A busy weekend saw Grand Rapids FC in action on back-to-back nights, first playing FC Indiana away in Lafayette, Indiana, in a Friday night NPSL match-up before hosting Muskegon Risers at Houseman Field in a Michigan Milk Cup contest on Saturday.
On Friday night, Grand Rapids FC netted a pair of first half goals within four minutes of each other to jump out to a two-goal lead.
Forward Matt Whelan opened his GRFC account in the 28th minute, while winger Anthony Bowie received a pass from Kenroy Howell and found the back of the net in the 31st minute.
In the second half, defender Caleb Postlewait added a third in the 67th minute before defender Nick Groenewold wrapped up the scoring by converting a penalty kick in the 85th minute.
“I thought we played a good system and were in control most of the game,” said head coach Lewis Robinson. “To come away with a 4-0 scoreline was nice for us. It gives us a little bit of confidence on both ends of the field which was important and we kind of needed that after the Milwaukee game.”
“It was a good game for us because we came out with the three points and overall we did play well,” said Howell. “We started a little bit slow but we picked up the pace and pretty much deserved the win because we played for it.”
On Saturday, the Boys in Blue continued their dominating play against the Muskegon Risers despite seeing only two of the starting 11 carry over from the starters the night before.
In the 24th minute, a ball bounced out of the Muskegon box to midfielder Jack McCarren, but the ensuing shot was over the bar. In the 40th minute, a cross came in to forward Scott Doney who headed the ball on frame, but the keeper was up to the task to make the save.
Seconds later, GRFC found the breakthrough. Howell saw a nice look on goal from the center of the box, but his shot was saved. The rebound came right back to Howell, and heading the ball to the back post, found Jalen Rodriguez who slammed the ball into the back of the net for the 1-0 lead.
In the second half, Grand Rapids continued to press. A shot from Doney in the 50th slipped just over the bar, while a look from Howell was wide in the 55th.
In the 72nd minute, substitute Joe Broekhuizen received a cross from Bowie, but the shot was wide of goal. While the Boys in Blue could not find the insurance goal, the backline was able to keep the clean sheet intact as they closed out the 1-0 victory.
“In the first half, I thought we were off the pace a little bit, and despite having all new players, it looked like we played last night,” said Robinson. “Second half we picked that up, we were a little bit more in their face, our pressure was better.”
Robinson noted the depth of the team as a strength, with a number of two-match weekends on the team’s schedule.
“We’ve recruited that way. We know, playing these two game weekends, that’s what has hurt us in the last couple years,” said Robinson. “You have to almost have two teams. It’s hard, because everyone wants to play every minute. So far at least, it’s kept training really competitive, the intensity has been really high, and that’s important.”
The Boys in Blue return to action next weekend, hosting the Milwaukee Torrent on Sunday at 6:00 p.m.