|Game Stories & Team News
(Updated May 22)
Michigan State Cup
Celtic Advances, Falls In State Cup Quarterfinals Again
Goals: Bobby (3), Tyler (2), Eric, Nathan
Assists: Jake (3), Ethan (2), Tyler (2), Bobby, Michael, Nathan, Richie, Will
Celtic began its journey to its first State Cup championship with a 2-1 victory over the Michigan Burn on a cold, windy and wet Independence Park pitch. The game's first goal came just six minutes in, when Celtic was awarded a corner kick. Bobby's short ball found Tyler on a hard run to the near post, and his low shot carried through traffic to the far post. The Burn tied the game about 10 minutes later on their own corner kick, despite Celtic carrying play. Celtic pulled ahead just past the midway point in the first half. Richie won a ball in the middle of the field and controlled it in traffic until he found Nathan making a run up the left flank; Nathan took Richie's through ball and beat three Burn midfielders and defenders before slipping a ball off the near post and behind the keeper. Celtic carried play for most of the game, and Richie and Jake both hit crossbars, but the game ended at 2-1.
Celtic's second State Cup match was away at Fraser United, and once again Celtic controlled play for most of the game, emerging with its second victory in pool play. Playing into another strong wind, Celtic peppered the Fraser keeper for the first 25 minutes but had nothing to show for it. Finally, a Fraser foul about 40 yards from goal created a scoring opportunity that Celtic converted - Tyler's direct kick dropped into the middle of the box, where Eric went high and headed it in off the near post. Fraser actually tied the match just a minute later, when its striker jumped on a loose ball and chipped it over Rene. However, Celtic took the lead for good late in the first half. Michael won a ball in the back and played Jake in the middle; Jake led Will up the sideline and Will carried all the way into the box - Will's shot was blocked by the Fraser keeper, but Bobby was finishing a run up the middle and knocked it in with his left foot from the penalty spot. Celtic closed the scoring late in the game on a play that started with Nathan winning a ball in the middle and playing it back to Ethan. Ethan played a quick ball to Jake, who found Tyler making a strong run up the left flank, and Tyler drilled it past the helpless Fraser keeper to make the final 3-1.
Celtic qualified for the State Cup quarters with a draw against Vardar East on a miserable (45 degrees and windy) morning at Independence Park. Needing to win to move through, Vardar struck first, just 5 minutes into the match. The visitors carried play for most of the half, and added a second goal in the 39th minute to take a 2-0 lead into intermission. Whatever the reason, Kieran's loud encouragement or just switching sides, Celtic was a different team in the second half. Just 5 minutes into the half, Jake was hauled down in the Vardar box, and Bobby converted the penalty to pull Celtic within a goal. Celtic kept the pressure on Vardar and was rewarded for their work in the 27th minute. Tyler took a throw-in and found Ethan deep; Ethan played it back to Tyler, who switched the field with a beautiful cross to Jake. Jake drilled a shot that the Vardar keeper was lucky to block, but the ball bounced to Bobby in the middle of the box and he deposited it into the empty net to tie the game. Each team had a goal called back on offside calls in the second half, and Michael made a great play to clear a ball off the goal line. Celtic played solid team defense the rest of the half, clearing the ball out of trouble time and again to earn its trip into the quarters for the third consecutive year.
Quarter-final day in Saginaw, a little cool and overcast, brought Celtic face to face with a familiar fore Kingdom Premier. Unfortunately for Celtic, this time the boys from Kalamazoo had the advantage. Kingdom came out with steady pressure in the first half and was dangerous for the first 30 minutes, but Rene made a series of strong saves to keep the game scoreless until the 32nd minute. A Kingdom throw-in deep in the Celtic end somehow bounced into the middle of the box and a Kingdom forward knocked it in from about 10 yards in front of goal. Coming out of half-time, with the score 1-0, Celtic started pushing forward a bit more and had several chances, although none of them led to a serious shot on goal. With a little over six minutes in the match, Celtic began pushing people forward to try and even the score. However, it was Kingdom that found the net behind Brandon on a pair of counters and finally on a corner in the 40th minute to make the final 4-0. The best that could be said for the day was that the team welcomed Richie back from injury,and it was great to see him on the field again.
