Chicago House AC 1-1 Michigan Stars FC: Honors even at SeatGeek Stadium
Photo by Adnan Bašić

Chicago House Athletic Club’s winless run continued on Friday night as they were held to a 1-1 draw against Michigan Stars FC at SeatGeek Stadium.

Louis Bennet opened the scoring in style early on in the second half, but a chip from Leon Maric tied things up near the hour mark. That proved to be all she wrote on the scoresheet, as the two sides ended up taking a point each from the contest.

Story of the match

The first chance fell to the hosts, and it came quite early on. Ian Cerro nearly broke the deadlock after just six minutes, but his impressive volley hit the crossbar.

Chicago got away with one near the half hour mark. They gave the ball away in their own third, but fortunately for them Michigan couldn’t make the most of the gift, as the eventual shot went well wide of the target.

The House stayed on the front foot, and they created another good opportunity for themselves when a cross from Cerro picked out Derek Huffman in the area. He failed to make solid contact on his volley attempt, though, so the chance wasn’t converted.

Their pressure finally led to a goal moments into the start of the second half. It came in spectacular fashion, as Louis Bennett received the ball from distance before unleashing a shot that went in off of the post, leaving the goalkeeper absolutely helpless.

Chicago arguably should have made it two moments later when Wojciech Wójcik was played through on goal. Unfortunately for them, he bottled the finish, ultimately skying a shot despite all the space given to him.

That apparently woke Michigan up from their slumber. They finally started to push bodies forward, and they nearly tied things up from a set-piece, but the eventual header bounced just wide of the post.

It didn’t take them much longer to equalize. It did come courtesy of a Chicago mistake, though, as goalkeeper Mike Novotny spilled the ball in his own penalty area. It fell right to Leon Maric, and his chipped effort flew into the back of an empty net.

He made up for his error in the 69th minute by coming out to deny Alex Satrustegui in a 1v1 situation, which prevented what would have been a superb goal since the Michigan man had dribbled the length of the pitch with the ball.

The Stars caught a lucky break with 15 minutes to go, as captain Devin Amoo-Mensah took out Wójcik with a tackle that upset the House players. He escaped a booking, though, which would have sent him off since he had picked up a yellow earlier on in the contest.

The referee had an even bigger and more controversial call with about ten minutes to go. Rodolpho Sulia Herrera made an incredible tackle to stop a counter attack, but for some reason the referee decided to whistle for a foul, giving Michigan a free-kick on the edge of the area while also sending off the defender. It was close, but it didn’t seem like it was the right decision. 

A late chance fell to Keegan Thompson, but he couldn’t do much with the opportunity. Then, on the other side of the field, Novotny came up big to make a crucial save in the last few moments. Those proved to be the final highlights of a hectic contest, with the two sides ultimately forced to share the points.

Takeaways

Ian Cerro looks like a gem of a signing. Formerly of the Milwaukee Torrent, he actually played against the House in the NISA Independent Cup a few months ago. He seemingly impressed them in that performance, as the club decided to bring him on board recently. The midfielder has impressed ever since, and he might just end up becoming a key part of the starting lineup.

Soccer is a weird sport. Chicago couldn't score for five games in a row, and then they score an absolute screamer out of nowhere. At the very least, it was an incredible way to end their duct.

Something just seemed off with Mike Novotny during this game. The usually reliable goalkeeper was a bit of a mess early on, as poor communication and unsafe hands led to some nervy moments. With that in mind, it was little surprise to see him commit an error that cost his side a goal. It was a bad day at the office for him, but the House will hope that this performance was simply an anomaly.

Man of the match - Louis Bennett

Big time players make big time plays, and despite his relatively smaller stature, Louis Bennet was able to make the biggest play of the night.

With Chicago in desperate need of a goal, Bennet decided to take things upon himself. He picked up the ball in midfield, looked up, and had a go from distance. It’s a good thing he did, as his shot flew off of the post and into the back of the net. It was a moment of magic, and it deserved to be a matchwinning moment.

Although that didn’t happen, the strike did secure a point for Chicago. They needed a hero, and Bennett was able to save them on this night.

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