AFC Ann Arbor hosted Grand Rapids F.C. to Hollway field for a 1:00 pm kick-off. It was a hot day in Ann Arbor, but the Mighty Oak was ready to bring a little heat as well.
The first half saw a lot of action for the front three of AFC Ann Arbor, Willie Bayemi, Yuri Farkas, and Dario Suarez all playing important roles. The team looked to gain a foothold in the opening ten minutes, both sides getting the nerves out of their systems.
In the 13th minute, AFC won a free kick on the left wing. Suarez played in an inviting cross, which Hector Morales headed down. The ball skipped up off a Grand Rapids defender, and Farkas was wise to it, prodding home from close range into the roof of the net.
Immediately after the kick off, AFC were on the attack again, this time Morales holding up play to find Leigh Rumbold, his shot flying wide.
In the 22nd minute, it was Morales, Farkas, and Suarez linking up. Suarez lead the charge on the counter attack driving to midfield before laying it off to Farkas. Yuri got his head up and switched play to Morales, who burst into the eighteen-yard box and won a penalty for the Mighty Oak.
Suarez stepped up to take it, and dragged his shot wide. This clearly didn’t sit well with Dario, and 20 minutes later on the stroke of half time, he made his chance count.
Matt Braem collected the ball on the left wing, and whipped in a cross, chest high, which Dario kissed off his heel into the top corner, sending the Mighty Oak fans into a frenzy. That was the last major action of the first half.
The second half kicked off with Grand Rapids fighting hard to find a way back into the match, earning several free kicks. However, they were unable to capitalize on those opportunities.
Grand Rpaids looked dangerous for a large spell of the second half, but this didn’t deter AFC.
In the 80th minute of play, Jermaine Windster, a substitute for injured Farkas, received a pass from Suarez on the left wing. He gathered and flew past the GRFC defender, coolly slotting home at the far post to make it 3-0 for the Mighty Oak.
In the 88th minute, Grand Rapids were rewarded for their effort with a consolation goal, Greg Timmer grabbing one back. However, it was not enough, and AFC Ann Arbor closed out what was, in truth, a dominant win.
The Audi of Ann Arbor Man of the Match was Dario Suarez. Super Dario was everywhere, scoring a brilliant goal and assisting on Windster’s effort late in the second half.
AFC Coach Eric Rudland was pleased with what he saw from the team, and in particular was glad to see the substitutes doing well.
“We’re in a really unique position” he said. “I feel like we have two or three guys we can bring in that can really change the game. I think we saw that today with Jermaine coming on. The goal he scored was fantastic.” Speaking to the depth in the roster, he said “From the club’s standpoint [having that depth is] a positive position to be in.”
The result leaves AFC Ann Arbor perched atop the NPSL Great Lakes West table (first club to 10 points). The Mighty Oak play their next match on Friday, June 3rd, at 7:00pm at Hollway Field.