Kalamazoo FC played host to Grand Rapids FC in the two teams’ first meeting of the year Sunday night at Mayors Riverfront Park in Kalamazoo.
The first half saw opportunities from both clubs, though it was GRFC that got on the score sheet, when Lito Esquivel blasted a perfectly placed free kick off the bottom of the crossbar and in from just outside the 18 in the 29th minute. Fifteen minutes later, Grand Rapids won another free kick from almost exactly the same spot. Esquivel took this one as well, this time pinging it off the inside of the side post and in for the second goal of the half. It stayed 2-0 heading into half time.
Kalamazoo FC made a few substitutions at half and the tide seemed to change. The home team went on the attack, firing 13 shots in the second half, many from point blank range, that either went just wide or were thwarted by the GRFC goalkeeper.
Grand Rapids FC held on, and took all three points from the 2-0 victory. Kalamazoo FC dropped to fourth place with a record of 2-3-1 as GRFC leapfrogged them to take third with a record of 2-1-2.
Kalamazoo FC head coach Lumumba Shabazz was away for this game, so assistant coach Tom Cole took the helm. In interviews after the game, Cole expressed frustration about the team’s inability to put the final touch on the ball given so many great opportunities in the second half.
“The chances were there,” said Cole. “Especially in the second half, but we needed to be able to find the net.”
Next up for Kalamazoo FC is a visit from the second place Michigan Stars on Saturday, June 11. Grand Rapids will play Detroit FC the day before.