Michigan Stars blank Detroit City FC 2-0 in NISA Fall Tournament opener

Larry O'Connor
The Detroit News

Gonnie Ben-Tal and Tomas Bernedo nodded in second-half goals as the Michigan Stars blanked Detroit City FC, 2-0, in the opening match of the National Independent Soccer Association Fall Tournament Monday at Keyworth Stadium in Hamtramck.

The victory puts the Stars in top spot of Group A with the Oakland Roots, who shut out New Amsterdam FC 3-0 in the second match of Monday's doubleheader.

Michigan Stars players celebrate after Tomas Bernedo's goal in the second half.

After a scoreless first half with the Pontiac-based club pressing from the opening whistle, George Juncaj’s side was rewarded on a corner kick in the 52nd minute when the 6-foot-4 Israeli defender moved in unmarked to power in Steven Juncaj’s delivery from seven yards out. The ball appeared to be slightly deflected before going into the net.

Bernado’s goal came on a glancing header six minutes later off an in-swinging pass from forward Kyle Nuel on the right flank.

DCFC had trouble breaking through the Stars’ midfield. Midfielder Cyrus Saydee, in his first appearance this fall, snaked a ball through to forward Yazeed Matthews who placed a shot on goal but Stars’ Zimbabwe international goalkeeper Tatenda Mkuruva turned away in the 49th minute.

Matthews, whose fortunes appear to have been snake-bit around the net as of late, later skied a shot over a wanting goal in the 70th minute.

Forward Max Todd started in his DCFC return but didn’t figure in any scoring chances and was subbed in the 65th minute for Shawn-Claud Lawson.

DCFC (0-1) play Oakland Roots at 5 p.m. while Michigan Stars (1-0) take on New Amsterdam at 8 p.m. Thursday.