AFC Ann Arbor lost 3-2 in the NPSL Midwest Regional Championship in Hamtramck on Saturday night in dramatic fashion at Keyworth Stadium.
The match started brightly for both sides, though Detroit had the better opportunities in the early going. After going back and forth for much of the first half, it was Detroit, who took advantage on 35 minutes. Detroit’s Jordan Tyler pounced on a loose ball in the box following a corner and put the hosts up 1-0.
10 minutes later on the stroke of half-time Omar Sinclair curled a free kick in past TJ Tomasso to double Detroit’s advantage heading into the half.
The Mighty Oak weren’t going down without a fight, however. With a 2-0 deficit to over turn, Coach Rudland made a triple substitution, brining on Alec Lasinski, Jesse Muskwe and Kwesi “Jep” Allen in the 54th minute.
Jep’s appearance was short lived, however, after he was shown a straight red card in the 66th minute for a strong tackle.
Down to 10 men, Coach Rudland again looked to the bench, brining on David Cross, and switching to a 3-at-the-back system. It was left-back turned winger Tendai Jirira who gave AFC a lifeline in the 75th minute.
He beat several defenders, snuck in on the right wing and buried the ball in the back of the net to make it 2-1.
Just 6 minutes later it was substitute David Cross’ ball from the half-way line that Alec Lasinski latched on to. Lasinski took a touch, picked his spot, and fired the ball past the Detroit keeper to level the match, 2-2.
Following several lengthy stoppages for injuries, the referee added on 6 minutes at the end of the game, and with time winding down, Detroit struck.
Striker Tyrone Mondi received the ball on the right wing on the counter attack. His deflected effort found a way to sneak past Tomasso in net, giving Detroit a 3-2 lead.
There was only a minute or two remaining and The Mighty Oak pressed hard to grab an equalizer. However, things went from bad to worse in the final minute when a shoving match resulted in Jake Rufe seeing his second yellow card, leaving Ann Arbor with 9 men to finish the match.
In the end, the lead held, and Detroit City FC came away with a 3-2 victory over AFC Ann Arbor in the NPSL Midwest Regional Championship match.
"It's always tough to go down a goal, let alone 2, and then go down a man, especially on the road in a championship match. When you look at it, what else could have gone wrong? But, given the circumstances the groups collective mentality to claw back into the game was tremendous. To be fair though we've seen that same determination from the men all year," said Head Coach Eric Rudland.