By Michigan Stars FC
Michigan Stars FC defeated a solid Napa Valley 1839 FC team, 2-0, on Thursday evening in
NPSL Members Cup play.
Michigan Stars defender Eimil Hennes had a solid opportunity to crack the scoreboard in the first
three minutes of the game. The Napa Valley goalkeeper could only watch the ball bounce into
the back of the goal as the header was nicely placed in the far corner. This was Hennes’ first
goal in the Members Cup. He was able to work himself into the starting lineup on Thursday for
the first time in this competition due to the absence of starter Joseph Aidoo.
Hennes has now made his case and the Michigan Stars technical staff have their hands full as it
will be a tough decision to choose a starting lineup in the upcoming games. The pressure caused
by the early header set the tone for the game as the Stars controlled the action from that point on,
with Steven Juncaj, Dantae Greer, Michael Mayberry, and Victor Rolph all prepping for a goal
Juncaj would then put the red, white, and blue on the scoreboard in the 57th minute with his
second goal of the Members Cup. Juncaj, who had already been selected to the NPSL’s Team
of the Month for August, had a solid performance and nearly had his second goal minutes later.
The Stars went into the half leading 1-0 and having an advantage with shots on goal.
Michigan Stars continued to press the action in the second half with more shots on frame in the
first 20 minutes of the period, allowing more Stars players to get involved in the game. The
Stars would miss on multiple occasions, such as in the 61 st minute as Greer had a strong chance
to score a third goal for the Stars. He took a left-footed shot, but missed the net.
Napa Valley fought hard to keep themselves in the game. But the Stars midfield was
untouchable in this game, perhaps one of the best games that the midfield core played together.
Stars goalkeeper Tatenda Mkuruva had another solid performance. The Stars can always count
on him to show up every game; it is not surprising that he was chosen captain of this young
Michigan Stars team. Mkuruva made a couple of saves during the second half to pick up the
win, while Juncaj would continue to run in behind to cause trouble for Napa Valley.
The Stars (1-3-1) return to action on Saturday as they host the Milwaukee Torrent. Kickoff is set
for 7:00 pm from Ultimate Soccer Arenas in Pontiac, Michigan.
Photo Credit: Mariusz Nowak