The Michigan Stars FC National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) hosted Grand Rapids FC Friday night in Pontiac at Wisner Stadium for their second match of the season. The result was a 1-1 tie and was the second tie for the Stars who now have 2 points and find themselves inching their way slower than anticipated in the standings.
The silver lining in another tie is that the team is proving that they have great character when playing down on the scoreboard as both on Friday night they came back with a goal and the previous game against Detroit City FC they were also down and fought their way back to take two points away from each opponent.
Grand Rapids FC hit and then quit the scoreboard one time and that was in the first minute of play when they caught the Star’s defense off guard as a ball was headed to Peter Brown who slotted the ball past Stars keeper Tom Lohmann.
Both teams found themselves, throughout the game, playing a great midfield game with a few attempts on each side. One came for the Stars in the 32nd minute when Eric McWoods followed a high pass into the box and both McWoods and the Grand Rapids keeper went up for the ball. McWoods head met the ball prior to the keeper’s fists and it sailed over him towards the net. Just as the ball was falling into the goal, a Grand Rapids defender was close behind and kicked it out as it was coming down.
Just three minutes later, in the 35th, McWoods would get a pass to him by Matt Lamb and the thirty and he turned with it, cut through four Rapids defenders and shot past a diving keeper to rifle the into the back of the net for a Stars goal.
McWoods, Stars Man of the Match with that goal to secure a point said, “I thought we played well, we responded well from the early goal, we fought hard and we created a lot of chances in the final third. Defensively I thought we pressed them hard, but unlucky to get away with just a point. I felt like we deserved the 3 points with our performance, but we will take the draw.”
The play would continue to be intense, throughout the rest of the match, leading up to when Hunter Barone in the 75th minute was ejected with a red card for a rough slide tackle from behind. The emotions were running strong at this point but neither team would take it out on the net again in the match.
“It was a choppy match overall,” Coach Wagstaff stated and continued, “I think that we were a little disappointed in the result, I think performance wise at times we thought we were quite good and we created a lot of good opportunities. Really disappointed that we came out slow in the first minute and we gave a goal away early and I’m hoping that it’s going to be uncharacteristic of us because I think we are mentally stronger than that. To give away a goal so early, debatable offsides but I don’t want to get into trouble with the refs. Anyway, 1 nil down, we again showed character to come back and get back into the game with Eric who had a great game tonight amongst the other guys. Overall, disappointed in the result, but relatively happy with the performance. We are just going to get better from here.”
Wagstaff further commented about the next matchup for the Michigan Stars is on Sunday, May 22nd at 5pm in East Lansing verse Lansing United, stating, “Regarding Lansing United game, it’s exciting to get on the bigger field. We love it here at Wisner though, it’s a great environment. We play a tighter field here and a play a good brand of soccer and are an exciting team. Getting onto a bigger field and playing on grass will be a little different as we haven’t had that much time to prepare on grass but I’m confident with the players I have to put in a good performance on Sunday and give Lansing on their home opener a really good challenge.”
The next home match for the Stars is on May 29th at 5pm. Tickets are only $8 in advance at https://michiganstarsfc.squarespace.com/config#/|/tickets-gear-2/michigan-stars-vs-lansing-united-fc