Three late goals propel Stars to 4-3 victory

The Michigan Stars scored three goals in the final eight minutes, including two in stoppage time, to defeat FC Indiana 4-3 Friday night in the team’s final home game of the season.  After trailing 3-0 at halftime, the Stars enjoyed a friendly locker room chat, tweaked the lineup a bit and came out raring to go.

“The changes we made at halftime were tactical,” said Michigan Stars assistant coach Eric Perilla.  “We talked about how Indiana was pressing and how we could expose them.  Coach Nathan (Smith) found a way for us to do that and from there everything just fell into place.”

Defender Jacob Prud’homme opened the scoring for the Stars at 64:00 on a great pass from defender Wilfred Williams and at 85:50, forward Michael Beckett scored to chip away at Indiana’s lead.

It was at the 90-minute mark however, where things got interesting in Berkley.

Driving deep into Indiana’s end, the Stars’ momentum started to build off a couple of quick MSFC corner kicks and throw-ins.  Defender Taylor Fletcher chucked a long throw into the box to defender Alex Ofeimu; he nailed home the header for the equalizer.

A few moments and melees later, midfielder Brandon Katona seized the game-winner for the Stars on a crisp pass to the back of the net.

FC Indiana goals were supplied by Mehdi Himmick (8:36) and Kevin Amaizo (21:52, 38:00).  

Goalkeeper Anthony Mwembia was strong as always for MSFC and was the hands-down Man of the Match.

“Anthony made some phenomenal saves in the second half that could have changed the storyline,” said Perilla.  “He had three huge point-blank saves in a row at a crucial moment in the game for us; he’s without a doubt the Man of the Match.”

The sun sets on the Stars’ 3-4-6 season Monday against league champion AFC Ann Arbor (10-1-1). 

Michigan Stars defeat Lansing United in stoppage time

The Michigan Stars (MSFC) scored in stoppage time to defeat Lansing United 2-1 Friday night at Hurley Field in Berkley.  Defender Alexander Ofeimu netted the game-winner, cementing the victory for MSFC in a match where both the offense and defense clicked.

The Stars lead 1-0 into the 90th minute when Lansing’s Samuel Conti tied the match on a left-footed volley that momentarily dimmed the home team’s mood.  Minutes later and with everyone’s eyes on the clock, Star’s midfielder Gael Kisombe Samuna drove to the end line and pulled the ball back as to not surrender the goal kick.  The ball popped out to Ofeimu and he finished the game with an exclamation point for the Stars.

“Somehow, we found a way to win today,” said Michigan Stars coach Morris Lupenec.  “We’ve lead the league in ties and we weren’t content on tying this game.  Alex took advantage of an opportunity and it’s sweet to get the win.  We’ve put in a lot of hard work this year I have to credit the guys for sticking through.”

MSFC were aggressive from the get-go, tallying five quality shots from midfielder Brandon Katona, forward Naeem Charles and Ofeimu in the opening 20 minutes.  The Stars struck first, scoring just one minute into the second half on a shot from midfielder Nicholas Badalamenti.

“We had a good first half and that’s something that we emphasized going in to today,” said Lupenec.  “We’ve been giving up goals in the first 20 minutes of games, so we said let’s try to eliminate that and build on it.  I’m proud of the guys today.”

The defensive play was equally as strong with first-half highlights coming from a Katona header off the goal line at 24:00, a point-blank save by goalkeeper Anthony Mwembia at 44:00 and an all-around defensive effort lead by Man of the Match Nyal Higgins.

“Nyal was steady in the back for us today and solid for us all year,” said Lupenec.  “Not only is he a good player but more importantly he’s a good person too.”

The Stars (2-4-5) travel to Kalamazoo FC (3-5-2) on Sunday, face Indiana FC (1-9-1) at home July 14 and finish the season with current league-leaders AFC Ann Arbor (9-1-1) on July 17.

 

Michigan Stars FC and Kalamazoo FC tie 1-1

By Shelly Watkins

Once again, second half determination rewards the Michigan Stars Football Club (MSFC) as they salvage a point Friday night in the 1-1 Kalamazoo FC match at home.

