Arbor

Breitmeyer and Suarez Strike Again as AFC Ann Arbor Defeats Kalamazoo FC 2-0

Jesse Muskwe looks to win the ball against Kalamazoo FC's Ade Adeniyi

Jesse Muskwe looks to win the ball against Kalamazoo FC's Ade Adeniyi

It was a very happy Mother’s Day for The Mighty Oak fans and players as AFC Ann Arbor defeated Kalamazoo FC 2-0 at Hollway, improving to 2-0-0 in the Great Lakes Conference. 

It was a lively opening 10 minutes for AFC. Chances came quickly, first through Jesse Muskwe in the 3rd minute and then again through Dario Suarez just 3 minutes later.

The pace of the match slowed somewhat for the rest of the first half, but Audi of Ann Arbor Man of the Match Kyle Breitmeyer had other ideas. In the 40th minute, he chased down a long clearance on the sideline.

The KZFC defender seemed to be looking to let the ball run out of play. KB saw this, pressed hard and kept a level head, smartly finishing under the Kalamazoo keeper to make it 1-0 for AFC. It remained 1-0 as the half-time whistle sounded.

The second half started brightly for The Mighty Oak. Dario Suarez played Alec Lasinski in behind the Kalamazoo FC back line, but his effort slid just wide of the far post.

In the 55th minute, #SuperDario made certain the result would hold. From a freekick at the top of the box, he curled the ball over the wall and into the top corner to make it 2-0 for the Mighty Oak.

With around 35 minutes to go Kalamazoo pressed hard to find a way back into the match but The Mighty Oak stayed compact in defense and limited their opportunities at every turn. AFC Ann Arbor closed out an important 2-0 home victory.

Coach Rudland was happy with the 2-0 win, though he will be looking to make some adjustments for Friday’s road match in Kalamazoo.

“We’ll have to see if we can fine tune a few things that we didn’t do well enough in the first half today and see if we can take that into the game next Friday. “ he said. “We’ll also have to check in with players and see where they’re at physically and look at what players might need to rotate into the team for next Friday and I’m sure Kalamazoo will be doing the same thing.”

The Mighty Oak will be looking to continue their fine league form as they head west to again take on Kalamazoo FC Friday night in their third NPSL match of the season before returning home Sunday, May 21st to host Detroit City FC at 1pm. Get your tickets for May 21st here

Michigan Cyber Range Match Day Guide: AFC Ann Arbor vs Kalamazoo FC

The Mother’s Day matchup between Association Football Club (AFC) Ann Arbor and Kalamazoo FC marks the official kickoff to The Mighty Oak’s third season at Hollway Field. After opening up the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) season on the road last Saturday with a 3-1 win over Milwaukee, AFC looks to hold position atop the Great Lakes Conference table.

Exactly one year ago from today (May 13), The Mighty Oak hosted Kalamazoo FC for the first time at Pioneer High School’s Hollway Field. Led by by Super Dario’s performance, AFC earned a 2-1 result at home after Suarez scored early in the match and later found teammate Yuri Farkas for the go ahead goal.

The last match of the 2016 regular season found AFC AA traveling to Kalamazoo with the chance to secure their postseason fate with a win. After scoring an early goal from a Dario Suarez header off a corner kick, The Mighty Oak controlled the pace and direction of the match the rest of the way. The dagger came in the 61st minute compliments of a Kevin Taylor header that secured the club’s inaugural playoff berth.

Coach Rudland returns for his second season at the helm for The Mighty Oak 

Coach Rudland returns for his second season at the helm for The Mighty Oak 

Head Coach & Sporting Director, Eric Rudland is looking forward to his second season with Ann Arbor. 

"It's been a long off-season, so we're looking forward to getting back home for NPSL play. I know our players are eager to play in front of our home supporters. Obviously all of our matches against in-state rivals are going to be important ones, so we will need to stay organized and figure out a way to expose Kalamazoo," said Rudland. 

Event Details

The gates will open at 2PM (1 hour prior to kickoff) with the Main St. Hooligans getting things started around 1PM in the Pioneer parking lot.

A number of promotions will be happening Sunday, so the earlier you arrive the better. Get your tickets until midnight tonight online for only $8 (adults; $5 youth) or at the gate tomorrow for $10 (adult; $6 youth). Kids 1, 2 and 3 are always free!

