AFC Ann Arbor will venture out on the road after three straight home matches to take on Kalamazoo FC for the second time this season. The match will mark the beginning of the second half of the NPSL season for The Mighty Oak and the first of a big four-match weekend for AFCAA on both the men and women’s side of the organization. The first match of this season’s series saw the teams draw 1-1 thanks to a late stunner from Amadou Cisse in AFC’s home opener.
In these two teams’ first meeting, AFCAA was stunned with an opening goal from Dalton Michael in the first ten minutes of the match. KZFC was then able to sit back and absorb the pressure that The Mighty Oak delivered, and this would work for much of the match. However, Cisse would check in late on in the match and ultimately delivered with a massive stoppage time goal to earn The Mighty Oak a point in their first-ever match at Concordia. The hope for AFC will be that they exit Kalamazoo with all three points.
Historically, AFCAA have fared very well against Kalamazoo. The Mighty Oak have never lost to KZFC in their history, but that has not come without some tough matches. In addition to the 1-1 draw this season, AFC were held goalless in this fixture last season as the two sides battled to a draw. Additionally, it took a 90th minute Brandon Katona goal to sneak out of Kalamazoo as 1-0 winners in the Michigan Milk Cup semi-finals last season. In order to keep their streak intact, AFC Ann Arbor must be ready for all Kalamazoo can throw at them, especially defensive where they have previously found success against The Mighty Oak.
AFCAA currently sit second in the Great Lakes Conference table, a point behind Grand Rapids FC and a point in front of Detroit City FC. The 2-0 home loss to GRFC puts them in a vulnerable position with both Grand Rapids and Detroit possessing a game in hand on them, but those two sides will square off this weekend giving The Mighty Oak a golden opportunity to keep their noses out in front of at least one of the two sides in the playoff push.
Kalamazoo FC sit fourth in the Great Lakes table, two points ahead of FC Columbus who have a game in hand on them. Their most recent result was a 1-1 draw on the road to Michigan Stars in which they needed an 89th minute equalizer from Giuseppe Vitale to snag a point away from Stars. Their defining match of the season, however, was a 3-2 away win at Keyworth Stadium that included a 90th minute winner from Elliott Miller. Dalton Michael and Vitale each lead Kalamazoo with three league goals, but Michael leads the club with four in total on the season, with one in the Michigan Milk Cup. That goal was not enough, and KZFC were eliminated in the quarter-finals by Oakland County FC.