Association Football Club Ann Arbor hosts Detroit City FC this Sunday at Skyline High School at 3PM for the club’s National Premier Soccer League home opener. The Mighty Oak kicked off their 2018 campaign last Saturday with a 4-0 win over Milwaukee.
Sunday’s matchup against Detroit City FC will mark the first home league match for AFC Ann Arbor played somewhere other than Pioneer High School. The move to Skyline was a result of Pioneer anticipating getting their turf resurfaced this summer and was announced in January.
Although the two clubs have only played five times over the past two seasons, the intensity of this match looks as if the two organizations share a storied past. The series knotted at 2-2-1, was evened up when DCFC won the NPSL Midwest Region Final in stoppage time, 3-2 to end The Mighty Oak’s 2018 playoff run.
Having won both regular season matches against Detroit in 2017 (2-0 home and 3-1 away) and the Great Lakes Conference Championship, The Mighty Oak know how impactful picking up three points on Sunday could be.
“Ann Arbor vs Detroit is always a great match. They are organized and have a core of players who have been together for a number of years. They may rotate some players based on the fact that they have another mid-week Open Cup match next week or they may start a similar line-up in an effort to keep their momentum. Defensively we have to pick good pressing moments, play on the front foot and stay compact. In the attack we have to find ways to build through the 1/3's and not give away the ball cheaply. At the end of the day we just want to see progress with our group so we can take the next step forward,” said Head Coach & Sporting Director Eric Rudland.
Tactically, AFCAA have had to make some early season adjustments based on personnel and opponents, but Sunday will see a form traditional formation that fans are used to seeing.
Fans can also expect to see some changes to the lineup with some new players potentially seeing the pitch for the first time as a member of The Mighty Oak.
Rudland added, “We have some new players who have been with us for a few days of training who are knocking on the door to break in, so we are looking at making a few changes in the first 11. We adopted a new system over the course of last two matches, however we feel comfortable in our traditional style and system fo play as well. So we will look at our available personnel and make a decision in regards to what system of play best matches our players and the opponent.
“We are excited to kick off our home NPSL campaign on Sunday at Skyline. The venue is great and fits our club nicely. I think the surface and size of the pitch are pretty similar to Pioneer so we should settle in well,” said Rudland.
Detroit City is coming off a historic week as the side hosted and won (in dramatic fashion) their first US Open Cup at Keyworth Stadium. Their second USOC win over the Michigan Bucks is a testimonial to DCFC’s commitment to improve their sporting side of the club.
Last seasons addition of Klaas de Boer helped the club identify stronger talent and raise the bar enough to help them earn the Midwest Region Championship.
This season, Cale Wassermann returns to the sideline as Associate Head Coach, in a role that will help the club continue down the path of being more competitive. Wassermann and Pirmann are both assistant coaches at Michigan State and the two have a great track record of working together.
Sunday’s contest will be a true challenge for Ann Arbor as two of the best sides in the region meet for the 6th time ever.
Subscribe to The Mighty Oak's YouTube channel and watch all of the AFC Ann Arbor matches live with Michael Kroodsma on the call.
Match Day Experience
After the April 15th friendly against Carpathia was cancelled due to ice on the field, The Mighty Oak are eager to open up play at their 2018 home venue.
The Main Street Hooligans and other fans will be gathering at HOMES Brewery for pre-match festivities beginning at 1PM. Gates open at 2PM for the 3PM kickoff.
With Sunday being Mother’s Day, we’ll also have some special giveaways just for Moms!
Ray’s Red Hots and Iorio’s will be on hand, while Skyline High School boosters will be running concessions raising money for the high school’s athletic department.
Our official youth club partner on Sunday will be Michigan Tigers FC. All Tigers players wearing their jersey will get in free.
Online Tickets- Adults $8 / Youth $5 (Ages 4-12) *Available until Noon on Sunday
At the Gate- Adults $10 / Youth $6 *Kids 1,2 and 3 are FREE
Memberships (Season Tickets)