Troy United traveled to the west side of Michigan on Saturday to face off against BiH Grand Rapids. Troy was looking to continue their march up the table, while Grand Rapids looked to play spoiler and end Troy United’s three-game winning streak.
The first 15 minutes of the game mostly saw back-and-forth play between the two teams. Neither team had a substantial attack to start the game. Grand Rapids sat back to start, and Troy United couldn’t find a way to break through the back line.
In the 23rd minute, Troy United had their first significant opportunity of the game. Waleed Cherif had a breakaway attempt that saw the Grand Rapids goalkeeper come out of the net, and Cherif took advantage of that and chipped the ball over the goalkeeper from 30 yards out. The ball ended up in the net, and Troy United took an early 1-0 lead.
Troy United kept the pressure on after the goal and almost got a second quickly. Cherif had another great strike on goal in the 30th minute, but the ball ended up in the Grand Rapids goalkeeper's hands.
Play slowed down once again in the last 15 minutes before the half. Troy United would take a 1-0 lead into the locker room.
Grand Rapids started the second half with much more tempo than in the first. Grand Rapids would get a free kick within the first five minutes, but nothing came out of the opportunity.
A Troy United turnover in the 57th minute led to another great opportunity for Grand Rapids, but the shot went wide of the post.
Troy began controlling possession after that Grand Rapids opportunity, and they were chasing a second goal. Cherif had another outstanding chance in the 67th minute that saw him get around the keeper and have an open goal in front of him, but the ball hit the post, and Grand Rapids cleared it out of the box.
Due to the heat in Kentwood on this summer afternoon, a water break was called for in the 75th minute. The break allowed both teams to regroup and try to find the next goal that would tell the game's story.
Coming out of the break, Troy had an outstanding opportunity in the 78th minute. Connor Henson crossed the ball beautifully on the counterattack to Caleb Dupree, but he hit the post. Like the last shot that hit the post, Grand Rapids cleared it out of the box, and danger was averted again.
Making up for the shot that hit the post, Dupree was fouled in the box in the 86th minute, and the referee called for the penalty. It would be Jacob Lee who would step up to take the penalty. Lee booted the ball to the goalkeeper’s left, and the keeper couldn’t stop it. Troy United had a 2-0 lead with just under four minutes to play.
It looked like Troy United was cruising to their first clean sheet of the season, but in the 89th minute, Troy conceded a penalty that Grand Rapids would put into the back of the net, making the score 2-1.
Troy went into stoppages knowing they needed to hold onto this lead, and they did. The full-time whistle blew, and Troy United came away with the 2-1 victory.
Troy United extends their winning streak to 4, and they will look to continue it next Saturday as they return to The Hawk to face off against Thundercats SC. Kickoff is set for 2 pm.