Parking is free. Seating is general admission.

Food trucks: Bigalora, Ray's Red Hots and Ice Cream


-First 100 moms will receive a free rose

Official Ticketing Partner of AFC Ann Arbor

Official Ticketing Partner of AFC Ann Arbor

-Face painting for kids - From 2 to 5pm

-The all new Soccer Plus Kids Zone will feature a DJ and skills challenge

-First 200 fans receive a free cow bell from Michigan Milk Cup

-Additional giveaways from the Milk Cup include chocolate milk and posters

-Giveaways for Mom's: Massage Gift Card from Sha Zen Massage, Grizzly Peak Gift Card

-Watch ICC with AFC! - Win (2) tickets to the AFC Ann Arbor suite for the International Champions Cup match in Detroit on July 19th

For more info on AFC Ann Arbor click here.

Tough Fought Open Cup Match Ends In 1-0 Loss To Michigan Bucks

After a difficult evening in Pontiac, MI, the first U.S. Open Cup match for AFC Ann Arbor ended in defeat as The Mighty Oak lost 1-0 to the Michigan Bucks.

AFC Ann Arbor came into the match following a 3-1 road victory in Milwaukee just 4 days prior. With a few changes to the starting lineup, The Mighty Oak took to the pitch.

The Michigan Bucks looked comfortable from the start. In the 13th minute the Bucks capitalized on a loose back pass. Andre Landell slid in to intercept, took a touch around Steven Casey and comfortably rolled the ball into the back of the net.

The match changed drastically after that. The Bucks were looking to keep possession and dominate the tempo, while AFC were pressing high up the field to win the ball back and looking to attack whenever possible. Nothing changed for either side in the remainder of the first half as the Bucks went into the break with a 1-0 advantage.

The game plan remained the same for both sides in the second half.  The Bucks were sitting back while AFC had the ball and looked to catch The Mighty Oak on the counter.

Needing a change, Coach Rudland brought on Yuri Farkas to replace Nick Melville in the 56th minute. Yuri’s impact on the match was immediate. He added pace, skill and the direct play that this match was begging for.

"At halftime we talked about a couple things tactically to change, which we did a fantastic job of and we wanted to bring on Yuri to see if he could help us in the second half, and he obviously helped us change the game," said Rudland. 

Suarez and Farkas linked up well and in the space of several minutes created two gilt-edged chances for The Mighty Oak.  However, AFC were unable to capitalize on these opportunities.

As the match wore on the game became increasingly open. AFC were committing big numbers in the attack and naturally were leaving spaces at the back as a result. The Michigan Bucks looked to put the game to rest in the 88th minute, when a right footed effort from 25 yards dipped over Steven Casey, but thankfully crashed off the cross bar and remained out.

With only a few minutes left The Mighty Oak threw everything forward, but it just wasn’t to be. The match ended 1-0.

Despite the open cup tournament loss, The Mighty Oak are 1-0-0 in NPSL action with a chance to pick up another 3 points this Sunday. Rudland and The Mighty Oak will look to continue the competitive training nature and focus on one NPSL match a time. 

AFC Ann Arbor will host Kalamazoo FC at Hollway field @ 3:00pm, Sunday, May 14th in the first home NPSL match of the season. Get your tickets here

Michigan Cyber Range Match Day Guide: US Open Cup First Round at Michigan Bucks

Tonight is a historic night for our club.
— Eric Rudland, Head Coach & Sporting Director

The news was made official March 1st, AFC Ann Arbor would be one of sixteen National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) team’s receiving at large bids to the US Open Cup.

Sporting Director and Head Coach Eric Rudland has been prepping since then, not only to get his guys ready for a challenging contest against the Michigan Bucks, but also preparing the entire roster to manage multiple matches in just a few days.

“Tonight is a historic night for our club; to have the opportunity to compete in the US Open Cup is definitely an honor. Obviously, the Bucks are a worthy opponent, so we need to trust our game plan and execute in order to get a result,” said Rudland.

Traveling to Pontiac’s Ultimate Soccer Arenas for a 7:30pm match, AFC Ann Arbor will square up against the most successful amateur team in the modern era. While Wednesday marks the first ever US Open Cup appearance for The Mighty Oak, this will be the Bucks 14th appearance in the historic competition.

