With one less team in the Great Lakes Conference this season, The Mighty Oak will play a total of twelve league matches (compared to fourteen last year), which means they’ve reached the halfway point of the 2018 campaign.
It’s been an impressive start to say the least as the club has set multiple club records along the way earning a 5-0-1 overall record and a possible 16 of 18 points. AFC Ann Arbor started the season with 488 consecutive minutes without conceding a goal when FC Columbus barely snuck one past Mike Novotny this past Sunday.
This team has shown their depth and strength but the second half of the season will provide a new set of challenges as they’ll have to face opponents a second go-around. Teams will make adjustments based on their first contest as well as what they’ve seen potentially work for other clubs. Add in the fact that the first place team always has a target on their back and you realize the mental toughness The Mighty Oak will need to show to stay focused and determined during the second half of Great Lakes play.
“Obviously from a results standpoint we are in a good spot, however we aren't taking anything for granted. Our staff and players all have a clear understanding of how much work will be required to push through the second half of the season. From a football standpoint we still have a lot of progress to make as a unit both with and without the ball. We are trying to make progress day in and day out on the training pitch so we can stay in a position to achieve our objectives,” said Head Coach & Sporting Director Eric Rudland.
Last season, Ann Arbor lost only and drew only once in matter of fourteen regular season matches, and that draw was at home against Milwaukee. The Torrent are a talented side and will be looking to steal points from the table toppers come Friday evening.
“Milwaukee have been competitive in every match this season, so we expect them to come into us with their strongest side and put a lot of energy into the match. Every match presents different situations both tactically and personnel wise, so we are planning on their shape and the players in their team to be different from back in the beginning of May,” added Coach Rudland.
Milwaukee is known to have its ups and downs as they often time have to adjust their lineup due to suspensions and red cards. Midfielder Drew Ruggles who was out for the first meeting between the two sides due to a red card suspension from 2017 will be in the lineup for Milwaukee come Friday, and the Torrent are a different team with him on the pitch.
As the Torrent aim to steal three road points on Friday from The Mighty Oak, they’ll aim to play a physical match and do whatever they can to throw AFCAA off of their game plan.