(Updated May 12)
State Cup Pool Play Update (W-L-D, Points, Goal Differential)
Pool 1: Grand Rapids Crew Juniors (3-0-0, 9 pts, +16), Tri-Cities Strikers (2-1-0, 6 pts, +4), Rush Capital Area (0-3-0, 0 pts, -12), Rush Downriver (1-2-0, 3 pts, -8)
Pool 2: Waza Black (3-0-0, 9 pts, +15), Rush Nike (2-1-0, 6 pts, +4), River Plate (1-2-0, 3 pts, -7), Carpathia (0-3-0, 0 pts, -12)
Pool 3: Michigan Jaguars (3-0-0, 9 pts, +11), Livonia City Meteors (1-2-0, 3 pts. +4), Midland (2-1-0, 6 pts, +1), Vardar Ann Arbor (0-3-0, 0 pts, -16)
Pool 4: Canton Celtic (2-0-1, 7 pts, +3), Michigan Burn White (0-1-2, 2 pts, -1), Vardar East (1-0-2, 5 pts, +5), Fraser United (0-2-1, 1 pt, -7)
Pool 5: Kalamazoo Kingdom Premier (2-0-1. 7 pts, +6), Waza Kelly (1-1-1, 4 pts, +2), TKO (0-1-2, 1 pt, -7), HSC Vortex (1-1-1, 4 pts, -1)
Pool 6: Vardar (1-1-1, 4 pts, +3), Novi Jaguars White (2-0-1, 7 pts, +6), Michigan Express (0-3-0, 0 pts. -15), North Storm (2-1-0, 6 pts, +6)
Pool 7: Michigan Wolves (3-0-0, 9 pts, +7), Michigan Burn Black (0-3-0, 0 pts, -6), TNT Dynamite (2-1-0, 6 pts, +2), Sting (1-2-0, 3 pts, -3)
Pool 8: Waza Royal (1-0-2, 5 pts, +3), Force (2-0-1, 7 pts, +3), Rangers (0-3-0, 0 pts, -8), TSC Arsenal (1-1-1, 4 pts, +2)
Grand Rapids Crew Juniors def. Force Black
Waza Black def. Michigan Wolves
Michigan Jaguars def. Novi Jaguars White
Kalamazoo Kingdom Premier def. Canton Celtic Black
Kalamazoo Kingdom Premier def. Grand Rapids Crew Juniors
Waza Black def. Michigan Jaguars
Midwest Regional League
(Posted December 29)
MRL Announces Celtic League Opponents
The Midwest Regional League has announced the seven teams that will battle Celtic '94 Black in the MRL First Division Red this spring. Two of the seven teams are ranked regionally by NationalSoccerRanking, and six of them are ranked in the top 10 for their states.
From Indiana, Celtic will square off against Citadel 94 White and Fort Wayne Fever Academy. Citadel is #3 in Indiana and #40 in the region, while Fever is #6 in Indiana. This will be the first match between Celtic and Citadel, but the Fever side has been on Celtic's schedule a few times in the past two years. Celtic will travel to Fort Wayne for these matches on April 30-May 1.
Celtic will also face three sides from northern Ohio. Cleveland FC 93/94 Blue, Toledo Football Academy, and Cleveland Select, ranked 1, 3 and 5 respectively in Ohio North, will all face Celtic this season for the first time. Celtic will host these matches on April 17-18.
From Michigan, Celtic renews their rivalries with the Michigan Wolves (#50 in the region, #8 in the state) and Waza FC Royal.
Celtic enters the season ranked #26 in the region and #6 in Michigan.
(Updated May 27)
Cleveland Select, April 17, Loss: 0-1
Toledo Football Academy, April 17, Loss: 2-3
Cleveland FC, April 18, Win: 2-0
Ft. Wayne Fever, April 30, Loss: 0-5
Citadel, May 1, Loss: 0-2
Michigan Wolves, May 16: Draw: 1-1
Waza Royal, May 26: Win: 1-0
Goals: Bobby (2), Nathan (2), Austen, Jake
Assists: Bobby (2), Ethan, Nathan, Rene, Steven, Tyler
Celtic hosted the Michigan and Ohio teams on April 17-18 at Independence Park, and won just once in three games in spite of controlling play all weekend. In the opening match. an extremely physical game against Cleveland Select, Celtic had early pressure and nearly netted a goal - but it was Cleveland that struck first. Ten minutes in, a counter led to a Celtic defender racing towards Brandon in goal - the wind caught his attempt to chip the ball over the net to clear and dropped over Brandon's outstretched hands. Cleveland nearly made it 2-0 at the end of the first half on a questionable penalty, but the shot was off-mark. Celtic stepped up pressure in the second half, hitting the crossbar and posts, and sending several shots just wide, but the boys were unable to equalize.
