Knowing it was going to be a huge event to start the new season, Grand Rapids Futbol Club (GRFC) asked the City’s newly elected mayor, Rosalynn Bliss, to join the fun at Houseman Field on Friday and “kick off” Friday’s NPSL matchup against Ole SC.
Five players from last year’s starting 11 returned, as well as The Grand Army, the most dedicated of hooligan-like fans of GRFC.
Marc Barone opened up the scoring with a header. Barone got his off Joe Broekhuizen‘s header across the goal from Tyler Fischer‘s pass. “We practiced that a lot this week,” said Fischer about the set piece. “Joe was fading far post, and if he couldn’t put it on goal, he was going to put it across and Mark was right there for it.” Fischer, in the 42nd minute, redirected a free kick from Lito Esquivel for a 2-0 lead.
In the 74th minute, forward Hunter Barone scored after coming off the bench. After winning the ball in a scrum in the Ole box, he fired it past the goalie for a 3-0 lead.
“We need to be a little bit more organized defensively, especially with some quick corner kicks and set pieces,” said GRFC head coach George Moni.
“We had really good training this week, so it was good for the boys to start playing,” said captain Tony Deakin. “We knew we were going to get a good crowd out tonight, but 5,000 people in our first game is unbelievable. Ole gave us a good game, it was hard fought, but I think we showed them we were comfortable on the ball and we took our chances when we had them.”
“We have really high expectations for our team this year,” commented Fischer. “We have a lot of good guys coming in, we want to possess the game and finish our chances, and I feel like we did that tonight.”
“We have a few more players coming in next week as well,” said Deakin. “It’s going to be competitive, we’re going to be fighting for spots and playing time, so that’s always exciting, but it keeps you motivated and keeps you ready to play.”
“This is a work in progress,” said Moni. “Having a lot of talent in the team, it forces everybody to work harder, to increase the inner competition, and when we work from the inside, we can make a difference on game days.”
GRFC now looks ahead to next Saturday when it will host Muskegon Risers at Houseman Field. The game starts at 7:45pm.
Symmetry Films put together this fantastic video recap of the opening night win against Ole SC: https://vimeo.com/165975738