The second-half comeback has become a habit for the Stars as of late, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

“If we just played second halves we’d be great,” said Michigan Stars head coach Morris Lupenec.  “In this league though, you can’t just play one half.  The front runners are playing complete games and we need to start putting together both halves as well.  The good thing is we are not giving up and our bench is providing a lot of energy.  I’m proud of the guys today.”

MSFC forward and halftime substitute Naeem Charles tied the game on a calm and confident shot at 62:00.  Charles beat the Kzoo goalie on the short side, unassisted.

Kalamazoo opened the scoring at 24:02 when the Michigan Stars goalkeeper Anthony Mwembia and a defender collided on the corner of the 18-yard box.  The ball popped toward the goal and a Star defender was unable to make the full clear.  Kalamazoo’s Ade Adenlyi pushed the ball into the goal, unassisted.

“Kalamazoo capitalized on our goalie running into one of our defenders, but things like that happen,” said Lupenec.  “They have some talented guys up front.  Number four (Adenlyi) and the guy out wide (Quamie Dinnal) were a load.  Our defense had to step up today.” 

On that note, Stars defender Wilfred Williams was named Man of the Match for his efforts throughout the 90 minutes.

“Wilfred had a hell of a match for us back there,” said Lupenec.

The Stars best chance to add the go-ahead goal came at the 80th minute mark with three close calls in two minutes.  First, substitute forward Jacob Bevan’s breakaway shot went wide, a shot off a corner kick went wide and Williams’ attempt was stopped. 

Kalamazoo outshot the Stars 11-9.

Next Friday, June 23 the Stars (1-3-4) travel to Milwaukee (1-4-2) for a rematch of last week’s 2-2 draw then face neighbors Detroit City Football club on June 30 in Hamtramck.

Picture perfect free kicks help Stars draw Torrent

By Shelly Watkins

Naeem Charles’ free kicks were spot on Sunday afternoon as he scored twice to lead the Stars to a 2-2 draw over the Milwaukee Torrent at home.  The second of the two set pieces was a dramatic equalizer in the final seconds of the match.

The goals were nearly identical in distance and angle, both 20 yards out on the right flank, and practice made perfect for Charles in this game. 

“I work on those free kicks all the time so I was pretty confident stepping up to it,” said Charles.  “I just thought I need to get it on frame.  The second kick was at an almost identical angle to the first one but a little closer so I had to get it more far-post and away from the goalie.  When I made contact with, it I knew it was a good shot and I just hoped for the best.”

Charles’ goals were scored at 77:00 and 90:00.

Milwaukee’s two goals came in the first half.  They jumped to an early lead just one minute into the match when defender Drew Ruggles launched a throw-in to the middle of the Stars’ box.  Declan Rodriguez neatly headed the ball into the net, uncontested, like they’d done it a hundred times before. 

Ruggles increased Milwaukee’s lead to 2-0 at 39:00 by striking a penalty kick past Stars goalkeeper Anthony Mwembia.

The Stars made six halftime changes in the 92-degree afternoon heat, a new tactic for head coach Morris Lupenec.

“I’ve never subbed six guys at half ever in my life but it worked out for us,” said Lupenec.  “The six guys we brought in gave us the energy to keep pushing.  Fortunately, we were able to tie the game late.  Overall, we showed good character in not giving up and this gives us some hope continuing into the season.” 

Mwembia had an outstanding game in goal, making several diving saves and key stops to keep spirits up.

“Anthony made some key saves for us in the second half to keep us in the game when we were down 2-0,” said Lupenec.  “He’s always going to be steady for us.”

Milwaukee outshot the Stars 14-7.

The Michigan Stars (1-3-3) host Kalamazoo FC (1-3-1) at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, June 16 at Hurley Field in Berkley, MI.

 

Mistakes cost Stars in loss to AFC Ann Arbor

By Shelly Watkins

June 2, 2017

“Football is a game of mistakes.  Whoever makes the fewest wins.” – Johan Cruyff

The Michigan Stars (MSFC) were reminded of the quote by the great Dutch footballer the hard way Friday evening as the Stars fell to AFC Ann Arbor (AFCAA) 5-0 in a match riddled with miscues on their home turf.