Saturday's second match, against Toledo Football Academy, was equally frustrating for Celtic fans. A soft penalty was awarded against Celtic with about six minutes to play in the first half, and although Brandon made a tremendous diving save on the shot, TFA scored on the resulting corner. Toledo made it 2-0 in the last minute of the first half and 3-0 in the second minute of the second half on a pair of shots that Brandon had little chance to save. However, Celtic fought back. Bobby got the first goal, when he knocked down a poor clear and found the upper 90 in the fourth minute of the second half. Twenty minutes later, Steven played a long ball after Toledo was caught off-side; Ethan headed the ball to Nathan, who carried for 20 yards before beating the keeper. Celtic nearly tied the match several times as it wound down, with the best chance a low shot by Bobby that the TFA managed to deflect wide.
Celtic carried this momentum into Sunday's game against Cleveland FC. Austen struck first for Celtic, just three minutes into the match, when he pounced on a rebound of Tyler's shot following a Bobby corner. Celtic made it 2-0 midway in the first half on another corner - this time, Bobby's cross found Nathan in the Cleveland six and Nathan slid it past the keeper. The rest of the match featured heavy Celtic pressure, but the Cleveland keeper was on his game and managed to keep the final at just 2-0.
Celtic took a couple of weeks off and then traveled to Ft. Wayne to play the two Indiana teams, and the boys were likely not in good spirits on the long drive home.
Scheduling complications meant Celtic faced off against the host Fever on a Friday @ 6pm match. Unfortunately, Celtic looked like a team that stayed up late Thursday to watch the Red Wings, and then got up early for a full day of school, drove 3 hours and hopped out of the cars and onto the field. Fever had speed to burn all over the field, and with Celtic playing without high energy, the hosts dominated play with three goals in the first 16 minutes on its way to a 5-0 win. Fever scored on through balls, crosses and even on a pair of penalty shots, while Celtic barely threatened the Fever keeper.
Day two in Indiana brought an early match against Citadel, and for a while it looked like Celtic would come out of the weekend with a split. Celtic carried play for nearly the entire first half, several times stringing together seven and eight passes to pressure the Citadel defense. However, a combination of shots just missing wide or high, and a couple of strong saves by the keeper kept the game scoreless at the half. Celtic came out strong again after the break, but it was Citadel that got the breaks, with goals in the 27th and 28th minute on plays that somehow sneaked through the yellow defense. Celtic pushed hard in the last 13 minutes, with several more shots just missing, but the Citadel defense and keeper were able to keep the boys off the board.
Celtic returned to Independence Park to host the Wolves on May 16, and like so many games this spring, it was a game Celtic could have and probably should have won - but did not. Celtic carried play for most of the first half and took an early lead. Nathan was fouled outside the box after a long run and earned a free kick. Tyler tapped the ball to his right, where Bobby took a couple of touches and drilled it into the side netting, for a 1-0 lead that Celtic took into half. The Wolves came out strong in the second half and had Celtic on their heels, and used that momentum to tie the game; the play looked like it might have been offside, and even it if wasn't, there was no question that the Wolves forward had his cleats high enough to be a threat to Brandon's chest - but the play stood and the game was tied. The teams traded chances the rest of the game with neither side converting, and Celtic walked off with an unsatisfying draw.
Celtic closed the 2010 spring MRL season with a late road match against Waza Royal. For the first time in several games, Celtic came out strong with steady pressure that kept its opponent defending on clearing, rather than countering and attacking. In spite of conceding several scoring opportunities, Waza was able to keep Celtic off the board until early in the second half. In the half's fourth minute, Rene punted the ball 2/3 down the field to Nathan, who fought his way through a couple of tackles and beat another player with a strong 1v1 move before crossing the ball into the box. Jake had gone to goal and was in a perfect position to take the pass and beat the Waza keeper. Celtic and Waza alternated pressure for the rest of second half but neither team scored and Celtic walked off the field with a 1-0 victory in a very physical match.