Coming off their 2016 PDL National Championship, the Bucks will be returning 8 players from that team on top of adding some of some key attacking pieces.

The Mighty Oak team for Wendesday’s match includes a transfer from FC Buffalo in goalkeeper Steven Casey (see complete team sheet below). TJ Tomasso, who started Sunday’s match against Milwaukee Torrent, is unable to play for AFC in the Open Cup having been cup tied to a previous club he spent time with last season. After Mighty Oak goalkeeper, Adrian Motta got injured in the Saline Showcase, the club was left with just one rostered keeper in Spencer Ward eligible for tonight’s match. Rudland began his search to find a second keeper for the US Open Cup roster and a connection was made through former AFC Assistant Coach, Mike Meyers.  

AFC AA Roster - First Round US Open Cup

The winner of Wednesday’s match will host professional side, Indy Eleven the following week on May 17th.

Tickets for tonight’s match will be available at the gate. $10 for adult and $7 for youth (children 5 and under are free).

The home team has tentative plans to stream Wednesday’s match but no link has been provided at this time. Stay tuned to AFC Ann Arbor social media if you’re unable to the match and want to stay connected. Play-by-play tweets will be available by following @afcannarbor.

AFC Ann Arbor Defeats Milwaukee Torrent 3-1 In NPSL Opener

The Mighty Oak started the NPSL season on the road in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where they took on the Milwaukee Torrent. 

It was a tough match throughout, but The Mighty Oak won 3-1 through goals from Dario Suarez, Kyle Breitmeyer and Yuri Farkas. Despite the scoreline, things did not go entirely AFC Ann Arbor’s way in the match.

The match was extremely physical from the start. In the 4th minute, James Vaughn got hit in the face by an unintentional hand and got a bloody nose. This forced him to leave the field for an extended period of time as he waited to change his bloodied jersey. With The Mighty Oak down to ten men on the field, Milwaukee pressed hard, but were unable to capitalize on the man advantage.

In the 31st minute, the aggression was again on display as Kyle Breitmeyer was brought down in the box to win a penalty. Dario Suarez stepped up and buried the chance to give The Mighty Oak a 1-0 advantage. After some great work by TJ Tomasso in goal, AFC Ann Arbor went into half-time leading 1-0.

The aggressive play continued from both sides in the second half. For large stretches Milwaukee looked to be more in control of the match. They were pressing hard to get back into this game, but naturally this left spaces at the back.  AFC took advantage of this as the game wore on.

In the 79th minute after a dangerous Milwaukee free kick, the ball found its way to Dario Suarez, who set off on the counter attack. Dario looked up and found Kyle Breitmeyer in space. He took a touch, cut the ball back inside to beat his defender and coolly slid the ball under the on-rushing keeper to double the advantage for The Mighty Oak.

Only seconds later, Tendai Jirira set off down the left. His cross found the run of Yuri Farkas, and he buried the chance from close range to make it 3-0 for AFC. 

Three goals up with less than ten minutes to go, The Mighty Oak were looking comfortable for the first time all evening.

Milwaukee did get on the score sheet in stoppage time though, after a scramble in the box led the referee to point to the penalty spot.  Milwaukee converted the PK to make it 3-1. After a long and hard-fought match, the referee blew the whistle and The Mighty Oak left Milwaukee with a crucial 3 away points.

Coach Rudland was of course happy with the result away from home in the first NPSL match of the season. He was particularly excited by the work his front line put into the match. “You have to have guys who can be dangerous in the final third.” He said.  “That was the game changer for us. Being able to bring guys [like Yuri, Kyle and Dario] on really takes our attack to the next level.“

Audi of Ann Arbor Man of the Match Kyle Breitmeyer spoke to the team’s togetherness and the importance of that looking ahead to The Mighty Oak’s next match.

“This team is together,” added Rudland. “When you come to a place like this and get a big win, you’re going to have confidence in each other. You’re going to have a belief in each other and that’s huge going to into a match like that against the Bucks.”

The Mighty Oak will look to build on an impressive away win with a first ever U.S. Open Cup match against the Michigan Bucks Wednesday, May 10th, at 7:00 pm at Ultimate Soccer Arenas in Pontiac, MI.