Andrew Streitel, 5/26/18, KZFC PR Intern
In a battle of the unbeatens, Kalamazoo FC drew against AFC Ann Arbor 0-0 on Friday night at Mayors Riverfront Park.
The game started out with neither team gaining control of the game. Janum Sailor and Paul Liagre started to make connections in the first 10 minutes of the first half. KZFC was mainly using the counter attack to create offensive chances.
After both teams settled into the game, Ann Arbor started to gain control of the possession and was creating chances on goal. The entire game was played with high intensity and both teams were playing very physical and the ref was letting the men play.
All throughout the first half Beau Prey was making key saves that kept the game scoreless. KZFC struggled to find their offense in the first half and finished the half with only two shots and two corner kicks. Ann Arbor entered halftime with eight shots, four shots on goal and four corner kicks.
As the second half kicked off Ann Arbor continued to control the game and making better chances on net. KZFC struggled to string passes together and the Ann Arbor defense was very good at not letting KZFC to get any momentum with the ball.
After 20 minutes into the second half KZFC continued to play a lot of defense but that would soon change as they pushed more and more players forward trying to find that game winning goal.
One of the best chances that KZFC had was in the 69th minute when JD Nord got up for a header on a corner kick but the Ann Arbor goalie made a great diving save to keep the game scoreless. Ann Arbor returned to the attack but again Prey was not letting anything by him and came up with some good saves.
The last five minutes of the game was crazy for both teams as they created their best chances of the night very late in the game. In the 90th minute, KZFC finally broke down the Ann Arbor defense and ripped a shot outside the box that the goalie made a save on. However, the goalie did not secure the ball and KZFC took two point blank shots that the Ann Arbor goalie somehow kept out of the net.
In extra time Ann Arbor had the best chance of the night when a ball was slotted across the goal and found a player that was wide open inside the six yard box. It was an easy tap in goal but somehow the Ann Arbor player shot the ball over the cross bar and missed its opportunity to score the game winning goal.
The game would finish with a scoreless draw and both team would earn a point and remain unbeaten. KZFC finished the game with six shots, three shots on goal, six saves and five corner kicks. Ann Arbor finished with 16 shots, six shots on goal, three saves and seven corner kicks. Beau Prey was awarded the man of the match for his great saves during the game and earning a clean sheet.
Heading to Columbus
KZFC will travel to FC Columbus for a Memorial Day game on Monday at Grandview Heights High School with a kickoff at 3 p.m.
FC Columbus currently sits in sixth place in the Great Lakes Conference. They have played two NPSL games so far this season. Columbus has tied Milwaukee 1-1 and lost against Detroit City FC 1-0.
KZFC comes into the game in third place in the conference with a 1-2-0 record. Ann Arbor and Milwaukee are the two teams ahead of KZFC but both teams have played at least one more game than KZFC has.
KZFC hopes to remain unbeaten as they travel south to Columbus. The team has only let in two goals on the year with a goal differential of plus five. Columbus has allowed three goals against them this season with a negative one goal differential. This is a winnable game for KZFC but will also be interesting to see how the team bounces back from a hard fought game just a couple days before.
The game will certainly test the fitness of both teams with the temperature in the 90s at kickoff. The game is set for a 3 p.m. kickoff at Grandview Heights High School.