The Grand Rapids FC women’s team played their inaugural match at Grandville High School on Saturday evening. Propelled by a brace from Anna Stinson, Grand Rapids FC defeated Michigan Legends 3-1 in front of 532 fans.
The game began with a flurry, with a few chances for GRFC in front of goal in the opening minutes, including a shot from Annie Steinlage that was saved.
Grand Rapids continued to dictate the tempo, and in the 16th minute, finally broke through. Steinlage sent a long diagonal ball to the right side for winger Anna Stinson. Using her pace, Stinson beat the defender to the pass and hit a low ball from the top of the box into the bottom left corner of the goal for the team’s first ever competitive goal.
“We should have scored two goals in the first minute, we were maybe a little bit nervous, they were chances that we missed. Then I thought we settled in the game really well and dominated and played some good soccer,” said head coach Lewis Robinson. “Then Anna did what we needed her to, which was drive at them a little bit more, be a bit more direct, she used her pace and had a fantastic finish across the goal.”
Stinson added a second in the 42nd minute as a shot from Marti Corby bounced off the crossbar and landed at Stinson’s feet, who buried the rebound for a 2-0 lead.
“The first one was a great ball in and I was able to get on the end of it and find a finish,” said Stinson. “Second one, I told Marti after the game it should have been her goal, I just got lucky and was there and was able to put it away.”
After halftime, Michigan Legends cut the deficit to one with a goal in the 49th minute.
Grand Rapids restored its lead to two in the 71st minute when the fullbacks connected on a beautiful play. Left back Sadie Misiewicz played a ball in over the defense to right back Clare Carlson who had made a perfectly timed run to beat an offsides trap. One-on-one with the keeper, Carlson kept her composure and beat the goalie for the 3-1 lead.
GRFC continued to hold possession for the majority of the remaining time to claim the win in its first competitive match in the United Women’s Soccer Midwest conference.
“It was a little tough coming into it, we really had no idea how we were going to play together and how we were going to be,” said Stinson. “I think after a few minutes of the game we came together and realized how each other played and kind of figured out a rhythm within the team.”
“It’s difficult because you don’t know what to expect because it is day one and game one, but we looked really good and we knew we had a lot of talent on our roster,” added Robinson. “We knew we wanted to outwork them and our talent would show through and it did. We were happy with the way we started and to come away with a win is the important thing in our first game.
Grand Rapids now looks ahead to four straight matches on the road. Next Saturday, GRFC will head to Pontiac for a match against Detroit Sun FC. The next home match is June 16 against FC Indiana.