July 15, 2012

Michigan Bucks to host Central Conference Playoffs

63' - Zack Steinberger nets the Bucks' 3rd goal
The Michigan Bucks concluded their season in style, breezing past 9-man River City Rovers 4:0 on Sunday. The Rovers are the only team all season to inflict a defeat on the Bucks, and the result of the match was essential for River City's playoff hopes.

The Bucks win means that they will host the Central Conference playoffs next weekend beginning with their first match against the Heartland Division’s number two seeded Real Colorado Foxes. The defending Central Conference champion Thunder Bay Chill will take on the winner of the River City / FC London match which takes place on the 17th.

The match began with a number of threatening chances from the Bucks. They opened the scoring in the 14th minute off a free kick on the flank of the box. Tommy Catalano put the ball in perfectly for Stew Givens, whose header was cleared off the line. The rebound of the clearance fell onto the head of defender Kevin Cope, who hit the ball home past the keeper. Ten minutes later the ref realized that she had lost her yellow card and was able to find it on the pitch.

River City was able to set up a free kick opportunity on the edge of the Bucks' box. The chance was well saved by Adam Grinwis, who then blasted a lofted ball down field to find Tommy Catalano on a counter-attacking run. River City's keeper Matt Soyka charged out to stop Catalano, who pulled the ball away at the last minute, drawing both a penalty kick and red card for the Rovers keeperStew Givens coolly converted from the spot in the 35th minute to make it 2:0.

At halftime, the Bucks organization honored central defensive midfielder Nate Boyden with the Paul R. Scicluna Memorial Trophy. The trophy is awarded every year to not just the best player on the field, but to the player who best exemplifies the Bucks organization itself. This year's winner was justly picked; despite this being his first year with the Bucks, he is a full time graduate student at the University of Michigan, as well as a volunteer assistant coach. Speaking a few words at half time to the crowd, he thanked the fans for their support and confirmed the team's desire to win a PDL National Championship

The second half showed a renewed fierceness from River City, with greater tenacity in their challenges in order to make up for being a man down. The aggression was a bit much, however, in the 59th minute, when River City's Peter May went in recklessly on Tommy Catalano in the open field. Team mate Stefan St. Louis took exception to the foul and initiated a pushing match with the player, before member of each team intervened. River city were then reduced yet another man down to 9, with the Bucks' St. Louis earning a yellow card for his reaction

The Bucks would maintain possession throughout much of the remaining half; River City only had 2 true chances in the final 45 minutes. In the 63rd minute, Zack Steinberger and Anthony Grant linked up in the Rovers box, with Steinberger able to slice home the Bucks' third goal. The Bucks would continue to threaten with close chances from the likes of Simon Omekanda, Seb Harris, Anthony Grant, and Nermin Crnkic.

The Bucks had a number of chances that only required a single touch to turn them into goals. Most of them came from a break down the right flank, followed by a low slotted pass across the box. While many of these were close but unsuccessful, Matt Bahner was able to find Nate Boyden's strong pass in the 87th minute to finish the match off at 4:0.

14' Goal Kevin Cope
33' Red Card Matt Soyka
35' Goal Stew Givens (PK)
59' Red Card Peter May, Yellow Card Stefan St. Louis
63' Goal Zack Steinberger (Anthony Grant)
87' Goal Matt Bahner (Nate Boyden)

Stefan St. Louis
Nermin Crnkic                   Zack Steinberger              Tommy Catalano
 Simon Omekanda                  Nate Boyden     
Nate Robinson              Kevin Cope                Seb Harris               Stew Givens
Adam Grinwis

No comments: