The Mighty Oak of AFC Ann Arbor hosted the Columbus Crew Collegiate Program at Hollway Field on Friday night. The match was the first of two friendlies before the NPSL Regional Playoffs begin. The Mighty Oak lost 1-0, despite a good showing from some new faces in the side.
The first half started with the Crew looking to impose their will on the match. The Crew had the better of the scoring chances in the opening 25 minutes. Ahinga Selemani forced several good saves from Mighty Oak keeper Peter Tappenden, but ultimately he couldn’t find the back of the net. The sides went in level at the break.
AFC started the second half looking like the better side, controlling the ball well and getting the better opportunities in the final third. In the 54th minute, Dario Suarez cut inside his defender and fired a shot, but his effort flew wide of the post.
In the 60th minute, AFC looked to have earned a penalty. Again it was Dario cutting inside the opposition right back. He played a one-two with Hector Morales at the top of the box, but was chopped down as he attempted to run through. However, the ref ruled Dario offside for his attempted run, and no penalty was given.
In the 71st minute, the Crew got on the score sheet for what proved to be the winner. After a quick throw in, the Crew found space on the right wing, and crossed to the back post where a Crew runner was waiting to tap home. 1-0.
With 19 minutes to go The Mighty Oak made several substitutions. Yuri Farkas came back into the team after a short absence in the side and played well in the closing minutes of the game.
In the end, the changes were not enough to grab a late equalizer, and The Mighty Oak lost the friendly, 1-0.
The Audi of Ann Arbor Man of the Match was midfielder Jake Rufe. Rufe was excellent, covering serious ground and shutting down Crew attacks throughout.
The Mighty Oak take the field for another friendly on Tuesday, July 19th, at 7:00pm at Hollway Field, against San Marino.