May 21, 2011
LOUISVILLE, KY -- The Michigan Bucks opened their sixteenth Premier Development League (PDL) season with a scoreless draw against the River City Rovers of Louisville, Kentucky on Saturday night. The Bucks offense fired nearly 20 shots at the Rovers goal but could not find the winner in a game delayed by more than an hour due to weather. The Bucks had several chances in both halves of the match and outshot Louisville 18-9 on the game. Offensively, Simon Omekanda (Rochester Hills) and Victor Costa (Oklahoma Baptist) created most of the chances but failed to put a ball past Rovers keeper Matthew Soyna. Luke Holmes (Akron) put extensive pressure on the home side for the first 65 minutes, before being sent off for retaliation foul. Although the Bucks played a man down for the last third of the game, they continued to create chances right up to the final whistle. Defensively the squad was solid and didn’t allow a shot on goal in the first half. Bucks goal keeper Mitch Hildebrandt (Livonia, MI/ Oakland) didn’t have much to do in the first half but came up big during the final half hour with the team pushing forward trying to get the game winner, while playing short handed. Hildebrandt made an outstanding point blank save in the 86thminute on what would have been the decider had he not deflected the chance over the cross bar.
Bucks coach Gary Parsons was not enthused with the result but found some positives in the team’s first game. “Given the weather conditions and playing down a man for a half hour, I will take the result. It is not what we expected, but we have been around long enough to know that the first game of the year always produces a learning curve. You hope you can still find a way to win, but if you don’t finish in soccer you don’t win. I liked a lot of what I saw from our defenders, especially playing a man down. Offensively, we have talent and I believe it will all come together. We know we need at least four points on this road trip (a win and a tie) so it makes Monday’s game at Cincinnati a game we have to find a way to win. “
The team doesn’t have much time to regroup, as they prepare for the Monday night showdown with the Kings (7:30 kick off). While the Bucks sit at 0-0-1 (1 point) in the Great Lakes Division standings, Cincinnati holds a record of 0-1-1 in its first two games. Following the Bucks game on Monday night, the team returns home for two games on Memorial Day weekend. The Indiana Invaders visit the Bucks at the Canton Cup Tournament on Saturday, May 28 (12:00 kick off) and the Chicago Fire Premier close out the 2011 US Open Cup qualifying with a Memorial Day game on Monday, May 30 at Ultimate Soccer Arenas (7:30 kickoff). Michigan will most likely have to win all three of their next three matches to secure a coveted spot in the US Open Cup tournament this June.