GRFC Defeats Muskegon to go to 2-0
A single goal in the opening ten minutes for Grand Rapids FC proved to be the difference in a cold, Saturday evening match-up against the visiting Muskegon Risers. Despite the slim 1-0 scoreline, the game was thoroughly controlled by the Boys in Blue.
From the opening whistle, GRFC found itself dictating the pace of the match. Winger Tyler Fischer and forward Joe Broekhuizen each had early opportunities to put the hosts ahead, but it wasn’t until the 8th minute that Grand Rapids found the opening tally.
Right back Peter Brown began the scoring sequence from midfield with a nice run down the right wing, crossing the ball into the box to Fischer. Knocking the ball down into the middle of the box, Fischer found midfielder Greg Timmer who slammed the ball into the back of the net for the 1-0 lead.
“I think we came out in the first 15 minutes and we dominated,” said Timmer, who was named the Man of the Match. “We took over the first 15 and that’s when we got our goal.”
“It was a great start,” added associate head coach Lewis Robinson. “We talked about grabbing all the game and dictating the tempo, especially in the first 10 or 20 minutes. We did it really well, created a couple of great chances and scored a great goal, so it was a very good start and we were happy with that.”
With the lead, GRFC began to settle in defensively. Muskegon had its best chance of the first half in the 40th minute, forcing Grand Rapids keeper Dary DeWalt off his line to make a tackle just outside the box. DeWalt picked up a yellow card in the process, also giving the Risers a free kick. The ensuing kick was placed just over the bar, however, and GRFC took the single goal lead into the halftime break.
“After our goal, we left off the boiler a little bit,” said Robinson. “We got stuck and frustrated I thought, we didn’t quite have the quality to get the second or third goal, and that made it frustrating. We learned a lot getting ready for next week.”
At the beginning of the second half, another opportunity arose for the Risers. A defensive error resulted in a one-on-one for a Muskegon forward with DeWalt, but the resulting shot was miss hit and easily corralled by the GRFC keeper.
Minutes later, the Boys in Blue nearly doubled their lead on two occasions. Broekhuizen had a turning shot from the center of the box that bounced off the post. The rebound was then controlled by winger Hunter Barone, and a shot off his foot slipped just over the bar.
After a frantic opening to the half, the teams again settled in. Using strong defense over the remaining half-hour of play, GRFC held off Muskegon to claim the 1-0 win.
“We’re still learning about ourselves, we’re still figuring things out, and hopefully to be as good as we possibly can for Friday,” said Robinson. “We’re very happy we get a win, very happy we get a clean sheet and shutout again, which is important two weeks in a row – it gives us a lot of confidence going into next weekend.”
Grand Rapids will make its NPSL debut on Friday, May 20 against Michigan Stars in Pontiac. The team then has a quick turnaround as it hosts Oakland County FC on Sunday, testing the GRFC team fitness and the depth of its roster.
“(The game against Michigan Stars) will be our debut, so that will be fun,” said Timmer. “I know we lost to Muskegon last year so we had something to prove today, but at the end of the day we’re still 0-0 (in the NPSL) and we’re looking forward to that opening game. ”
“The team’s been preparing (for Friday) since last year when Matt started this up,” said Brown. “I think the team is well prepared under George and all the coaches, they’ve been working us hard. The coaches do a great job preparing us for the games.”
Friday night’s contest at Wisner Stadium in Pontiac is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. First kick for the Sunday match at Houseman Field is set for 5:00 p.m.