Grand Rapids FC played in its second tune-up for the 2017 season against Hope College on Saturday evening. After a tightly contested first half saw the Boys in Blue score to take a single goal advantage into halftime, GRFC added four in the second half to run away from the Flying Dutchmen and earn a 5-0 win.
Grand Rapids saw a number of opportunities in the opening half, but it wasn’t until just over the half-hour mark that it found the back of the net. Off a corner kick, the ball bounced out to captain Tony Deakin in the center of the box who hit it through a crowd of players and into the back of the net for the opening goal.
After half time, the Blues added a pair of goals in quick succession. Much like Deakin’s goal, Cam Cavanagh tallied the second off a corner kick in the 60th minute.
The corner kick came in low and quick to the near post where Mark Barone flicked it on to Cavanagh in the middle of the box, who proceeded to blast it past the Hope keeper for the two goal advantage.
Less than three minutes later, Tony Deakin made a run through the center of the pitch and into the Hope box. Although Deakin was then dispossessed by Hope’s defense, the ball fell at the foot of Alex Mendez who turned and slotted the ball into the back of the net.
Grand Rapids FC’s most impressive goal of the night came in the 74th minute off a free kick. Set up 30 yards out and at a wide angle, Mark Barone hit a low, curling ball that wrapped around the wall and slipped into the far post for the 4-0 lead.
The Boys in Blue added a fifth goal in the 88th minute as a pass from Jake Love set up Jalen Rodriguez who hit the ball into the bottom right corner of the net from the left side of the box for the final tally.
“We’re still putting the pieces together, coach Moni has done a great job assembling the squad. These games are mostly for fitness, but also for building relationships between the different players,” said assistant coach James Gilpin. “To get a clean sheet and also to score five goals is fantastic and a good start to the season. Going forward, we’re still working on that rhythm and every game we want to build on it and make it quicker and more dynamic and next week will be exactly the same.”
Grand Rapids FC now looks forward to one final scrimmage against a local college in Cornerstone University next Saturday. Opening whistle is set for 7 p.m. at Pat Patterson Field.