The Mighty Oak move on to the semi-finals of the Michigan Milk Cup thanks to a 2-0 victory over UPSL foe BiH GR. It rained hard before kickoff, but the sun peeked through the clouds enough to shine down on AFCAA throughout the ninety minutes. It was two early goals in just over the first twenty minutes of the match, and from there AFC were able to control the ball, and with a bit of help from Spencer Ward’s strong performance in net.
It was a strong start and a sign of positive things to come when Andres Chalbaud, making his AFCAA debut, made a strong run into the box and was greeted by an errant tackle from the keeper. The referee awarded the penalty and Chalbaud took it himself. Stepping over it, and taking his time, he made the keeper guess wrong and finished coolly into the net. Before the fans could properly get to their seats, The Mighty Oak had an early lead.
Upon the wings of the goal, the home side continued to build. Gary Ogilvie, in minute number twelve, danced around a handful of BiH defenders and played a brilliant ball down to Marlon Freitas on the left flank. Freitas was held back well by BiH defenders, but he laid a nice ball off to Jordan Montoya, whose hard-hit shot found the chest of the keeper. Then, in the 20th minute, William Eskay made a great run from the left wing into the box and found Chalbaud’s head for a goal, but the ball was ruled out of play before Eskay could catch up to it. This was only delaying the inevitable second goal for The Mighty Oak.
Upon taking the goal kick, the Grand Rapids-based side attempted to play the ball out from back. They were, however, too loose with the ball and Eskay was able to end up with the ball at his feet and take a first touch hit and find the back of the net. This marked the ending of a strong opening period of the game in which two goals were found and possession was entirely controlled by The Mighty Oak.
After this second goal, BiH were able to find themselves in more dangerous positions, but Spencer Ward, playing in his first match since the suspenseful 1-1 draw with Kalamazoo in the home opener, was on his game. The stops started in the 28th minute when he denied Miguel Flores from a tight angle and they continued. Then, shortly after the start of the second half, Ward made another huge kick save to keep BiH off the scoring sheet. The capper was, in the 76th minute, Yovany Duran’s free kick getting met with a Ward hand. He was essential to keeping the clean sheet and earned man of the match for a reason.
It was a fantastic night all around for The Mighty Oak as Brandon Katona, Michigan Milk Cup hero last season, made his season debut in the match. The aforementioned Chalbaud along with Bruno Piva made their debuts for the club as a whole. It was also a strong ninety minutes for Ogilvie and Nevello Yoseke as the well-traveled veterans dominated the midfield during the match.
The next Michigan Milk Cup match is to be determined by a draw within the coming weeks. AFCAA will either host or visit Flint City Bucks, Grand Rapids FC, or Oakland County FC. The next game for the men and women will take place on June 2nd in a doubleheader. AFC take on Grand Rapids FC at 2 PM in what will be an early battle for Great Lakes supremacy. The women will play immediately after at 5 PM against Michigan Legends as they hope to snag their second home win of the season. Tickets are available now and one ticket will get you into both games of the doubleheader! Spend your Sunday at Concordia with The Mighty Oak!