AFC Ann Arbor advances to NPSL Midwest Region final

The Detroit News
AFC Ann Arbor will move on to the NPSL Midwest Region final after Friday's 1-0 win.

AFC Ann Arbor is marching on.

The Mighty Oak used a goal from Serge Gamwanya to top Cleveland SC, 1-0, Friday in a National Premier Soccer League Midwest Region semifinal at Ann Arbor Huron High.

Ann Arbor (10-1-2) will advance and host Duluth FC, a 2-1 winner over Minneapolis City SC, in the Midwest Region final at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

“They are a good side; the matchups are good,” AFC Ann Arbor coach Eric Rudland said. “They are in a similar system to us, so the matchups are a little bit easier than they were against Cleveland. They have some special players. Hopefully, we recover well and, hopefully, being at home will be a deciding factor.”

Ann Arbor had a couple of chances in the 32nd and 44th minutes to strike first but couldn’t capitalize in a scoreless first half.

The Mighty Oak were finally able to break through early in the second half when Gamwanya found the back of the net off an assist from Sercan Cihan in the 57th minute.

That proved to be all the offense Ann Arbor needed as a save by Nick Barry in the 59th minute denied Cleveland and kept the shutout intact.

"In the second half, we did a fantastic job of finding the open spaces to play in," Rudland said. "The goal we scored was probably the best goal we scored all year in terms of the build-up and the sequence that led up to it."

More: Eric Rudland guides AFC Ann Arbor with steady hand