Ohio Galaxies College Showcase
(Posted March 21)
PFC Junior Hounds, March 20, Win: 3-0
Ohio Galaxies, March 20, Draw: 1-1
CUSC Academy, March 21, Loss: 1-2
Goals: Nathan (3), Austen, Tyler
Assists: Bobby (3), Ethan (3), Jake (3), Nathan (2), Rene, Steven
Celtic split their three matches at the Ohio Galaxies College Showcase, posting a win, a draw and a loss at the Athletes In Action fields in Xenia, OH.
The boys opened their tournament against PFC Junior Hounds out of Pittsburgh. Nathan opened the scoring midway in the first half on a play that started with Bobby winning a ball on a hard challenge in the middle of the field. Ethan collected the loose ball and played Jake wide; Jake's cross found Ethan in the box. PFC nearly leveled just a couple of minutes into the second half, but Brandon came hard off his life and stoned their forward on a clean breakaway. Celtic scored twice late in the match. At the 28-minute mark, Steven outworked a PFC midfielder and won a ball that he played to Bobby in the middle - Bobby slid a pass between the PFC defense and Tyler drove it under the charging keeper. Austen made the final score 3-0 with just a minute in the match; Bobby won a goal kick and laid the ball off to Nathan - Nathan drove a shot that bounced off the keeper and to Austen who was standing in the middle of the box.
Saturday's second match was one of the sloppiest games Celtic has played in a couple of years, but they managed to salvage a 1-1 draw against Ohio Galaxies. The host club struck first with a goal just seven minutes into the game, when they countered off a Celtic corner kick. However, Celtic leveled the match on a play that started with a Rene punt that Nathan gathered at midfield. Nathan, Ethan and Tyler all had touches before Tyler found Nathan in front of the Galaxies goal. Rene made the save of the match late in the first half, when he dove to push away a direct kick.
The final match, against CUSC Academy, was a very physical game, with all three goals scored in the first 11 minutes - unfortunately, Celtic came up on the short end for just the second time in 19 matches in the 2009-2010 season. Celtic opened the scoring in the fourth minute. Ethan intercepted a pass deep in the Celtic end and played a long ball to Jake; his through ball found Nathan on a hard run and just like that, Celtic was up 1-0. CUSC tied the match in the tenth minute on a nice play, and took the lead just a minute after that. The rest of the first half and all of the second was played all over the field, with both teams playing aggressive soccer but missing chances. Brandon made a couple of excellent saves, including pushing a ball just wide with his fingertips to keep CUSC from enlarging their lead, and the Indiana keeper did the same to hold the lead.
(Posted March 12)
TNT, March 12, Win: 2-0
Kingdom Reserve, March 12, Win: 2-1
Jaier, March 12, Win: 5-0
Goals: Bobby (3), Jake (3), Austen, Ethan, Nathan
Assists: Bobby (3), Josh (2), Richie (2), Tyler (2), Brandon, Ethan, Nathan, Will
Celtic swept the Kalamazoo Kingdom Reserve friendlies, defeating its three opponents by a combined 9-1 score.
The boys opened the day with a match against TNT. Although Celtic carried the play from the opening whistle, it was still tied at the halfway point. Celtic broke through, however, when Bobby took a TNT goal kick and fed Ethan, who found Will on a hard run up the middle. Will forced the TNT foul in the box, and Bobby converted the penalty to give Celtic a lead. A few minutes later, Bobby knocked down another TNT goal kick, took a couple of touches and launched a shot from about 25 yards out that beat the TNT keeper to make the final 2-0.
It took Celtic just three minutes to score in the second match, against Kingdom. Bobby made a hard slide tackle but the play was clean and he jumped up with possession and found Jake running on the right flank. Jake hit an absolutely perfect cross into the box that Nathan went high for and headed past the Kingdom keeper. After Kalamazoo tied the match in the 34th minute, Celtic regained the lead just two minutes later when Richie intercepted a pass and laid it off to Bobby, who drilled a shot from about 30 yards into the right upper 90.