“At the end of the day, every time we made a mistake they made us pay the price,” said Michigan Stars Coach Morris Lupenec.  “We made five mistakes and they scored on all of them.  A good team will do that to you.”

Ann Arbor’s Kaleb Jackson struck first at 13 minutes into the match.  Capitalizing on a defensive miscommunication by the Stars, Jackson helped himself to a 20-yard breakaway and beat goalkeeper Anthony Mwembia on a shot to the lower left corner. 

At 29:00, Kyle Breitmeyer crushed a dipping line-drive over Mwembia after connecting on a cross from Sam Zisette.  The goal advanced the score to 2-0 in AFCAA’s favor and took the teams into the locker rooms at half. 

Ann Arbor’s goals and relentless pressure kept the Stars on their heels throughout the match; registering just one shot on goal in the first half and four in total.

“In addition to our mistakes, our overall effort was not great,” said Lupenec.  “Not all eleven guys were working hard as a unit together.  I’m confident that we will solve this by Sunday.”

AFCAA’s third goal was scored at 52:00 by Jimmy Fiskus.  Fiskus connected on corner kick originating from Yuri Guglielmi and headed over from Benjamin Thornton.  Alec Lasinski scored just moments after subbing in at 63:00 and James Vaughan hit a brilliant free kick at 71:00 to round out the scoring.

“Ann Arbor is a good team and are in first place for a reason,” said Lupenec.  “They are definitely the team to beat in our league.”

The Stars (1-2-2) travel to Lansing United (4-0-0) on Sunday, June 5 for a 2:00 p.m. kickoff.

Click HERE for more Photos from the game. 

Photos courtesy JDN2 Photography. 

Stars, McWoods shine in 8-2 victory over FC Indiana

Michigan Stars defeat FC Indiana 8 - 2.                                               -Michigan Stars Staff Photo

Michigan Stars defeat FC Indiana 8 - 2.                                               -Michigan Stars Staff Photo

By Shelly Watkins

May 21, 2017

Forward Eric McWoods scored three goals and provided two assists in the Michigan Stars FC (MSFC) 8-2 victory over FC Indiana Sunday afternoon.  MSFC earned their first win and remain undefeated at 1-0-2.

McWoods scored at 42:00, 58:00 and 60:00 with assists from Naeem Charles, Jacob Bevan and Wilfred Williams, respectively.

“Eric is one of those forwards in our league that will score a lot of goals,” said Coach Morris Lupenec.  “He has a fantastic work ethic and works hard to get into those scoring positions.  When he’s not scoring, he’s creating opportunities for the other guys.  Today was a good day for Eric in doing both.”

FC Indiana scored first in the contest as a result of a misplay by the Stars defense 22 minutes into the match.  The goal against jump-started the team as forward Nebojsa Popovic scored twice in the next ten minutes on assists by McWoods and Kyle Thomson.

“The team responded very well after Indiana scored,” said Lupenec.  “We were dictating the match; we had a good rhythm.”

With a 3-1 lead going into the second half, MSFC continued to press as Alan Shaw added two more to the tally, both assisted by Thompson at 50:00 and 77:00.  Bevan rounded out the Stars attack on an assist from McWoods just before the whistle blew at 89:00.

Johann Bittner and Anthony Madonbe scored for FC Indiana

McWoods was named Man of the Match.

Prior to the Memorial Day break, the Stars travel across the state to meet Grand Rapids FC on Friday, May 26 for a 7:30pm kickoff. 

 

Michigan Stars and Grand Rapids FC split points

The Michigan Stars FC battled to a 1-1 draw with Grand Rapids FC. (JDN2 Photography image).

The Michigan Stars FC battled to a 1-1 draw with Grand Rapids FC. (JDN2 Photography image).

By Shelly Watkins

The Michigan Stars FC and Grand Rapids FC battled to a 1-1 draw at Hurley Field in Berkley Friday Night.  The Stars split the points with last year’s Great Lakes Western Conference champions, their second draw in the young season.

“One thing I definitely know is that it’s hard to get points in this league,” said Coach Morris Lupenec.  “There won’t be an easy game for us, but you’re not going to win the league or be in the top-shelf of the league if you keep tying games.”

