By Justin Haggerty
MUSKEGON – The Muskegon Risers may not be in a league this season, but they are still playing for trophies.
They won the first in their history on Saturday – the brand new Stealth Founders Cup – with a 3-0 victory over Chicago-based FC Adrenaline in front of more than 1,000 raucous fans at Reeths-Puffer High School.
The Risers will now have to defend the corporate-sponsored trophy next season against an opponent to be selected later.
“In any sport, tradition is very powerful toward building a program. Things like this help build that tradition. From my perspective, that is what this means to the club,” said Risers owner Matt Schmitt.
“We’re really happy to have [the Founder’s Cup] in Muskegon for its first year.”
Muskegon not only won the new trophy, but did so in impressive fashion, playing most of the game a player short due to a red card infraction, but still outshooting the visitors 12-3.
The Risers won their second game in a row and improved to 2-1 on the season.
The Risers controlled the pace of play and the midfield from the start, outshooting Adrenaline 6-1 in the first half.
“We were pretty comfortable the majority of the game,” said Muskegon head coach David Wood. “We did a lot of crossing and finishing in practice this week.”
Diego Bobadilla opened the scoring with an impressive volley off a Phibo Arriaga corner kick. The goal for the Risers came in the 12th minute of the first half.
Controversy arose 27 minutes into the game when Riser forward Brogan Shrimpton broke in on goal and Adrenaline goalkeeper Allen Cox ran out to smother the ball, resulting in a collision and Cox being kicked in the chest.
Shrimpton received a red card and was ejected from the game, leaving the Risers with just 10 players on the field for the remainder of the contest. FC Adrenaline played with the standard 11, but still failed to challenge Muskegon.
“He (the referee) told me it was a 50/50 contest and that if my foot had hit him anywhere else (besides the chest), it wouldn’t have been a red card,” Shrimpton said after the game.
Wood was impressed with his team’s resilience following the red card.
“I think it was a very rash decision of the ref to do that,” Wood said. “It set the tone for the rest of the game, playing with 10 men for the majority of the game. We reacted well and the guys really stepped up.”
The Risers led 1-0 at halftime.
In the 29th minute of the second half, with his team up 2-0 on a goal from Damian Goncalves, Coach Wood surprised everyone, including himself, by entering the game as a player.
“I wasn’t planning on it (entering the game), the way the game was going, we just wanted to tie up the midfield in the last ten minutes,” he said. “Mike, our assistant coach, decided to throw me in.”
Jai Maw capped the scoring for the Risers with a breakaway goal in the 38th minute of the contest.
Another fantastic game. Great job Muskegon Risers SC