Friday night marked The Mighty Oak’s first NPSL road test in club history, which took them to Keyworth Stadium in Hamtramack, to face veteran NPSL side, Detroit City FC.
After the initial nerves settled from the excitement surrounding Friday’s evenings fixture with the two teams exchanging position early on, the physicality began to increase as cards began to be drawn for both teams. The first of which came in the 9th minute on a rough tackle from DCFC defender Billy Stevens on AFC’s Dario Suarez.
As the first half came to a close, a long service from DCFC’s Ali Al-Gashamy was played to Alec Lasinski who was able to net a controversial goal after finding control of the service with what seemed to be his arm.
“It was an unfortunate goal, obviously questionable, but I thought we responded really well in the second half,” said Head Coach & Sporting Director, Eric Rudland.
The Mighty Oak began the second half with an intensity that created a chance for forward Yuri Farkas who was all but in, before being taken down by Brett Nason from behind. Nason was shown a red card for the foul which resulted in a PK opportunity for AFC Ann Arbor.
Dario Suarez approached the PK and played it to the right as the goalkeeper dove in the opposite direction. The Mighty Oak had found the equalizer in the 48th minute and began their persuit to find the go-ahead goal, as they’ve done in both previous NPSL contests this season.
The physical play continued as was shown by each team receiving three cards by the end of the match.
A opportunity to break the tie came late in the match as a counter attack found JP Rylah heading to goal with a defender a step behind. Rylah’s shot went wide right and proved to be the last shot on goal for The Mighty Oak.
With the draw, AFC Ann Arbor earned a tough road point and remains sitting atop the Great Lakes West conference table.
Coach Eric Rudland and team return to action Sunday at 1pm at Hollway Field for a mid-season friendly with Michigan Sporting.