Tied 0-0 after a back-and-forth 45 minutes, the Stars struck first with a goal four minutes into the second half.  Forward Nebojsa Popovic flicked the ball past a defender and beat Grand Rapids goalkeeper Noah Fazekas to take the lead.  Defender Jamie Carey-Morrell assisted on the goal.

Grand Rapids levelled the score 1-1 at 76:00 on a goal from midfielder Jacob Love on a pass from Greg Timmer.

You always go into games looking for three points and we got the goal we needed in the second half,” said Lupenec.  “In the next 15 minutes we had a couple of chances to put the game away but they were a tough team.”

Forward Elliott Collier provided the Star’s best chance in the first half after a 30-yard solo drive, beating several opponents before shooting just wide of the goal.  Minutes later, Collier combined with forward Eric McWoods on a give-and-go that resulted in another shot wide.

On the defensive end, Stars goalkeeper Anthony Mwembia redeemed himself after committing a hand ball for crossing the goal box just after halftime.  On a tough direct free kick by Kosti Moni that penetrated the Stars wall, Mwembia came up with a big save and adding momentum to the match.

“It’s all about getting better,” said Lupenec.  “I think we were better today than we were last game and we played a quality opponent in last year’s champs.  The boys played well; they gave a good effort.” 

Grand Rapids outshot the Stars 11-6.  Mwembia had five saves on the day while Fazekas provided three.

The Michigan Stars Man of the Match was awarded to midfielder Kyle Thompson.

The Stars (0-0-2) take the show on the road Sunday as they travel to Lafayette, IN, to take on Indiana FC. 

More images HERE

Michigan Stars draw 2-2 with Detroit City FC in season opener

5/14/2017

By Shelly Watkins

Cristian Dragoi was named the Michigan Stars Man of the Match

Cristian Dragoi was named the Michigan Stars Man of the Match

Two second half goals and a PK stop lifted the Michigan Stars to a 2-2 draw against Detroit City FC on Sunday afternoon.  The Stars played host to City and their lively supporters on a beautiful Mother’s Day afternoon in Berkley in this season’s opening match.

Detroit City struck first, just three minutes into the game, on a goal by midfield Captain David Edwardson, with the assist from Cyrus Saydee. 

The slow start did not surprise Stars head coach, Morris Lupenec. 

“We started today with new staff, new players, and three minutes in they get a goal,” said Lupenec.  “We were on our heels right away.  We’re young and we haven’t played much together, but we were stressing to the guys, ‘just don’t quit’.”

Twenty-five minutes later Adam Spinks beat Stars’ goalkeeper Anthony Mwembia on a 20-yard bomb to the upper left corner of the goal.

Trailing DCFC 2-0 at halftime, substitute Elliot Collier’s spark immediately impacted the offense by providing a perfect cross-field pass to Austin Ricci who beat DCFC keeper Colin Miller at 59:00. 

“Elliot was brilliant for us,” said Lupenec.  “He added a lot of energy and it was something we really needed.  We were lacking that in certain moments but he really stepped up for us.”

Mwembia also stepped up in the second half for the Stars.

With five minutes remaining in the 2-1 match, Detroit City was awarded a PK on a Stars’ hand ball in the box.  Mwembia made a diving save on Saydee’s shot to the corner, singlehandedly firing up his teammates and silencing the DCFC drums for the moment.

With momentum swinging the Stars way, midfielder Kyle Thompson first stung the crossbar with a header at 88:00 then scored the equalizer at the 90-minute mark on a sweet cross from Nebojsa Popovic.

At the end of the day, both teams shared the points.

Cristian Dragoi was named Man of the Match by his coaches for his midfield tenacity throughout the 90 minutes.  

The Michigan Stars (0-0-1) host Grand Rapids FC next Friday, May 19 at 7:00 p.m. at Hurley Field, Berkley.

Michigan Stars FC 2017 Schedule Begins At Home

SCHEDULE_LEAD_ART.jpg

Stars Host Detroit City FC on Home Opener May 14th

The Michigan Stars FC are excited to announce their 2017 home schedule at Hurley Field in Berkley, Michigan. The home opener will be on Sunday, May 14th at 4pm against Detroit City FC (DCFC). 