The final match was against a team that Celtic had never played, Jaier. Jake opened the scoring 10 minutes into the game, when he found himself at the end of a string of passes; Bobby made the last pass, but the play started with Tyler and also included Josh and Richie. Jake added a second goal a few minutes later on another nice play that began with Nathan to Josh and Bobby again. Celtic made it 3-0 at the 29-minute mark, when Tyler's corner kick found Ethan making a run to the near post. Austen made it 4-0 about five minutes later, when he slipped a shot pass the Jaier keeper after taking a pass from Ethan - Brandon earned an assist with a strong punt that carried to Ethan in the attacking end. Jake closed the scoring with his hat trick goal with just two minutes on the clock, when he took a pass from Will and blasted it past the helpless Jaier keeper .
(Updated February 28)
Waza F.C. Royal, February 27, Draw: 0-0
Waza F.C. Royal, February 28, Win: 1-0
Goal: Nathan from Bobby
Celtic clinched the league title with a draw and win over Waza F.C. Royal.
In the weekend's first match, Celtic carried most of the play but was unable to put the ball past the Waza keepers. A strong overall team defensive effort, backstopped by Rene and Brandon, kept Waza off the board as well and put Celtic in a position to win the league in their last game.
On Sunday, Celtic scored just six minutes into the match. Bobby intercepted a Waza pass and drilled a shot that bounced off the Waza keeper - Nathan was in a perfect position to pounce on the rebound and he did not make a mistake with his shot from close range. Celtic nearly scored again 5 minutes later, but Bobby's shot found the post and bounced wide. The rest of the game saw steady pressure from Celtic, but the Waza keepers were up to the challenge several times.
The stars of this match were the boys on Celtic's back line. Ethan and Michael took the middle of the field away from the Waza forwards, and Tyler, Zach D and Steven shut down the flanks, limiting Waza to just one real scoring opportunity. With about 10 minutes in the match, a Waza forward unleashed a strong shot that Brandon dove on and pushed wide to preserve the shutout and the league title.
Bloomfield Force, January 24, Win: 7-0
Goal: Nathan from Michael
Goal: Bobby from Richie, Josh and Tyler
Goal: Richie from Tyler, Bobby, Jake and Ethan
Goal: Eric from Ethan and Tyler
Goal: Tyler from Eric
Goal: Richie from Will, Jake and Zach J
In their second match of the day, Celtic dismantled Bloomfield Force, scoring early and often for a 7-0 victory.
Nathan opened the scoring less than three minutes into the match on a superb individual effort. Michael started the play with a long goal kick that skipped past the Force defender. With the keeper sprinting to the top of his box, Nathan won the race to the ball, tipped it past him and then nearly slid into the far post to tap the ball into the net just before it went out of bounds. Bobby made it 2-0 just three minutes later, when Tyler's corner kick carried over the box to Josh. Josh controlled it and played Richie, who laid it to Bobby about 25 yards out.
Celtic scored again two minutes later, when Richie took a pass in the box from Tyler at the end of a sequence of passes that included Bobby, Jake and Ethan. The score became 4-0 at the 16-minute mark, when Nathan blocked a Force clear and drove it into the net. Eric got Celtic's fifth goal midway into the match on a play from Tyler and Ethan, and Tyler got on the board a couple of minutes after that when he collected Eric's direct kick and drove it under the crossbar. Richie got his second and Celtic's seventh of the match with about eight minutes to play, when he scored from the middle of the box; Celtic showed great poise building to the goal, with Will, Jake and Zach J. all making nice passes.
Toledo Football Academy (#3, Ohio North), January 24, Draw: 1-1
Their first match of the day saw Celtic control play, holding Toledo F.A. to just a couple of shots on goal, and yet it took a late, fluke goal to earn Celtic the draw.
After Toledo F.A. opened the scoring less than 10 minutes into the game, Celtic carried play but a combination of shots just over and well over the crossbar, as well as some nice saves by the TFA keeper kept the boys off the scoreboard.
Celtic finally leveled the match with about 18 minutes to play. A TFA foul at midfield gave Celtic a free kick and Michael's long, high shot bounced in front of the Toledo keeper and over his head.
