Last Friday, Ann Arbor scored a late stoppage time winner to defeat FC Columbus 1-0. Those three points were enough for The Mighty Oak to secure back to back Great Lakes Conference Championships.
Although the title is locked up, Saturday’s match does have playoff implications for Ann Arbor. They need another three points to retain their position as the second highest points per game average in the region to earn a bye and advance to the Midwest Region Semifinals.
This may be the main reason the league has selected Saturday’s match as the National Game of the Week. The matchup itself pairs the 5th ranked team in the nation, AFC Ann Arbor, against the 98th (out of 98) in FC Indiana. But that same last placed team isn’t giving up on the season yet. Just last week they hung tough with FC Columbus scoring first and hanging even for a good length. Impressive both because of the quality of the opponent as well as the point in the season at which this match was played. The Lions of Indiana no doubt have heart and would love to be spoilers in Ann Arbor Saturday night.
“This is a big game for us. I keep telling the men that. We need 3 points to position ourselves for a playoff bye. We've also talked this season on a few occasions about respecting our opponent. This is a game where we need to do that to the highest degree. Indiana scored first against FC Columbus this past week and played at 1-1 for a spell of the match. Anyone in this league can beat anyone so we need to be sharp,” said Head Coach & Sporting Director, Eric Rudland.
Saturday is simple. A test of heart for FC Indiana, and a test of mental sharpness for Ann Arbor. FC Indiana is not a team that gives up and knows that they can make their season a memorable one with a huge upset over The Mighty Oak. Ann Arbor will need to do as Rudland suggested and respect their opponent and come out sharp and ready to hammer home these final three points.
Main Street Hooligans
The Mighty Oak don’t boast thousands and thousands of fans or hundreds of hooligans, but our roots have continued to grow and the AFCAA Family continues to extend its branches. A key part of the 2018 campaign has been the increased presence of the Main Street Hooligans, the independent supporter group of AFC Ann Arbor, at every single match. As we plan to lift the 2018 Great Lakes Championship trophy as a family together after the match on Saturday, consider joining in on a ‘COYMO’ chant during the match to show your appreciation for their continued support. The team and even Rudland have noticed their commitment this season.
“The hooligans have been fantastic this season. Their commitment of full support has been the best this season compared to my first two with the club. Hopefully we can give them a great show in our final home match of the regular season,” added Rudland.
Ball Kids and Walkout
We have an open call for our future Mighty Oak’s this Saturday. Sign up to be a ball kid or walkout with the players and take part in the final regular season match of the season!
Online (Advance) - Adult $8 / Youth $5 (Ages 4-12) / Kids 1, 2 and 3 are free
At the Gate - Adult $10 / Youth $6 (Ages 4-12) / Kids 1, 2 and 3 are free