Flint City Bucks wrap up exhibition season with another impressive victory

| September 27, 2020 | Comments (0)

Rebels FC final victim in perfect 6-0-0 campaign



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FLINT — Another opponent, another impressive win.

The Flint City Bucks capped their 2020 six-game exhibition schedule with a 4-0 shutout Sunday at Kettering University’s historic Atwood Stadium, this time the victim was the Rebels FC.

Flint City scored a first-half goal, then tacked on three insurance tallies after halftime to cruise to its third straight shutout. The Bucks, the 2019 U.S.L.-League 2 North American champions, conclude the 2020 campaign of friendlies with three straight shutouts.

Flint City recorded clean sheets on the shortened season and never allowed more than one goal in a single game. Only Carpathia FC in Week 2 and Detroit FC in Week 3 were able to convert against the Bucks’ stingy defense, while Flint City never trailed the entire season.

“Overall, I’m very pleased with today and the whole season really,” beamed first-year Bucks head coach Andy Wagstaff. “We only allowed two goals defensively, which is amazing because we never trained during the week and we used a whole bunch of guys over six weeks. There were a lot of guys who contributed today and a lot of guys who gave us a strong showing (this season).”

Michael Sly, a senior at nearby Grand Blanc High School and a member of the U-19 Michigan Wolves MLS Academy, earned the win and clean sheet in his first-ever Bucks appearance by making three second-half saves.

“Michael is a guy who approached us when he found out we were playing some exhibition matches about possibly playing for us,” offered Wagstaff. “He’s a very outgoing young man and obviously very talented goalkeeper playing with the Michigan Wolves club program. Eliott Tarney, who played for us the last couple of games was not available. He got his chance today and I thought he did a really good chance when Rebels FC created some chances. He made a couple of nice saves.”

Sly became the third goalkeeper this fall season to record a shutout for the Bucks, following Oakland University incoming freshman Finn Jurak (Week 1) and the aforementioned Oakland alumni Eliott Tarney (Week 4 and Week 5).

Defensively, the Bucks did not even concede a shot to Rebels FC until the 29:50 mark of the first half and did not yield a shot directly on frame until the 61:14 mark.

As it has all season, Flint City’s defense limited the opposition to single-digits in total shots while the Bucks offensively outshot all six opponents by sizable margins. Flint City held a commanding 24-5 shots edge, including 13-3 with shots on frame, and compiled a 5-3 edge on cornerkicks against Rebels FC.

After a sluggish start in the opening minutes, the Bucks wound up outshooting Rebels FC 14-2 in the first half. The persistence paid off when Ayuk Tambe (Tusculum University alum) scored off a penalty kick at 32:45 after a teammate was tripped up in the box.

Javier Steinwascher (Indianapolis University alum) set up the next three goals for the Bucks.

After dribbling by three defenders, he slipped a pass into the penalty box to Amadou Cisse (Madonna University), who one-touched another pass to Marty Maybin. The surging Maybin (Regis University alum) blasted home a shot at 56:35 for the 2-0 advantage.

The Steinwascher to Maybin combination joined forces for the third goal, as Steinwascher’s chip cross into the box was redirected into the net by Maybin at 58:32.

The final goal came at the 84:53 mark. Steinwascher’s through ball to Tambe was tapped over to Cisse, who fired home the close range shot from the center of the box to cap the scoring.

The exhibition season was not only televised on CW46 or streamed online, but it served as an extended tryout for the 2021 season, where the Bucks will technically try to defend their fourth North American championship.

“We’ll see what happens with the NCAA and how long or if the college players willl be available next summer,” noted Wagstaff. “The college season should start in February and we’ll see how far into the spring it goes. Then we have to see when they schedule the 2021 college season next fall. We don’t know exactly how it will all work out. But I know a lot of these guys would like to be a part of it next year if they can.”


Not being allowed to defend its 2019 North American title — the program’s fourth all-time — due to the national COVID-related shutdown to the sports world, the Flint City Bucks were impressive in just about every category in their exhibition schedule against teams from a variety of amateur and semi-pro leagues around Michigan.

Flint City, which hosted each game at Atwood Stadium, never trailed over the course of the season — some 540 minutes plus stoppage time. The Bucks did so with a wide variety of players ranging from alumni of various colleges and universities, current college players, college, club and high school coaches, plus incoming college freshmen who won’t be able to begin their respective college careers until the NCAA and NAIA begin their belated seasons until next February.

Most of the college players did not compete after the first two weeks, as they were called back to their respective college campuses.

Man of the Match: Northwood University alum James Decosemo. Although the holding midfielder was not involved in the scoring Sunday, Wagstaff felt his presence was felt in every game this season and his consistency was more than felt in both the attack and the front gate to the Bucks’ defense.

The statistics for the Bucks’ perfect 6-0-0 exhibition season in 2020 include:

Week 1: Flint City Bucks 8, Midwest United FC 0

Week 2: Flint City Bucks 2, Carpathia FC 1

Week 3: Flint City Bucks 2, Detroit FC 1

Week 4: Flint City Bucks 7, Livonia FC 0

Week 5: Flint City Bucks 3, Detroit United FC 0

Week 6: Flint City Bucks 4, Rebels FC 0

Goals For: 26

Goals Against: 2

Shutouts: 4

Team Goals-Against-Average: 0.34

Record: 6-0-0


The Flint City Bucks’ finale concluded with a Bucks jersey auction that helped raise money for the Hurley Medical Foundation Breast Cancer Navigation Program. Each player came forward to the microphone for an interview with Bucks Play-By-Play announcer Neil Ruhl and a silent live auction through Facebook Live took place for each player that suited up Sunday. The live auction lasted just over 30 minutes.

The Bucks raised more than $2,000 for the foundation Sunday.

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