During most of his soccer career, Javier Steinwascher has spent most of his field time in the midfield setting up teammates or up top finding the back of the net. Sunday, his skill set found a new home.
Steinwascher filled in nicely on the backline and contributed to another sterling defensive effort. On the offensive side, he still contributed an assist in Flint City’s 3-0 shutout over visiting Detroit United FC at Kettering University’s Atwood Stadium.
“It was great to be back out there playing,” admitted Steinwascher, who was a member of the 2019 National Championship squad. “Coach Wagstaff needed me to play in the back and I’m just glad to have the chance to play. If that means in the back, I’m okay with that. Stepping in on defense wasn’t a problem. I think our defense played very well today.”
Steinwascher teamed up with Elliott Bentley, Owen Turner, Tyler Stephens and James Decosemo to form this week’s lockdown backline. Flint City has yielded just two goals all season while scoring 22 times in five games.
“No goals against. The defense was really good,” smiled Bucks Head Coach, Andrew Wagstaff. “We had to move some guys around this week. We were missing Dom Hart and Spencer Nolff, two of our top players. So we had to shuffle some things around. We put Javier on the backline and he was brilliant. In the first half, he was steady at center back and in the second half we pushed Owen Turner to center back and moved Javier to the outside and he took it to another level as a right back. He was our catalyst and helped get things going in the second half with his decision making. He was able to set up the first goal.
The Bucks held a 7-2 shots edge in the first half. In the second half, Flint City scored three unanswered goals to put the game away. Coach Wagstaff added, “I thought the first half was average. We played a lot better in the second half. Detroit United played well for the first 60 minutes, but I think we wore them down in the second half. We really picked it up offensively. In the first half they played with a diamond in the midfield and we played with three. We made some switches in our midfield and it was a wash. In the second half, we made some more switches and it seemed to work better for us. We began creating a lot more (scoring) chances.”
Flint City (5-0-0) held a commanding 21-4 shots edge, including 8-1 with shots on frame, and even held a 3-1 edge on corner kicks. Still, the Bucks found themselves locked in a 0-0 draw at the half.
The first half also saw two United players sent off after being issued red cards in the 37th minute, which caused an eight-minute delay. After the dust settled, both teams agreed to continue playing 11-v-11.
The Bucks dominated the second half by holding a 14-2 shots edge over the final 45 minutes. The dominance paid off for the Bucks, as Tyler Channell scored in the 65th minute — the Saginaw Valley State University grad has now scored in four of his team’s five exhibition games — and that proved to be the eventual game-winner. On a 3-on-2 rush, Channell picked up a perfectly-slotted pass from Steinwascher and laced a right-footer into the net at 64:06. Amadou Cisse netted a pair of insurance tallies later in the second half. The first came at 69:58 following Ayuk Tambe’s steal and pass to Cisse, who converted from 15 yards out. Cisse capped the scoring less than 10 minutes later when he netted an unassisted tally at the 78:50 mark.
Elliot Tarney notched his second straight shutout by making one first-half save. It marked Flint City’s third shutout in five exhibition matches, while no team has been able to score more than one goal on the Bucks. Tarney has played the last three games in goal and lowered his goals-against-average to 0.33, while the Bucks lowered their overall team GAA to 0.40 with the clean sheet.
Although these exhibition matches do not count towards any type of formal league standings or playoff positioning, Wagstaff said his team will not back down in its final match next weekend. “We always want to win. It doesn’t matter that these are friendlies. We are representing Flint and USL League Two. Our goal is to come out next weekend, play a good brand of football and win again.”
LIVE JERSEY AUCTION THIS SUNDAY AFTERNOON ON FACEBOOK
The Flint City Bucks will be in hot pink Capelli kits again this Sunday vs. Rebels FC in their final exhibition match of 2020. The team is supporting and raising dollars and awareness for (Flint’s) Hurley Medical Center’s Breast Cancer Navigation Program. At the conclusion of this Sunday’s match (September 27th) FCB lead broadcaster, Neal Ruhl will initiate a Facebook Live event to auction off the player’s pink jerseys. Mark your calendars for 2:15 pm on Sunday, September 27, 2020. Visit the Flint City Bucks Facebook page to participate this coming Sunday and please share with friends and family. All money raised stays local to support the Hurley Breast Cancer Navigation Program and Hurley patients going through the financially draining and life-disrupting process of cancer and treatment. All donations will make a huge impact on lives right here in Genesee County.
— The defending USL2 North American champion Bucks have only yielded single digits in shots on frame in all five exhibition matches and have outshot each opponent.
— Although the Bucks were unable to defend their North American crown this year due to the regular season and the postseason tournament being shelved, they are still the most successful program in USL2 history. The franchise won North American titles in 2006, 2014, 2016 and 2019 while finishing as the runner-up in both 2000 and 2007.
— Flint City Bucks will conclude its 2020 exhibition schedule by hosting the Rebels FC on Sunday, Sept. 27, at 12 p.m. The game will be telecast live on CW46 across Mid Michigan. The Rebels compete in the United Premier Soccer League. If you are out of the broadcast viewing area, you may also watch live via the Bucks website, Twitter page or YouTube page.