AFC Ann Arbor scored three goals in the second half to defeat Oakland United FC by a score of 4-0 in a Great Lakes Premier League match Friday evening at Hollway Field in Ann Arbor, the first in league play for both teams.
AFC Ann Arbor (2-1, 1-0 GLPL) dominated possession throughout the game, and defended well against the counter-attack when Oakland United FC (0-1, 0-1 GLPL) were able to press forward. But Oakland United FC weren’t able to convert their chances into goals the way that AFC Ann Arbor did.
The complete roster for AFC Ann Arbor was available for the match-up and it proved to pay dividends for the team led by soccer coaching journeyman David Hebestreit. Amongst the late additions to the team was forward Ade Adeniyi, whose two goals on the evening sparked the offense for AFC Ann Arbor.
“It was great, the fans were great, and they pushed me on even though I was struggling there towards the end, but I love playing for Hebestreit,” Adeniyi said, “He gives me the confidence to play my game, it’s amazing to see what he’s done here.”
And Hebestreit recognized the strong play of Adeniyi, whose impact affected the team in a positive way.
“The guy is going to be a professional player someday,” Hebestreit said, “His impact is physical, speed, strength and attacking from the knowledge of the game.”
Hebestreit’s team put the pressure on Oakland United FC from the start of the match, and with a couple good chances and scoring opportunities were earned by AFCAA. OUFC were thwarted on their sole attack within the first 15 minutes by AFCAA goalkeeper Thomas Tomasso, who tipped a well-placed shot over the cross-bar.
AFCAA continued to apply pressure to OUFC’s midfield and defense when in the 19th minute defensemen Kyle Breitmeyer made a run to the outside and had an opportunity to put the ball on net, but missed wide.
“The Boys in Blue”, as fans call players on the team, had a couple of chances from crossing the ball into the goal box, but one shot went wide and the other was pushed away by OUFC goalkeeper Jimmy Hague.
Another corner-kick opportunity came for AFCAA in the 24th minute, but was defended until midfielder Jay McIntosh gained possession of the ball and fired a shot that went wide.
In the 31st minute AFCAA got on the board with their first goal of the night off the boot of forward Ade Adeniyi. After a pass came over the top from midfielder Tristan Jacob, Adeniyi chipped the ball into the back of the net to put AFCAA in the lead.
“It was an unbelievably well timed run by Ade [Adeniyi], and a great ball over the top from Tristan,” coach Hebestreit said, “Those two have never played with each other before, and the timing of that was superb.”
Minutes later, defensemen Kyle Breitmeyer tried again with a long run for a chance on net but the shot was pushed away once more by OUFC’s Hague.
Just before the half, AFCAA goalkeeper Thomas Tomasso showed his tenacity when he came up with a save on a one-on-one chance for OUFC’s Tyler Channel.
At halftime AFC Ann Arbor led Oakland United FC by a score of 1-0 thanks to the goal by Adeniyi.
It didn’t take long after halftime for AFCAA to get on the board with their second goal of the night, when Adeniyi scored his second goal of the night.
Four minutes after halftime a cross by defenseman Luke Palmateer found the feet of Adeniyi and he put it in the back of the net with ease.
AFC Ann Arbor dominated possession, shots on goal and saves in the second half and it seemed like they were getting chances on goal every time a player brought the ball into the attacking third.
“We changed our formation, and what it allowed us to do was to control the midfield,” Hebestreit said regarding possession, “so we made a switch in the midfield that allowed us to do what we wanted to do.”
AFCAA’s third goal of the game came in the 81st minute when Kyle Breitmeyer found a way to solve OUFC’s goalkeeper who had continuously turned his shots aside throughout the evening.
The pass came from midfielder Michael Kapitula from the left side of the goal, Breitmeyer was rushing toward the right post and when the ball came he beat Hague to the short side, putting his team up 3-0 with minutes to play.
Veteran goalkeeper Thomas Tomasso kept his shut-out in tact when he came up with a decisive one-on-one save that was awe-inspiring and clamored chants of “We love T.J.”, which is the goalkeeper’s nickname.
Just when the Ann Arbor crowd, and the team’s faithful thought the game was over, defenseman Lars Eckenrode scored a free header that seemed to come out of nowhere and put a 4-0 lead over on Oakland United FC to close out the game.
“It’s a beautiful night, every player got in the game and every player played well for a complete effort. It’s nice to be even on the top of the table,” Hebestreit said of the final outcome.
Follow Robert Sherman on Twitter: @r__sherman