By Shelly Watkins
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.