Saturday, May 14, 2016

Another late comeback fuels AFCAA win, Farkas another gamewinner

Yuri Farkas is a man-in-form. and there is no arguing that. With four goals in four total games played, Farkas has tallied the game-winner in three of the four games played, assisting in yet another successful comeback on Friday.

On Saturday night, all was the same as Farkas was the difference maker in AFC Ann Arbor's 2-1 victory over Kalamazoo FC that handed the Mighty Oak its second NPSL win, keeping them at the top of the table with six points. 

"We treat Yuri just like any other guy on the team; we want to push him in training and make him feel like he has to earn his spot and keep his spot," AFCAA coach Eric Rudland told FTLOF. "Obviously he has shown that he wants to do that in each match, so we want to continue to cultivate that mentality with him."
Becoming even more of a trend that can't seem to be shaken is the club's first half form, which hasn't been the strongest through two preseason friendlies and two NPSL matches. Three wins out of four games played have come after conceding the first goal. 

And Friday evening's match was no different for the team out of Washtenaw County, giving up the first goal to Kalamazoo FC in the 32nd minute of which was reminiscent of the opening goal against the Dayton Dynamo last week.

Miscommunication between the back line and goalkeeper Fabian Veit led to the ball getting past the German net minder off of a back pass, opening the door for KFC's Jose Esparza his first goal of the season, handing his team the advantage.

The goal seemingly came out of nowhere, seeing as the Mighty Oak held a majority of the possession, had earned multiple corners and almost scored on a few chances in the plays leading up to the defensive lapse.

"The good side about it is that it's a very fixable mistake, the bad side is that we don't want this thing to become a habit," Rudland said. "The goals are mainly from our inability to transition quickly, expand into our attacking shape, lost possession; Fabi did what he could to come out.

"We have to limit the mistake in regards to the loss of possession and then take the defensive shape quicker.

"Hopefully these guys continue to form a relationship; Fabi and the back line, it's their second game together tonight so hopefully we move in the right direction."

It didn't take long for AFC Ann Arbor to strike back and level the playing field, though.

A cynical challenge on star forward Dario Suarez left the Cuban in pain on the turf, but ultimately led to a free kick after the foul. The set piece was sent into the box, but the ball got deflected right into the path of Suarez, sending the ball past the Kalamazoo goalkeeper.

"He [Suarez] has been good for us, but he hasn't scored even though what he did in possession was good," said Rudland. "But tonight he was straight-up dangerous, so hopefully this builds his confidence."

The score was knotted at one heading into half, but AFCAA clearly held the momentum and advantage and that transpired on the field.

The second half has been typically been the strong suit for the Mighty Oak and that trend continued against Kalamazoo, with it eventually leading to Farkas' game deciding goal in the 75th minute.

Crosses into the box, midfielders and forwards running directly at the KFC defenders and continued pressure gave AFCAA the chances on goal, with the sustained offense leading to the goal.

Kalamazoo were unable to get itself back in the game as time ran out and AFC Ann Arbor ran away with three more points, keeping it on the top of the Great Lakes West table.

AFCAA's next competitive match falls a week from now at Detroit City FC's home opener and inaugural match at Keyworth Stadium. DCFC is coming off of a U.S. Open Cup victory against the Michigan Bucks, as well as a draw in its NPSL season opener against the Michigan Stars.

The Mighty Oak doesn't face Le Rouge until May 20 but has a great chance to defeat one of the conferences top clubs because of a congested schedule, on top of the trip to Kentucky that DCFC has to make on Wednesday for the second round of the U.S. Open Cup. 

"We'll talk tactics and schemes and stuff like that, but I've played against Detroit before so we'll be well-versed on their style and how they're going to play." said Rudland. "They'll be running on adrenaline for the first part of that match, but in the 30th or 40th minute, that's when I think we'll be able to show what we can do as a group.

"Stepping into what is a great environment where we have to show what we can do, but we have to play the full 90 minutes to be the better side."

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