Round 1: Ann Arbor FC (3-4) Livonia City FC

Ann Arbor FC (Mich.) vs. Livonia City FC (Mich.)

In a perfectly entertaining edition to the U.S. Open Cup’s qualifying rounds, Livonia City FC of the Michigan Premier Soccer League (MPSL) visited Ann Arbor FC, soon to be members of the UPSL.

The first half came with an endless stream of entertainment, with McKenzie Bechard and Billy Werthman giving Livonia City a 2-0 lead within the first 25 minutes. Casey Bantle gave AAFC a lifeline with a goal against the run of play in the 36th minute, but even the most hopeful of fans would likely have not expected for Drew Ducker to jump on board and score a brace from the 38th to 41st minutes, giving AAFC the lead going into halftime.

The second half would bring a slow but growing dominance from Livonia City, who equalized in the 52nd minute via Pat Smith to make it 3-3. The remaining 38 minutes would be full of close chances and good ideas but no goal to break the deadlock. Perhaps the most notable event from this remaining chunk of regulation time would be Jamal Hamoody’s at a Maradona “la Mano de Dios” goal in the 72nd minute, a strategy which would earn him the match’s first yellow card.

With two 15 minute chunks of added extra time on the way, both sides needed a goal to avoid penalty shootouts. AAFC’s hopes would receive a major roadblock when one of their defenders received a second yellow and left his side with 10 men. Finally, in the 116th minute, Craig Beebe would drive Livonia City to the finish line with a goal only four minutes before the end of AET. With that win, Livonia City FC
will move on to the second round of qualifying. Livonia gave their Man of the Match award to midfielder Connor Cole.

- Dominic Bisogno

Lola Vaughn