Grand Rapids FC battled Kalamazoo FC to a 1-1 draw on Friday evening at the Midwest United FC Soccer Complex. For the second match in a row, a few scoring opportunities were left on the table as the Boys in Blue again shared the points at home.
It was nearly a quick start to the match for the visitors as Kalamazoo was able to work into the GRFC box and put a shot on frame within the first minute, but GRFC goalkeeper Joe White made the save for the Boys in Blue.
In the 13th minute, Grand Rapids FC had its first legitimate chance on goal. Eric Conerty controlled the ball through the middle of the park and laid the ball off for Austin Sweich who came up from his wing back position – Sweich’s ensuing shot was directly at the Kalamazoo keeper, however.
Both teams continued to keep up the pressure, and with ten minutes remaining, Grand Rapids began to find its groove. In the 36th minute, Jack McCarren found Odei Arrieta wide left who put a shot on frame that was saved.
In the 39th minute, a shot from Matty Cornish was parried wide by the Kalamazoo FC keeper.
Grand Rapids FC continued to apply pressure, and in the 42nd minute, was able to find the breakthrough. A precise switch of field from Austin Sweich on the right to Matty Cornish on the left provided some space for the winger. Taking his space, Cornish unleashed a low driving shot from the left side of the box that slipped past the Kalamazoo keeper into the bottom right corner of the net to give the Boys in Blue the 1-0 lead.
After the halftime break, GRFC continued to push.
In the 50th minute, forward Milos Christoforou worked a 2-on-1 breakaway with Matty Cornish to provide two looks on frame for the GRFC goalscorer, but both were blocked.
Five minutes later, centerback Daniel Nimick made a surprising run through the midfield to set up Christoforou with an open look from the top of the box, but the resulting shot was just wide of frame as the score remained 1-0 in GRFC’s favor.
In the 70th minute, Kalamazoo FC found its breakthrough as a penalty kick was awarded to the visiting side. Daniel Wright stepped up to the spot and buried the kick, bringing the match level with 20 minutes to go.
In the remaining time, neither side was able to find a goal to separate the sides as the match ended in a 1-1 draw.
“It was definitely a battle. They were strong, physical, organized,” said head coach Stu Collins. “We created three quality goal scoring chances in each half. If we had scored four tonight it wouldn’t have flattered us, but we just weren’t clinical enough.”
“We haven’t scored too many goals up to now so it was good for the team to get off the mark,” said Matty Cornish, who was named Man of the Match. “We need to put the chances away if we’re going to win games. We’re going to get better, we’re going to improve. If we took the chances early in the second half we could have won easily in the end.”
Grand Rapids FC has two home matches next weekend to continue that improvement – Friday evening as it hosts Kings Hammer FC, with kickoff scheduled for 7:30 pm, and Monday evening as it hosts South Bend Lions FC for a Memorial Day clash, with kickoff scheduled for 6:00 pm.