Michigan Stars FC walked away from the night gaining a point in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) Great Lakes West Conference, but also allowed conference leaders AFC Ann Arbor to also go home with another point in 1-1 tie. The Stars’ lone goal came from defensive midfielder Jon Rubio, who is originally from Valencia, Spain. This was the first goal for Rubio. He played a crucial role in helping to not only take the ball away throughout the night, but in finding the back of the net to secure a point.
Coach Andy Wagstaff’s Stars team came out with a lot of pressure in the beginning of the game, but could not find the net again throughout the game.
“Overall, really proud of the lads to be honest with ya,” stated Wagstaff. “First off, that was a really good game, it was really entertaining. First half I thought we were excellent for 30 minutes and I think we let them off the hook. They are the strongest team in the league right now and have 17 points at the top of the league and I don’t think you can wake a sleeping giant without putting them away. I thought we had three or four good chances in the first half and valued for a lead in the first half. Second half, credit to Coach Rudland and his team, they came out and created some problems. I still felt we were dangerous on the counter and a couple of decisions from the referees that had they gone in our favor, then the game might have been three points our way.”
In the second half, Adi Kavara with the Stars had a great chance on goal but hit the crossbar and despite the continued pressure on the Mighty Oak all night, Rubio’s goal would stand alone.
“Jon scored a fantastic goal and is Man of the Match today, really proud of him,” explained Wagstaff. “Coming from NY Cosmos and originally from Spain and I am really proud of him getting his first goal and just wish it had led to three points.”
“I am very happy to score my first goal here, and the team is very good and I think we deserved to win today,” Rubio added.
Michigan Stars FC have three games left in the schedule with the next one being this Friday at home against Kalamazoo, a team they lost to earlier this season.
Wagstaff said that “hopefully the boys are fired up enough after tonight’s draw, which feels like a loss, and we will train hard this week and get after it, we still have nine points up for grabs.”
After tonight’s matchup, AFC Ann Arbor still lead with 18 points. Grand Rapids now have 15 points and second place. The Stars move into third place with 13 points, which is just a point ahead of Detroit City FC. First place may end up being out of reach for the Stars, but second place and a possible playoff berth is certainly up for grabs.