The Flint City Bucks played their first match in the 2019 Milk Cup sponsored by the United Dairy Industry of Michigan and defeated Michigan Stars FC (NPSL) 1-0 thanks to a late game goal orchestrated by a pair of Oakland University Golden Grizzlies.
In the 86th minute, left back Elliott Bentley (England) smacked home a left footed volley off of a spectacular 35-yard cross from college teammate Dylan Borczak (Detroit) for the game’s only goal.
The Bucks dominated the game from start to finish and possessed the ball for most of the game but did not bring urgency to the match until the beginning of the second half. The Bucks defense was solid as the team did not allow a shot on goal in the first half of the match.
The second half was all Bucks again, continued possession of the ball with increased emphasis on the attack. Stars keeper Tatenda Mkuruva was busy both halves, but was forced to make several great saves from close range and from distance to keep the Bucks off the scoreboard until the 86th minute. Andrew Pannenberg (Charlotte, NC/ Wake Forest) minded the net for the Bucks and made his only save of the night in the 65th minute.
The Bucks will learn their semi final match opponent (and who will host) at a draw held by the Milk Cup committee the first week of June. The date for the second-round match is slated for Monday, June 17th.
Saturday’s match brings an end to a busy eight days of FCB’s preseason, as the team played three games against NPSL teams, and came away with identical 1-0 wins in all three matches. Bucks’ Head Coach, Demir Muftari was pleased with the results but is ready to get back to work on Monday: “We learned a lot about certain players over these three games and we understand that qualify players do need a bit of time to play together to get in total sync. We have to get more aggressive from the opening whistle. We open the USL League 2 season at Cincinnati on Wednesday and the players will quickly understand that the teams they are about to face are all as talented as we are. There are no easy league games, especially on the road. In this league you can’t afford ties or losses. You need wins to qualify for the playoffs, so we need to get everyone to understand the urgency from the first minute of each game.”
Following the Bucks League Two opener against the Cincinnati Dutch Lions, the team returns home to Kettering University’s Atwood Stadium to host the West Virginia Alliance FC on Saturday, May 18 with a 7 PM kick off. Early weather predictions are calling for 75 degrees and sunny, a far different experience than the FCB faithful witnessed Saturday when temperatures dropped into the low 40’s accompanied by spells of wind and rain.
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