Pacesetters (#4, Ohio North), January 17, Win: 4-1
Goal: Bobby from Ethan and Jake
Goal: Nathan from Tyler
Goal: Bobby from Will and Richie
Goal: Bobby from Josh and Tyler
In their second match of the day, Celtic completely dominated Pacesetters, scoring early and late to take the match by a score of 4-1.
Bobby opened the scoring just minutes into the game. Celtic earned a throw-in and Jake found Ethan checking to the ball. Ethan turned and caught Bobby on a run up the middle of the field, and his shot deflected off the bottom of the crossbar and behind the keeper.
After Pacesetters tied the match at 1-1, Celtic scored off a set-piece. Nathan made a run to the back post on a corner and was in perfect position to drive Tyler's cross into the net.
Celtic closed the scoring with two more goals from Bobby late in the match. His first came after Will intercepted a pass deep in the Pacesetters end and played Richie in the middle. Richie laid it off to Bobby, who made a sharp cut and hit with his left foot from about 20 yards out. A few minutes later, Tyler played a long ball to Josh, who dropped it back to Bobby. The Pacesetters keeper was not anticipating a shot and Bobby made him pay with a shot from about 25 yards from goal.
Celtic nearly made it 5 or even 6 goals in the match. First, Bobby picked off a pass with the keeper well off his line, but his shot stayed on the ground and the keeper was able to scramble back into position. With less than 30 seconds in the game, Bobby and Richie played a nice combination that released Richie on a run up the right wing - but Richie's shot skipped across the face of the goal and out of play as the final whistle blew.
Michigan Wolves (#50, Region 2; #8, Michigan), January 17, Draw: 1-1
Celtic drew 1-1 against the Michigan Wolves at Total Soccer, in a renewal of an old rivalry against a team that will also appear on Celtic's MRL schedule.
The draw was an unfortunate result for Celtic, which carried and controlled play for most of the match. Celtic got its goal fairly early in the match, when Ethan released Nathan with a beautiful through ball. Nathan was chopped down in the box and Tyler stepped to the spot to take the penalty. The Wolves keeper saved the initial shot, but the ball bounced right out to Tyler, who settled it and slipped it into the goal.
The Wolves scored on their only real scoring chance late in the game to tie the match at 1-1 and barely held on. A corner from Bobby that found Ethan's head was deflected over the goal with just a couple of minutes to play, and Richie's shot from well inside the box was saved by the Wolves keeper with less than 10 seconds on the clock.
Toledo Football Academy (#3, Ohio North), January 10, Draw: 0-0
In a preview of a future Midwest Regional league match, Celtic drew 0-0 against Toledo Football Academy at Total Soccer.
From a good news-bad news perspective, the good news was that Celtic controlled most of the play, holding an obvious edge in possession time and several times stringing together a series of passes in their attack. The bad news, of course, is that they were unable to find the back of the net against the TFA keeper, in spite of several excellent chances and numerous corner kick opportunities.
The stars of the match were the two keepers, Brandon and Rene, and everyone who played on the back line - Michael, Steven, Ethan, Tyler, Zach D and Josh. The defenders were physical and poised, and limited the TFA shots on goal. Brandon was strong off his line early in the match, and Rene preserved the shutout with a diving save late in the match.
Additional good news came in the crispness of the Celtic play - much better passes and movement off the ball against a stronger team than they saw last week.
Pacesetters (#4, Ohio North), January 3, Win: 1-0
Goal: Bobby from Austen, Richie and Eric
Celtic resumed club play with a solid win over a strong side from Ohio North, defeating Pacesetters 1-0 at Total Soccer.
The teams traded chances early, with Pacesetters actually having the best early opportunity - but Rene made a beautiful save, stretching to his left to push a shot wide. Control shifted between the two sides, with neither dominating possession through the first 2/3 of the match.
Celtic started earning very good chances late in the game. Tyler nearly scored from distance, Zach J. chipped the keeper with a ball that was cleared off the line before it could count, and Bobby hit a shot that skipped along the crossbar before running out.
Late in the game, Celtic finally broke through with the game's only goal. Bobby, Austen, Richie and Eric combined to move the ball the length of the field, before Bobby took the ball about 25 yards out. Bobby's left-foot shot found the upper 90.
Celtic played strong defense most of the game, and really dug in over the last 15 minutes, with Brandon finishing the shutout.