Pontiac, MI (June 24, 2016)- The Michigan Bucks returned home to Ultimate Soccer Arenas on Thursday night and rediscovered their potent offense in a 6-0 win over Toronto FC U23. The victory kept the Bucks (6-2-0, 18 points) in second place, four points ahead of Derby City and seven points behind KW United, but the Bucks have two games in hand on KW. The Bucks hit the road on Tuesday back to Derby City and then Friday to KW United in their toughest road stretch of the season.
Thursday night’s match with Toronto FC was dominated by the Bucks from the opening whistle, as the team looked to build some offensive confidence and created three corner kicks in the first six minutes, but could not get a solid shot on goal. Goals have been hard to come by for Michigan as of late and after nearly an entire half of dominant first half possession without scoring, the flood gates opened right before the half time whistle.
In the 42nd minute, Bucks goal keeper Drew Shepherd (Ann Arbor, MI/ Western Michigan) launched a sixty yard punt to forward Ben Fitzpatrick, who took a nice touch to bring the ball down and then blew by his defender and ripped a shot from 16 yards out that left Toronto goal keeper Darren MacLeod no chance and the Bucks had the first goal of the game.
Bucks leading scorer Andre Landell (England/ Tiffin) kept the attack going by scoring a natural hat trick that included goals on either side of halftime. In the 44th minute Landell took a thru ball from Tom Owens (England) and used his speed to get past the back line and finished his chance to make it 2-0. Just a minute later, Marco Charalambous (Cyprus/ Butler) found Landell and the English forward made it two for two on his chances and the Bucks quickly took a 3-0 lead into halftime.
The second half started the same way the first half ended when Russell Cicerone (Bloomfield, MI/ Buffalo) cruised down the left flank from the opening kick and found Landell sitting in the box, where he finished his third goal on his third shot of the game, all coming in a four minute span. Landell leads the Bucks with seven goals this season.
In the 57th minute, Owens launched a corner kick to the back post and found defender Alexi Souahy (France/ Bowling Green), who one timed his shot to make it 5-0 for the Bucks. Cicerone closed out the scoring with the game’s best finish, when he made a solo run through three Toronto defenders before smacking home his fourth goal on the campaign and a 6-0 final score line.
Bucks Director of Coaching Gary Parsons quickly has his side focused on the week ahead, beginning with the game in Louisville on Tuesday night. “We gave away points when we played there last week in a game we should have won, so this time we are going to try and get the job done right. Three points against Derby would put some breathing room between us and them for the final playoff spot and would really add some urgency to Friday’s rematch with KW. If we can clean up the mistakes we made on defense and finish a few chances in Louisville like we did against Toronto, I like our chances to keep on track. All of our guys know how difficult this next week will be and I think we are ready for the challenge.”
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