The 2017 season picks up where it left off last year against Detroit City FC when the Stars played at Detroit’s Keyworth stadium and won 2-1. This time Michigan Stars FC will welcome DCFC and the Northern Guard to Hurley field when they meet on May 14th. 

The full Michigan Stars FC 2017 Home Schedule at Hurley Field is as follows:

 

Sunday 5/14 at 4pm v Detroit City FC

Friday 5/19 at 7pm v Grand Rapids FC

Friday 6/2 at 7pm v AFC Ann Arbor

Sunday 6/11 at 4pm v Milwaukee Torrent

Friday 6/16 at 7pm v Kalamazoo FC

Friday 7/7 at 7pm v Lansing United

Friday 7/14 at 7pm v FC Indiana

Tickets

 

Single tickets will go on sale this Friday, February 10th at www.MichiganStarsFC.com

$10 Adults At Gate

$8 Youth At Gate

$8 Adults Advance Online

$6 Youth Advance Online

 

 

The Stars are also excited to be a part of the 2017 Michigan Milk Cup, brought together by their sponsor United Dairy Industry of Michigan (UDIM), along with Lansing United, AFC Ann Arbor, Kalamazoo FC and Grand Rapids FC.  The teams will use their 4 home and away games to secure their title as Michigan’s top club.

Conference and Playoffs Information

The Stars will compete in the Great Lakes West conference again this year with includes Detroit City FC, Lansing United, AFC Ann Arbor, Kalamazoo FC, Grand Rapids FC, Milwaukee Torrent and FC Indiana. 

The conference is a part of the the 2017 NPSL Midwest Region will include 22 teams grouped in three conferences:  East, Great Lakes, and North.  At the end of the regular season the top two teams in each conference, a total of six teams, will qualify for the Midwest Region playoffs.  

There will be three conference winners and the top two will be determined with seeds #1 and #2 getting a bye in the first round of the playoffs.

The other teams participating in the playoffs will compete as shown in the breakdown below with the seeding being determined by calculating the average points per game among the second place finishers in each conference. 

 

Playoff Games 1 and 2 will be hosted by seeds #3 and #4 respectively on Saturday, July 22.  The lowest-seeded winner will advance to play the #1 seed in Game 3 and the highest-seeded winner will advance to play the #2 seed in Game 4.  Games 3 and 4 will be played on Friday, July 28.  The winners of Games 3 and 4 will play in Game 5 on Saturday, July 29, or Sunday, July 30, in case of a weather delay. 

The host of the Midwest Region Final Four will be determined by a Midwest Region vote of the member clubs. The opportunity to host is open to any of the teams that qualify for the Regional Semifinal.  Prior to the final game of the season, each team who qualifies for the playoffs and is interested in hosting, shall submit proposals to host the Midwest playoff weekend. By Wednesday, July 19th the region will vote on the bids and rank them.  At the conclusion of the Qualifying Round, the highest ranked bid of the four remaining teams will be named as the host.

About NPSL

The National Premier Soccer League is a 4th tier semi-pro national soccer league with four regions spread across the country. The Midwest Region hosts 3 conferences including the Great Lakes, which includes six Michigan clubs. Last season, newcomers Grand Rapids FC and AFC Ann Arbor advanced to the Midwest Region playoffs where both teams were eliminated by soon to be national champions, AFC Cleveland. The 2017 season will run from early May until late July with the NPSL playoffs taking place at the end of the season (late July/early August). For more information on the league visit NPSL.com.

 

About UDIM

The United Dairy Industry of Michigan (UDIM) is the umbrella organization for the Dairy Council of Michigan and the American Dairy Association of Michigan.

We believe milk is a natural beverage that delivers nutrition, health, and true local flavor. We are dedicated to being your credible source for information about dairy foods and Michigan dairy farming by providing science-based nutrition information to foster a healthier society. 

Our dairy farm families proudly produce milk in their communities using state-of-the-art practices to ensure it is wholesome and fresh. We are committed to raising awareness of the benefits of consuming dairy products among generations of Michigan residents. We accomplish this by working with health professionals, educators, school nutrition directors, academia, industry, consumers and the media. For more information visit the Milk Means More website here.

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