Kalamazoo FC Advances in Michigan Milk Cup, Earn Sunday Draw
The second full weekend of action for Kalamazoo FC finally saw its first set of challenges for the 2018 season. Here's a look at the weekend's action for the Teals as they hit the road for the first time this season and returned to National Premier Soccer League action Sunday.
Friday - Kalamazoo FC 2, Force FC 1 (Michigan Milk Cup 1st Round-2nd Leg)
After KzFC picked up a 6-1 victory at Mayor's Riverfront Park May 13th against Force FC in the first game of this two-game series, they made the trip to Madison Heights for the second game of the series. Kalamazoo just needed a win or a loss of less than five goals to move on to the second round of the invitational Michigan Milk Cup.
The Teals made their way to the scoreboard quickly, as Paul Liagre (Northeastern JC) scored in the sixth minute in his first game with the club. Nick King (Bucknell) continued his offensive prowess with his second assist on the season.
King would add to Kalamazoo's second goal with Lawan Abary's (Western Nebraska CC) first goal with the club in the 56th minute.
The win places KzFC into the Milk Cup's semifinals. They will await the results of two other first round match-ups - AFC Ann Arbor and Oakland City FC (AFC AA up 1-0, play Game 2 May 25th) and Grand Rapids FC versus the Muskegon Risers (GRFC up 1-0, play Memorial Day). Former NPSL squad and current United Soccer League-Premier Developmental League squad Lansing United advanced with two wins over Livonia City FC.
Sunday - Kalamazoo FC 2, Milwaukee Torrent 2
The Teals returned home for a Sunday afternoon matinee with the Milwaukee Torrent, who they defeated in both contests in 2017. Milwaukee entered the contest riding two straight draws in NPSL action, including a 2-2 tie at home with FC Indiana Friday.
The first half was dominated offensively by the Torrent, who put together three scoring chances in the first 30 minutes. Isaac Pereyra scored in the 26th minute to put Milwaukee ahead and hold to a 1-0 halftime lead. KzFC only placed three shots in the first half with just one on goal.
A few key substitutions at the half helped Kalamazoo, but not until after Milwaukee's second goal in the 49th minute to put them up 2-0.
Just five minutes later, the Teals would get on the board with Liagre's second goal on the weekend, a header near the right post from a Cam Sipple (Western Michigan) cross to cut the deficit.
Liagre would earn an assist on the KzFC tying goal in the 66th, sliding the ball in the five-foot box to an awaiting Lucas Malaguez (Grand View) foot.
Both teams would find offensive chances in the remainder of the contest, but would finish with the 2-2 draw.
The Week Ahead...
Kalamazoo FC's May schedule concludes with two more contest during the holiday weekend. It all begins at home Friday with a battle against AFC Ann Arbor, the two-time defending Great Lakes Conference champions and current leaders with nine points (3-0-0) record. The Mighty Oaks are undefeated on the 2018 schedule, sitting at 5-0-0 on the year. KzFC's draw Sunday kept them undefeated on the year at 4-1-0 and looking to close in the conference standings. The Teals are in second place with four points, tied with Grand Rapids FC. Kick-off Friday night at Mayor's Riverfront Park is at 7pm on Military Appreciation Night. Tickets for this contest are still available!
Kalamazoo returns to the road on Memorial Day to take on the newest member of the NPSL and Great Lakes Conference FC Columbus. This Columbus team (not to be confused with Major League Soccer's Columbus Crew) has been around since 1996 and opened NPSL play May 13th with a 2-2 draw with the Torrent. Overall, FC Columbus is 2-1-2 on the year. Kick-off in the Buckeye State is at 3pm May 28th.
BONUS VIDEO - Meet Kalamazoo FC's Paul Liagre