Kalamazoo FC hosted the Milwaukee Torrent for their final home game of the season on Saturday, July 15 at Mayors Riverfront Park. The game was played in honor of Tyler Smith, a teenager active in the Kalamazoo area soccer community who was fatally shot in the Kalamazoo mass shootings of 2016.
Milwaukee and Kalamazoo entered the match in fifth and seventh place in the Great Lakes Conference, respectively, but were separated by only two points.
Milwaukee got on the board after a foul by KZFC’s Hunter VandenBoom gave the Torrent a free kick on the left from a dangerous distance. Drew Ruggles’ outswinger found the head of Daniel Cisneros, who placed it upper left and put the Torrent up in the 13th minute.
Milwaukee threatened to double their lead, hitting the post in the 29th minute and blasting a rocket toward goal from close range that was courageously saved by KZFC keeper Hasten Biddlecome.
That appeared to be the score the teams would head to half time with, but in the dying seconds of extra time, Dumisani Manyange drove the corner and crossed the ball into a charging Jay McIntosh, who placed a diving header toward the corner. Milwaukee’s keeper got a finger on, but it snuck into the side netting, making the score level at half.
Things got interesting in the second half. Frustration started for the Torrent when Jay McIntosh flicked a header on to Dumisani Manyange, who touched the ball into the box and poked home Kalamazoo’s second goal to take the score to 2-1.
Shouting and chest bumping ensued, causing the head referee to yellow card McIntosh and two Milwaukee players. At that point, Milwaukee’s coach, Andreas Davi, became verbally aggressive to the referee and was ejected from the match.
The teams regained composure and Milwaukee had a string of shots, putting Kalamazoo on their back foot. Hasten Biddlecome, in his first conference start, make several saves and charged down action in the box to maintain the scoreline
With Milwaukee unable to answer, the chippiness returned and in the 80th minute, Andrew Wiedabach was shown a red, putting Milwaukee at ten men. They would go down another man in the 90th minute when Isaac Pereyra picked up his second yellow for an elbow to the face of Kalamazoo’s Mason Darling.
At the end of the game, Milwaukee had 20 fouls, seven yellow cards and two reds. Kalamzoo had 10 fouls and two yellow cards. The scoreline ended 2-1, and jumped Kalamazoo up above Milwaukee in the Conference standings.
Man of the Match went to Kalamazoo’s Hasten Biddlecome, who saved an impressive seven shots on goal, many at close range.