Kalamazoo FC Edges Detroit, Wins Final 3 Matches
With one game remaining in the 2018 season, Kalamazoo FC looked to end the season with a victory in front of their home fans. It was the biggest crowd of the season for KzFC, as they welcomed Detroit City FC, who looked to avenge a 1-1 draw in the Motor City June 23rd. With that in hand, here's a look at this year's finale.
Saturday - Kalamazoo FC 4, Detroit City FC 3
It was definitely a tale of two halves for the Teals, as they owned the first half of the National Premier Soccer League match. KzFC would score first with Nick King (Bucknell) getting a simple pass on the break from Jeo Garcia (Davenport) in the sixth minute to put them ahead.
Kalamazoo would add to their lead when King was brought down in the box, allowing him a penalty kick. In the 25th minute, King would tally his second score of the night on the PK.
Just a minute later, Kyle Hernandez (Kalamazoo College) would drop a wonderful pass on the right side of the box to Dumi Manyange (Northwest Ohio). He would place it around Detroit's keeper to make it 3-0 all the way to halftime.
Detroit would suffer a blow in the 28th minute, as a scuffle took place at midfield. DCFC would lose one of their players to a red card, dropping them to 10 players for the remainder of the match.
KzFC would stretch the lead to 4-0 in the 54th minute thanks to another breakaway. Janum Sailor (Spring Arbor) would pass through the box and get it over to Manyange for his second score. The offensive well for the Teals would dry up immediately after with no shots on goal the remainder of the night.
Le Rouge would score on a penalty kick in the 65th, followed by two solid scores in the 69th and 77th minute to pull within one. DCFC would follow with two more shots that would hit the post, but that would be as close as they would get to tying the match.
Kalamazoo ends the 2018 season with three straight wins, including two in NPSL play. They would also finish league play undefeated in their final three contests with a 2-0-1 record (win-loss-draw). KzFC ends with an overall record of 8-6-3 and a 4-5-3 record in the NPSL's Great Lakes Conference, a fifth place finish out of seven squads. The top two teams in the conference advance to the NPSL Playoffs, being represented by AFC Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids FC AFC Ann Arbor has won the conference the last two seasons.
Sailor, King and Vini Schwindt (Grand View) each led the team with four goals apiece. Cam Sipple (Western Michigan), who missed four matches due to numerous injuries, had six assists to lead in that catagory.
Sunday - End of Season Social
On Sunday, KzFC players and fans met for one final time this season for their end of year social at Shakespeare's Pub in downtown Kalamazoo. It was also the opportunity for the team to celebrate their season with awards. There were four awards - three from the coaching staff and Player of the Year awarded by season ticket holders and supporters.
Player of the Year went to KzFC captain Jordan Veillette (Kalamazoo College). He's been a member of the squad since the inaugural season in 2016. He earned four points from the center back position, with three goals.
Offensive Player of the Year was given to Sailor. His 13 points to lead KzFC included four goals (two points) and four assists.
Sipple would earn the Defensive Player of the Year from the coaches. Even with six assists on the season, he was a stalwart on the edges playing midfield for a better part of the season.
The Coaches Excellence award went to King, who showed his worth in his third season with the Teals. His role was more prominent this season at midfield, helping the club shift the field from defense to offense after missing just the first week of the season due to injury.