Michigan Stars FC Comeback To Take A Point In Season Opener; Coach Andy Wagstaff leads team to 2-2 tie verse Detroit City FC

Joe Coombs, Man Of The Match

Pontiac, MI (May 13, 2016)-  The Michigan Stars FC and Coach Andy Wagstaff knew that Detroit City FC (DCFC) would come into Friday night’s matchup with a lot of confidence after winning a big game in penalty kicks Wednesday night in the U.S. Open Cup, but Stars also knew they could therefore catch them off guard. It was a night of headers and of keeping your head and not giving up.

The first half was on DCFC’s side and some nerves were showing with the Michigan Stars FC, however, the two goals scored in the first half on them were by set pieces.  DCFC’s Andre Morris headed in the first goal in the 5th minute of action from a corner by Ali Al-Gashamy.  The second goal would be by Tyler Stephens (who plays for Wagstaff at SVSU in the college season) from another corner in the 33rd minute by Cyrus Saydee. 

Wagstaff started his first year as head coach for the Michigan Stars FC in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) Friday night and is the Saginaw Valley State University men’s soccer head coach during the college season as well as the owner of Liverpool International Academy FC – Michigan (formerly Force FC).  He has a few players on the DCFC team that are with him at SVSU so he knew this would be a competitive matchup but being down 2-0 at half was not the way he hoped to start the game. 

Coach Andy Wagstaff with SVSU players (left to right) TJ Stephens, Michael O'Neill (Women's Head Coach at SVSU),  Troy Watson, Omar Sinclair and Tyler Channel

Coach Andy Wagstaff with SVSU players (left to right) TJ Stephens, Michael O'Neill (Women's Head Coach at SVSU),  Troy Watson, Omar Sinclair and Tyler Channel

“Without those mental breakdowns,” Wagstaff stated regarding the set piece goals by Detroit City FC, it would have been a 0-0 game going into the second half. We gave them a little too much space, especially in the midfield, and then changed systems and it got a little bit better towards tail end of the first half.” 

Coach felt his team was only giving a 5 out of 10 performance in the first half. He told his team that if they raised their performance, because 2 nil was just not acceptable, and if they could compete for the set pieces, which they did, then they could get right back into the game. 

“Overall a 2-2 draw was probably a fair result.  In the first half they kept the ball better than we did, although they didn't create a ton of chances.  They built the game very well and we gave them too much time and space to play.  When we won the ball back we did look dangerous at times when DCFC were caught unbalanced defensively, but we didn't capitalize on the chances we had.  To give up two goals on set pieces was frustrating, but at half time we made some adjustments and then came out extremely strong in the second half.  We controlled large parts of the second half and managed to score twice to bring us level at 2-2 on the night.  Late in the game DCFC had some freekicks and corners brought on by our own lack of experience at finishing out games but we were fortunate to not get punished by those errors.  Near the end their keeper made a great save from a curling shot from Keaton Levock that would have sealed the three points for us. With summer soccer and the amount of players that are so talented, will get back to a decent training routine, settle in as a team and work more towards our performance.” 

Stars Owner Dr Ned Fawaz With The Team

Stars Owner Dr Ned Fawaz With The Team

In the second half, the Stars did come out and fight hard with a lot of pressure on Detroit City FC.  Just 10 minutes in, Man of the Match, Joe Coombs headed the ball into the net off a corner.  This pattern continued when Coombs would yet again in the 60th head in another into City’s net to make the game tied 2-2. 

Friday night, was Joe Coombs (Lake Erie College, PA) debut for Michigan Stars FC, and he did so scoring two goals despite being a 6’4 center back originally from England. There were many other notable performances, in particular Eric McWoods, who lead the line up front tirelessly all night and was unlucky not to be on the score sheet. While the 3 points and a win was the goal, Wagstaff and the Stars were happy with snagging the point and only allowing the same to City.    
The next game for Michigan Stars FC will be on Friday, May 20th at 7pm at their home Wisner Stadium in Pontiac verse Grand Rapids FC, who are in their first year in the NPSL.    

Tickets for the matchup against Grand Rapids can be found online at www.MichiganStarsFC.com for $8 in advance or $10 at the door and kids 5 and under get in free. Gates open at 6pm.  

Link to Wagstaff's Post Game Interview https://vimeo.com/166632847  

Link to Video of Michigan Stars FC v Detroit City FC 5.13.16 https://vimeo.com/166631178