Written by Robert Kerr, Staff Writer
THRILLER. Oakland County FC came away with a draw at home under the Thursday night lights against Carpathia FC by a final score of 1-1. County defender Nick Metcalfe nodded home a last gasp equalizer to give Oakland a deserved point. Metcalfe’s game tying goal felt like a winner, as it looked like County were going to be stripped of their undefeated status. The purple gang played a tremendous game, in which they created plenty of chances and could very well have earned the win. As a result, County remain undefeated on the year and have earned seven points out of a possible nine in league action.
OCFC had to stave off some intense pressure in the opening quarter hour of the midweek matchup. County goalkeeper Tim Dolan was kept busy, and made a fine diving save to thwart Carpathia’s Dave Edwardson in the 14th minute. The flow of play turned in County’s favor, when last weeks hat-trick hero Mike Melaragni was put tthrough on goal moments later. The towering striker latched onto a perfectly weighted pass at the top of the box, Melaragni’s lofted shot seemed to soar through the air for an eternity, before it bounced back off of the far goalpost. This near miss seemed to pump up the County players, who went on to control large portions of the first half’s play.
The defining moment of the first half came on the defensive end for OCFC, however. The visitors swift counter-attack came barreling toward Tim Dolan’s net, shortly before the halftime break. It looked as though the opposition were sure to tap the ball into an open goal when County defender Alvaro Alaman made a truly remarkable defensive play to keep the game scoreless. “It was a difficult ball to defend, if I touched the ball it could have been as own goal,” said the Madrid native. “I decided to risk it, and let the ball pass me and block the shot. I put pressure on the striker, and between the post and I, we were able to block the shot.” As a result, the often pulsating action of the first half ended with no goals scored.
The second half began in surprisingly sloppy fashion, with each side sitting back without having much control of the game. There were many long range shots in the early moments, with few troubling either goalkeeper. County midfielder Bobby Harris then grew in strength and influence as the game progressed. The Rochester native became the go-to creator, as he began beating Carpathia defenders regularly, and was providing great service into the box. The purple gang’s flow was stymied, however, when substitute Alexander Serwatka managed to bypass the County defense and open the scoring in the 72nd minute.
The OCFC players reacted together, as a team, to get back into the game. There was an obvious new energy on the field, and County looked determined to get something from the game. They could have hung their heads as multiple chances narrowly missed hitting the back of the visitors net. It wasn’t until the last possible moment that the team reaped the benefits of their hard work. Following an OCFC corner in the 90th minute, midfielder Cam Panley served up a perfect second cross for the towering Nick Metcalfe to head in. Clawson Stadium erupted with a relieved jubilation as the Royal Oak native celebrated with his teammates. The late goal earned OCFC a tie, that felt like a win, to keep the team undefeated in 2019.
— Oakland County FC (@OaklandCountyFC) May 31, 2019
Keep the Games Coming
Oakland County FC must now recover quickly and get good rest on Friday, as they return to action Saturday night. County will make the short trip west, to Novi, MI, to play the Michigan Jaguars at Detroit Catholic Central Stadium. The first year UPSL club sit on four points, after playing four games.
“It definitely feels good to get a point out of this game. We would have liked a win but getting a late equalizer goal it’s a great feeling.”
“It was physical game and they were a physical team, but we just wanted to keep the ball and keep playing. We kept playing our style of game and we did well with it.”
Assistant Coach Craig DeJong
“The boys played tough, we told them after the game that the thing we are the most proud of is that they don’t quit. They played the right way, played hard, along with sticking to the game plan.”