June 4, 2011
WALLED LAKE–– After the Michigan Bucks’ performance against the River City Rovers on Friday night, the team’s goalless draw against the Rovers at the start of the season is a distant memory. The Bucks scored five goals and pummeled the Rovers with 17 shots in the first half alone in a 5-0 shutout win before a vibrant crowd at Walled Lake Central High School.
Friday night’s goal production was shared among several of the quality attackers, led by Stefan St. Louis (Trinidad) and Luke Holmes (Oldham, England/ Akron). But it was Bucks co-captain Stew Givens (Troy, MI) who lit up the scoreboard first off a diving header from close range finishing a Kenny Uzoigwe cross into the box in the 17th minute.
“The game is about finishing your chances and we had those chances in the first half of the game in Louisville, but we didn’t put any in. Once you don’t put your chances in, the game gets tougher and tougher as you go,” head coach Gary Parsons said. “Tonight, we unlocked the gate early and got the goals. Then the game became easy for us.”
Just two minutes later, Michigan doubled its lead on the goal of the game from Luke Holmes. Holmes, after receiving a pass from defender Adam Shaw (Lone Tree, CO/ Michigan), weaved his way through three River City defenders and scored on a shot from just inside the box. Holmes also had two assists, both coming later in the match.
“The most important thing was that we got early goals and then we could afford to sit back. We got five goals, but we didn’t have to keep going forward and going forward [later in the game],” midfielder Luke Holmes said.
The Bucks continued to pressure the Rovers’ defense with tight passes and fluid ball movement. In the 36th minute, midfielder Tommy Catalano (Macomb, MI/ Oakland) found forward St. Louis right in front of the net for the Bucks’ third goal of the game.
“It’s always good to have quality players on your team. Luke and Tommy’s support from the mid field make it easier for the forwards to finish,” St. Louis said. “The opportunities came mainly because the midfielders and forwards were all pressuring the defense and forcing them into making mistakes and making our opportunities count.”
Catalano would add a goal for the third consecutive game, tying him for the team lead in scoring (3 goals/ 1 assist for 7 points) with Uzoigwe (2 goals/ 3 assists). St. Louis would round out the team’s scoring with his second of the night just before halftime.
Friday’s victory closes out a home stand in which Michigan won all three games, scored eleven goals and allowed zero. Following a Chicago Fire draw against Hamilton FC on Friday, the Bucks now move into first place in the Premier Development League’s Great Lakes Division.
Goal keeper Mitch Hildebrandt (Livonia, MI/Oakland) wasn’t busy but did make two key saves in the first half to secure his third win of the season and recording his fourth shutout in the team’s first five matches. “Tonight the boys made things much easier for me than the first time we played this team,” said a relaxed Hildebrandt referring to the 0-0 tie on opening night when he was called on to make two game saving stops in the final minutes in Louisville. “Having this much fire power up top is any goal keeper’s dream. But the back line did a nice job of staying organized for the entire 90 minutes.” The Bucks solid defense held the Rovers to zero shots on goal in the second half.
The team will hit the road for a two game road trip to Canada next weekend, squaring off first against FC London on Friday, June 10 before heading up the road to Toronto for a game on Sunday, June 12. The Bucks next home game will be on Saturday, June 18 at Borden Park in Rochester against the Hamilton Rage as part of the Rochester Soccer Club annual tryouts. Kickoff is 5:00 and tickets are available on the Bucks web site.
For all information about the Michigan Bucks and the United Soccer Leagues (USL), please visit us online at www.buckssoccer.com.