The Mighty Oak will hope to become champions or finalists for the third of three years that the Michigan Milk Cup has existed. Standing in their way are a familiar UPSL foe, Oakland County FC. OCFC have already knocked off one higher-division opponent and will be hoping to do the same as AFCAA host their fellow ‘oak’-named club. Having played in a two-leg quarter-final in last season’s cup competition, AFC will hope to get the same result in one leg as they got in both of the legs last season.
AFC Ann Arbor are here by way of beating UPSL division-leaders BiH GR in the quarter-finals of the cup at Concordia. AFCAA ran roughshod in the first twenty minutes with a couple goals from Andres Chalbaud from the penalty spot and Will Eskay capitalizing on a defensive mishap. From there, The Mighty Oak set into cruise control and could maintain control thanks to some timely saves from Spencer Ward.
In general, The Mighty Oak are riding their best bit of form this season, with a three-game winning streak with eleven goals scored and only two conceded, both late goals for the opposition with the game well in hand. The scoring boots have been put back on for Jordan Montoya as well, as his brace against FC Indiana put him back on the top of the scoring list for AFCAA tying him for team lead in goals with four (Yazeed Matthews also has four). Their results, plus results elsewhere in the conference, meant that The Mighty Oak are entering their mid-week cup match in second place in the NPSL Great Lakes.
There is already some Milk Cup history between these two sides. AFCAA topped OCFC 4-1 on aggregate last season when the quarter-finals of the Michigan Milk Cup were held over two legs. The Mighty Oak won the first leg on the road by a score of 2-0 and were able to secure the fixture at home with a 2-1 win, only conceding on a penalty kick.
While Oakland County pulled an upset in Kalamazoo to knock the NPSL side out of the cup, they have been going through some league struggles as of late. OCFC are currently on a five-match losing streak with some hectic games among those. These include a seven-goal and nine-goal set of matches, and three matches of conceding a winning goal for their opponent at the eighty-minute mark or later. When it comes to this competition though, they were able to secure a 2-1 victory over KZFC thanks to a brace from Fred Prest. Their leading scorers on the season have been Mike Melaragni, with six goals, and Mario Morana, with four.
This will be the second of two semi-finals to be played, as the Flint City Bucks of USL League Two will be hosting Grand Rapids FC on the 25th, so The Mighty Oak would know their theoretical opponent if they are able to stave off this upset-minded Oakland County side.