The Mighty Oak of AFC Ann Arbor went on the road to take on Michigan Stars on Sunday afternoon. The only loss of the season to date came at the hands of Stars, and the men were looking to avenge that loss with an away win of their own.
The opening ten minutes were frantic and neither side was able to control possession. The game settled down a bit, and it was Stars with the better chances. In the 12th minute a Michigan Stars free kick found a head in The Mighty Oak box. The ball flew past everyone including Fabian Veit in the AFC net but the effort hit the crossbar and stayed out.
Then it was The Mighty Oak’s turn to go on the offensive. After earning a corner in the 21st minute, Bruno Oliveria sent in a corner to find the run of Hector Morales, but his header flashed inches over the Stars crossbar.
The remainder of the first half was dominated by AFC Ann Arbor in both possession and chances.
The second half began in much the same way. AFC was controlling the ball and looking for a way through a compact Stars defense.
In the 50th minute it was Hector Morales again on the attack. After an excellent overlapping run and cross from Bruno Oliveria, Hector’s effort could only find the post, but still stayed out. The Mighty Oak were made to pay for their wasted chances in the 75th minute.
After a Michigan Stars counter attack, a bouncing ball at the top of the eighteen yard box was struck well by Jon Rubio, and there was little Veit (or any keeper) could have done to keep the effort out. 1-0 to Michigan Stars, with just over 15 minutes of play remaining.
The Mighty Oak looked to hit back and with 3 minutes remaining, did just that. Kevin Taylor was taken down inside the opposition box and a penalty was the obvious choice. Super Dario, who had been a spark on offense the whole match, stepped up. He coolly converted the spot kick to level the match at 1-1.
With only a few minutes left, the chances started coming thick and fast for AFC Ann Arbor, but in the end it just wasn’t to be. The match ended 1-1.
The Mighty Oak showed tremendous spirit to fight back into the tough away game, and head coach Eric Rudland was pleased with the effort from both the starters and subs in this match.
“[Our] Guys are fighters,” He said. “They have a lot of pride, they are playing with some conviction. We knew that tonight was an important night, so we were hopeful for the three points, but one will obviously do based on the situation of the game, going down a goal.”
The Audi of Ann Arbor Man of the Match was Matt Braem. ‘Frenchy’ was excellent at the back all game and his tough tackling kept The Mighty Oak in the match.
AFC Ann Arbor head back to Hollway with a hard earned away point. The men will take this week to prepare for Sunday July 3, at 6:00 pm, when AFC Ann Arbor host Detroit City FC in a crucial NSPL matchup at Hollway Field.