EAST LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — After 90-plus minutes of regulation and 30 minutes of overtime, a shootout decided the fate of Grand Rapids FC’s season.
Goalie Maia Perez stood tall and made the final two saves of the shootout versus Detroit Sun FC, sending GRFC to a 3-2 win and into the conference final Saturday.
“It’s fun to me,” Perez said. “I got out there and do my best because I know I’m confident. I just go out there and do what I do.”
GRFC earned three victories against Detroit this year, but this was the first overtime victory. GRFC head coach James Gilpin said he felt relieved to finish with the win.
“That’s the third time we’ve played them and every time it’s been a one-goal game,” Gilpin said. “It’s been a great opponent all year. They battle, fight for everything, keep us honest and make sure we’re checking out runners. I think both teams and sets of coaches did a fantastic job.”
Detroit got the offense started early with a goal from Tori Singstock in the 10th minute.
GRFC didn’t wait long to answer. Lizzie Paul put one home from the right side of the net to tie the game in the 11th minute.
After nearly 63 minutes without a goal, Grand Rapids FC had an opportunity to break the 1-1 tie. Paul didn’t miss. She scored on a left-footed cross pass from Samantha Maher to the right side of the net, where Paul tapped it in, taking a 2-1 lead in the 74th minute.
Detroit would tie the game in the 83rd minute, sending it to overtime. Neither team would score in either if the two 15-minute periods, sending it to a shootout.
GRFC scored on all four of its shootout chances to secure the win, along with Perez’s two saves.
Multiple shots hit the crossbar and bounced out for GRFC in the closing minutes. Gilpin said they could have felt sorry for themselves but instead fought through it.
“We used all of our subs today, so it was a true team effort,” Gilpin said. “We didn’t just rely on a couple individuals. Now we forget about it and move onto the next game.”
The winner of Lansing United and Michigan Legends FC will take on GRFC in the Midwest Regional Championship at 7 p.m. Saturday at the East Lansing Sports Complex.
>>App users: Photos from the game