BY DAN STICKRADT
WEB AND CONTENT EDITOR
FLINT – Midwest United FC finally found a way to score upon the Flint City Bucks Saturday night.
As compared to previous USL-League Two matches and exhibition matches the last three years, Midwest was shut out by the North American powerhouse Bucks during each meeting.
This time around Midwest United, in fact, took an early lead on Flint City with an eighth-minute goal at Flint’s historic Atwood Stadium.
All that did was awaken a sleeping giant.
The Flint City Bucks opened up their home season in front of nearly 6,000 fans with a 3-1, come-from-behind, USL-League Two Central Conference victory.
It all began with a promise.
Michael Adedokun, who recently transferred from Dayton to Ohio State via the NCAA transfer portal, lined up from 22 yards out and his laser shot soared into the upper 90 on the right side for what proved to be the game winner in the 60th minute.
“I told the coach that I will go out there and do what it takes – score a goal or have an assist,” admitted Adedokun, who spent last summer with Fort Wayne FC. “Everything I do is for the team. It’s all about helping my team win. For me and the boys the mentality that we have right from the beginning of the game is to get the three points (in the league standings). I was just happy I was able to help the team. It’s not always about me. It was a collective team effort. I always want to help my team and I want to make a difference. I had the opportunity (on the restart) and I was able to score that goal.”
First-year Bucks coach Paul Doroh said that Adedoku’s job is to make things happen out on the pitch.
“He’s a very good player. We all saw on that free kick what he’s capable of doing,” said Doroh, who was an assistant with the Bucks last season when they reached the Final Four in the North American USL-League Two postseason. “He made me a promise before the game that he would get a goal tonight and he came through for us.
“I was pleased with the way we came back after conceding that early goal,” said Doroh. “We have a lot of new players that haven’t played very much together but we did a great job getting forward, overlapping and creating chances. We possessed the ball very well at times. We gave up the early goal which was disappointing. But we responded well and came away with a victory.”
Flint City (3-0-0, 2-0-0) added an insurance tally in the 78th minute when Palmer Ault (Butler University) scored a close-range goal from six yards out after Westin Camevale (Cornell University) thread-the-needle pass into space was corralled and blasted into the webbing.
Dominic Nascimben (Duquesne University) picked up the win between the pipes with three saves for the Bucks.
Enzo Carvalho (Mid America Nazarene University) made six saves on nine shots for Midwest United (2-1-1, 2-1-1)
After a Midwest United player was shoved from behind on a restart, Midwest earned a penalty shot on the play. Vitalis Takawira (Davenport University) laced his penalty kick into the lower right corner for a 1-0 Midwest United FC lead in the eighth minute.
Josemire Gomez tied the game for the Bucks with a 21st minute tally. Jonathan Robinson’s cross from the left corner was redirected by Gomez and into the far post. Robinson is one of several players between the two sides that played on Western Michigan University’s team that reached the NCAA Division I Sweet 16 last November.
The Bucks went on to finish with a 23-8 total shots edge, including 9-4 with shots on frame, and even held a 11-2 differential on cornerkicks.
The Bucks have a long-standing tradition since its formation back in the mid-1990s of being one of the most successful teams in the USL League Two (formerly PDL), reaching the postseason 23 times over the previous 27 season (one year they didn’t qualify was 2020 when they played only an exhibition season due to the regular season being cancelled.). The Bucks won North American titles in 2006, 2014, 2016 and 2019, finished as the runners-up in 2000 and 2007 and also lost in the semifinals in 1997 and 2022 for a total of eight appearances in the Final Four.
“We always have high expectations each year,” added Doroh. “I think this team has a lot of talented players and they have the capability of competing for a playoff spot once again.”