Andrew Streitel, 6/11/18, KZFC PR Intern
Kalamazoo FC fell short against rival Grand Rapids FC on Sunday at Mayors Riverfront Park. Grand Rapids earned the season sweep against KZFC when they came from behind and squeaked out a 3-2 win.
It was a very wet day in Kalamazoo and field conditions were not ideal. However, both teams went back and forth in the first half. KZFC started off the game strong and had a great chance in the 6th minute when Donovan Michael beat his man down the sideline but the slotted ball was deflected away by the GRFC goalie.
KZFC continued to put pressure on the GRFC back line. KZFC had a goal that was called back in the 12th minute when a corner kick went out of bounds and came back into play. However just two minutes later KZFC opened the scoring. Janum Sailor zoomed past the GRFC defense and found Nick King on the top of the box. King made one move and took a shot that found the back of the net.
The field conditions were getting the best of GRFC as they continued to make sloppy passes and players losing their footing. However, in the 20th minute GRFC got a goal of their own to tie the game at 1-1. Tony Deakin sent in a cross from about half field that found Scott Doney. Doney rose above everyone and headed the ball into the back of the net.
After tying the game GRFC continued to put pressure on KZFC and created better chances late in the second half. KZFC was able to push their attack forward in stoppage time of the first half and scored a goal to give them a 2-1 lead at halftime. Sailor ripped a shot that hit the post but came right back to him. He controlled the ball and found Yovany Duran near the top of the box and he curled the ball home giving KZFC some momentum going into halftime with a one goal advantage.
KZFC had the first chance of the second half when Michael beat his man with his incredible speed but sent his shot over the goal. Just one minute later GRFC had a chance of their own the rattled the cross bar. In the 57th minute GRFC looked to have made a clear foul in the box that would have given KZFC a penalty kick but no call was made. Minutes after GRFC hit their second post of the half and started to gain control of the half.
KZFC was on the defensive side of the ball for the majority of the second half which lead to their down fall in the game. GRFC created chance after chance trying to find the equalizing goal. GRFC found the tying goal when Matt Whelan took the ball all the way to the end line and put in a great cross. Kenroy Howell ran onto the ball and headed it past Elijah Michaels to tie the game at 2-2.
GRFC continued to put pressure on KZFC with 15 minutes left in the game. Michaels made some key point blank saves to keep the score tied. Struggling KZFC could not find much offensive in the second half and eventually gave up the game winning goal.
A questionable call from the referee gave GRFC a penalty kick with just six minutes left to play. Defender Nick Groenewold calmly stepped up to take the kick and hammered it into the bottom left corner and gave GRFC a 3-2 lead late in the game.
KZFC pushed men forward in the last five minutes of the game but it was not enough as GRFC handled any attack that came their way. Michaels did well to keep the score at 3-2 when GRFC had a three on one counter. Michaels made another point blank save to keep the deficit at one. After a couple late attacks for KZFC the referee blew his whistle and it was all over.
KZFC fell to GRFC 3-2 in a tough loss that will be hard to swallow. KZFC controlled the first half and could have been up by more than one goal at the half. However, the team did not perform well in the second half and played on the defensive side of the ball for most of the half.
KZFC finished the game with 11 shots, eight shots on goal and seven saves. GRFC totaled 15 shots, 10 shots on goal and six saves. Kyle Hernandez was named man of the match for his efforts in the middle field. Hernandez created chances for KZFC and played well on the defensive side of the ball as well.
KZFC will return to action when they travel to take on the conference leaders in AFC Ann Arbor. The game will be played this Friday at Skyline High School with a 7 p.m. kickoff. KZFC will return home on Sunday to face of against FC Columbus. This father’s day game will kickoff at 5:30 p.m. at Mayors Riverfront Park.