Kyle Breitmeyer’s 2 goal performance wasn’t enough to see off Saginaw Valley State University Saturday evening as the visitors came from behind to earn a tough 2-2 draw at Huron High School. The 2018 season-opening friendly match kicked off at 7:00 pm and from the beginning it was AFC Ann Arbor with the majority of attacking opportunities.
11 minutes in, forward Kyle Breitmeyer took advantage of an attempted Saginaw clearance. Hector Morales did well to block the ball, which fell kindly for Breitmeyer. KB9 held off the approaching Cardinal defender and clipped the ball over the keeper to the back post to give AFC the lead. Though the goal came early on, it was the only real action of the first half, as both teams seemed content to sit back and feel out their opponent.
AFC Ann Arbor started the second half extremely well. Breitmeyer doubled the advantage just 2 minutes into the half and again he had his presence of mind to thank. He capitalized on a loose pass and took off running. He drove the ball past three Cardinal defenders before slamming a shot across the keeper and into the bottom left corner to make it 2-0 for AFC.
"It was a great night for Kyle. He took his chances well, and he has been a big piece of our pre-season so far. He has been training well & tonight was a good display of the work he has put in so far this pre-season," said Coach Eric Rudland.
With many substitutions coming into the match in the second half, it was no surprise that the dynamic of the match changed. In the 56th minute and Just after the majority of the subs had come came into the match, the Cardinals grabbed a goal back. Following a break down in play, the Cardinal attack swept down the left flank and the rolled ball across the box was eventually lifted past Joe Smith in The Mighty Oak goal.
With over half-an hour remaining, the sides both knew there was plenty of time left for this match to change. AFC shifted into a more defensive mode and looked to hit Saginaw on the counter attack. Breitmeyer came close to his hat trick, dragging his shot just wide after doing well to settle the ball in the opposition box.
In the end though, Saginaw Valley bided their time and struck back at the death as the match rolled into stoppage time. A sweeping ball found the feet of Saginaw’s left winger and after controlling well he poked the ball past Smith to even proceedings at 2-2. The referee added several more minutes on, and The Mighty Oak earned a late corner, but in the end, the match finished all square at 2-2.
As expected in an early season friendly, Coach Rudland was pleased with the effort but saw much room for improvement adding, "Tonight was a good training exercise for the men. I felt like we dictated play well in the first 60min. Our possession oriented attack was very good at times and we did a good job of finding penetrating passes. With that said, we lacked creating dangerous ideas & execution in the final 1/3. For how much possession we had in the first 60min we should have created more opportunities to score."
The final thought from Coach summed it up, saying "We’re only two weeks into training so there’s still plenty to get accomplished."
Coach Rudland and The Mighty Oak will be working hard this week to prepare for the final friendly match of the preseason next Sunday, April 29th @ Saline High School at 5:00PM against Force FC, before NPSL league play kicks off at 7:00PM (6PM CST) on Saturday, May 5th against the Milwaukee Torrent.