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.
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.