By Justin Guy/Toledo Villa FC
Toledo Villa FC opened their 2019 NPSL campaign away in Grand Rapids, MI versus Grand Rapids FC.
With Toledo Villa FC being new to the NPSL, the game started at a slow pace as both teams tried to figure out one another’s playing style. Toledo Villa looked to possess the ball early as Grand Rapids FC seemed content with letting them pass the ball around and keep possession.
“We came into our first game with the plan to possess the ball until we could feel out how Grand Rapids was going to defend,” said Toledo Villa FC head coach Colin Armstrong. “I think we did well to not play dangerous or unnecessary balls early in the game which allowed us to get into the flow of the game.”
An early turnover led to a corner kick for GRFC in the third minute but were unable to capitalize on the first opportunity of the game.
Toledo Villa FC created their own scoring opportunity in the 10th minute when Gui Albuquerque flanked down the left side and drove the ball across the box but was unable to connect with anyone.
The game continued to go back and forth through the middle of the pitch with the occasional through ball that didn’t find its target with neither team really coming up with a great opportunity to break the tie until the 40th minute. During the 40th minute, GRFC had a throw-in given to them deep into Villa territory, a long throw by Grand Rapids into the box where Aerin West of TVFC was called for a foul.
Matthew Wehelan of GRFC slotted the penalty kick home to give Grand Rapids the 1-0 lead.
“We played the first half well, did not get as many scoring opportunities as we had hoped but besides an unfortunate penalty to end the first half, I felt as though defensively we were solid,” said Toledo Villa FC assistant coach Conor Riehle.
Toledo Villa’s first opportunity of the second half came on a free kick from 30 yards away when Craig Brand of TVFC played a ball to the far post where Sam Conti was able to put the ball back across the middle of the box to West’s head, who unfortunately couldn’t find the back of the net.
Things stayed relatively even the second half until Caleb Postlewait of GRFC was subbed on in the 56th minute and not three minutes later netted the second goal of the night for Grand Rapids.
The game got a bit more chippy after the second goal as both teams ended up picking up a yellow card, one for Jacob VanderLaan of GRFC in the 72nd minute and one for Austin Combs of TVFC in the 90th minute.
The score would stay at 2-0 as Toledo Villa FC started their season off with a loss.
“We had a really good foundation but need to progress a bit more going forward,” Armstrong concluded. “I am happy with the play that was put forth tonight and looking forward to our next opportunity.”
Toledo Villa FC will next host FC Indiana at Lyden Field of St. Johns H.S. next Saturday, May 25 at 1:00 pm.
Photo Credit: John Rothwell