AFC Ann Arbor squared off against Detroit City FC at Hollway field on Sunday night. A win would secure an NPSL regional play-off place for The Mighty Oak; a win for DCFC would keep their play-off dream alive. The energy was electric from the first kick.
The first half was an effort by both teams to gain control. AFC sat in deep and packed men behind the ball in the first half, hoping to stifle the attacking options of Detroit. This worked well and the sides went in deadlocked at the break.
The second half started all AFC. In the 56th minute, Willy Bayemi pressurized the DCFC backline, winning the ball off an unsuspecting Detroit center back. One on one, he collected the ball, dribbled around the keeper, and slotted home to give the Mighty Oak a 1-0 lead.
The next 15 minutes saw more attacking play from AFC. Willy Bayemi spearheaded the attack and gave the opposition back line plenty of problems, winning several corners. Unfortunately for The Mighty Oak, these chances were not taken. Detroit City was quick to make AFC pay for the missed opportunities.
In the 74th minute, DCFC’s Cyrus Saydee grabbed the first real chance of the match for City, collecting the ball in the box and lobbing Fabian Veit in the AFC net. 1-1.
In the 80th minute, Cyrus Saydee was involved again, taking a corner that made its way through a scrum in the box to Tyler Moorman, who converted the chance to make it 2-1 for Detroit.
Things went from bad to a whole lot worse just three minutes later, when Saydee pounced on a back pass that was a little short for Fabian Veit to clear. Veit’s attempted clearance took a big deflection, but the ball ended up in the back of the AFC Ann Arbor goal, making it 3-1.
In the 90th minute, Jack Smith was issued a red card for a hard challenge on DCFC’s Spiro Pliakos. A scuffle ensued, but the referee took no further action except to separate the players.
There were no other real chances for AFC to get back in the game. The referee blew the whistle, confirming the 3-1 loss for AFC Ann Arbor.
The Audi of Ann Arbor Man of the Match was Willy Bayemi. Willy scored a great goal and created problems for the opposition throughout.
The result was humbling for the men, but AFC Ann Arbor coach Eric Rudland remains confident moving forward.
“It’s really about regrouping now,” he said. “We need to learn to be a little more resilient and keep our composure […], we’ll use this result to be better next game.”
AFC Ann Arbor plays the next match away, Friday, July 8th against Grand Rapids FC. The next home Match for the Mighty Oak is a friendly on Friday, July 15th, at 7:00pm against Columbus Crew CP.