By: Bryan Giese
Torrent Draw Even In Ann Arbor
The Mighty Oak of Ann Arbor have scored at least one goal in every match this year except one. Their one scoreless outing was a draw against Kalamazoo back on May 25. Every time Ann Arbor has scored this year it resulted in three points in the standings. That is until the Torrent came to town.
Friday night would be tactically challenging for both teams. Most of the match would be battled out in the midfield. The first half possession was primarily controlled by the Mighty Oak, but the Torrent would limit any quality chances Ann Arbor would generate.
“We played with a lot of discipline,” expressed Head Coach Andy Davi after the match. “Fought for every ball and really moved well; we were able to stay organized and communicated across all lines, regardless of if it was our back four or in the midfield.”
After a scoreless first half, the Torrent were able to find their legs and their speed to turn the pressure around. Milwaukee found ways to get two defenders to the ball, find ways to gain control and transition up the field. The Torrent created more chances in the second half due to their ability to attack the ball defensively.
Defense Shuts Down Ann Arbor
This season the Torrent have built one of the strongest backlines in the Great Lakes Conference. Paris Martins and Till Lammertz have been gaining confidence in their right and left back positions all season. Against Ann Arbor on Friday evening they would face one of their toughest opponents, and come out on top. The only true chances Ann Arbor would have all night would come off set pieces and not up the wings.
The backline Friday would be built around Sam Biek and Elvis Barclay. Biek made his return after missing the match last weekend against Indiana. Barclay returned to the form the staff has grown to expect after suffering a lower body injury in a home loss to Grand Rapids.
Milwaukee’s backline, combined with the central midfield combination of Drew Ruggles and Tony Patterson held the Mighty Oak offense off the score sheet until late in the second half. In the 85’ Ann Arbor was awarded a free kick from just outside the box. A strong right foot that found its way over the wall and into the bottom left corner gave Ann Arbor a late one goal lead.
Ann Arbor looked to close out the match and give Milwaukee a long ride home, but the Torrent had a different idea. Often times, late in matches it is unusual to see the trailing team make a substitution. The Torrent did just that when they brought on forward Alex Stojanovski, and were rewarded for the substitution.
In stoppage time, Torrent midfielder Marco Perez played a ball over the top into the final third. Isaac Pereyra would take the long cross from the left side and move it off his right foot to a wide open Stojanovski . From inside the 6, Stojanovski would tip in the equalizer, seconds after coming on.
“I am so happy for my teammates and coaches,” stated Stojanovski. “We deserved at a minimum to get a tie in this game. That (the goal) was for them for the long traveling and hard work today.”
Stojanovski was asked if he had ever scored a goal that fast after coming on in a match. He responded, “That’s a good question. No, I have never done that before.”
His timing could not have come at a better time. With Detroit City scoring late in their match with Columbus to draw even, and Grand Rapids FC shutting out Indiana, the Torrent could ill afford to come home empty handed. Milwaukee will now set their sights on their first showdown with Detroit City next Friday at Hart Park.