Christina Murillo Signs Contract with Lithuanian Club FC “Gintra-Universitetas”

Christina Murillo (No.7) playing defense for Motor City FC against Cleveland at Hurley Field.

Christina Murillo (No.7) playing defense for Motor City FC against Cleveland at Hurley Field.

Congratulations to Motor City FC’s Christina Murillo. Christina has signed a pro contract to play for Lithuanian Club FC “Gintra-Universitetas.” The club plays in the women’s top division “A Lyga” and consistently participates in the UEFA Women’s Champions League. Christina played Midfield and Defender for 2017 Motor City FC this season. She is also a member of the Mexico Women’s National Team and played soccer for the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI.

Motor City FC wins division, punches playoff ticket

Motor City FC (MCFC) clinched the WPSL’s Central-Great Lakes division top spot Sunday afternoon as they defeated Pittsburgh Steel City FC 3-0.  In doing so, MCFC punched their ticket to the league playoffs in St. Louis, MO that will take place on July 22-23.

Jamie Cheslik (Michigan State University) was instrumental with two assists, first connecting with Taylor Timko (University of Michigan) at 54:00 and then with Lex Warner (Michigan State University) at 74:00.  Jennifer Pippin (University of North Dakota) capitalized on a Steel defender’s misplay at 80:00 then tapped the ball into the net to complete the scoring for the home team.  

“I was happy with Taylor’s and Jamie’s play in the second half and Joanie Sieja (Oakland University) gave us a big boost off the bench today,” said Motor City FC head coach Aaron Byrd.  “Jamie had two great assists as she started to understand what we’ve been trying to do offensively.  That gave us the spark that we needed.” 

Motor City’s opening half of play was no great shakes.

“The first half was probably the worst that we’ve played all year,” said Byrd.  “We had a very candid halftime conversation in the locker room and I was way more impressed with the second half with both the understanding and by the way they bounced back.  We have a talented group of players, but they still need the guidance and positivity from the coaches to move forward.”

One division game remains for MCFC (7-0-1) as they travel to Grand Rapids Saturday to face Alliance Academy.  Regardless of the outcome, Motor City will have a week to prepare for their important road trip.

“We’ve got two weeks to put together what we need to do,” said Byrd.  “If we come out like we did in the first half today, we’ll be down 3-0 at halftime against any one of those talented teams.” 

As a side note, Motor City have six current players that were at their national team camps and unavailable for this weekend’s matches at Hurley Field.  Their return will no doubt add excitement to the team’s playoff run.

Motor City FC strikes again

Motor City FC (MCFC) outscored FC Indiana (FCI) 3-0 and outshot them 30-1 in a match that provided the home team an opportunity to define and refine their attacking strategies.  MCFC (5-0-1) remain undefeated and at the top of the table in the WPSL’s Great Lakes Conference.   

MCFC scored twice in the opening half, with Kate Morris (University of North Carolina) striking first at 41:25.  Taylor Timko (University of Michigan) and Jennifer Pippen (University of North Dakota) combined on the second goal at 45:00.

“We tried to work on our final third today; creating chances with odd numbers off the ball, finding target speed and running off the ball,” said Motor City FC head coach Aaron Byrd.  “We talked at halftime about how to create space in behind and I think we did a better job of understanding the timing of our runs, when to stay wide, when to make the run and when to stay in possession.”

The good news is that MCFC registered 30 shots.  The important news is the number of balls that went into the net.

“There were some moments in the second half that I was happy with,” said Byrd.  “But, when you have 30 shots on goal and you score three times, good teams are going to beat you with those numbers.  We created a lot of quality chances, now we just have to work on the actual finishing of the chances.”

Motor City’s Bella Jozcis (Vardar) converted on a picture-perfect pass from Joanie Sieja (Oakland University) at 70:40 to complete the scoring.

MCFC looks to build on the progress made today when they meet Pittsburgh Steel City FC (4-3-0) tomorrow afternoon.

“Pittsburgh is very tricky to figure out,” said Byrd.  “They have a lot of good athletes and they get numbers behind the ball.  They are a good team to play.  We’ll come back tomorrow, hopefully get a few early ones and continue to work on that final third.”

Motor City FC remains undefeated, leads league in goals scored

By Shelly Watkins

Malia Berkely contributed a hat trick and an assist in Motor City FC’s (MCFC) resounding 10-0 win over FC Indiana (FCIN) Saturday afternoon.  MCFC scored four times in the first half and six in the second as they cruised past their hosts in the lopsided victory.

MCFC remain undefeated at 4-0-1 and is now leading the Women’s Professional Soccer League in goals scored with 32.  

The scoring summary was as follows:

MCFC 12’ Taylor Timko (University of Michigan), unassisted

MCFC 26’ Shannon Casey (Villanova University), unassisted

MCFC 33’ Malia Berkely (Florida State University), assist from Madison Wolfbauer (Michigan Hawks)

MCFC 42’ Taylor Kornieck (University of Colorado), assist from Alexis Warner (Michigan State University)

MCFC 49’ Timko, assist from Alexa Spaanstra (Next Level Training)

MCFC 52’ Megan Connolly (Florida State University), unassisted

MCFC 61’ Zoe Morse (University of Virginia), assist from Berkely

MCFC 62’ Berkely, assist from Warner

MCFC 65’ Berkely, assist by Warner

MCFC 83’ Alice Palmer (Oakland University), unassisted

Motor City goalkeeper Victoria Cope (Bowling Green State University) was untested and registered the clean sheet.

Next up for MCFC is a pair of home games on July 8 and July 9 where they will face FC Indiana and Pittsburgh Steel City FC, respectively.

Motor City FC remains unbeaten with road win in Pittsburgh

By Shelly Watkins

Motor City FC (MCFC) jumped to an early lead in Pittsburgh and never looked back.

MCFC defeated Pittsburgh Steel City FC 5-1 on Saturday afternoon and remain undefeated (3-0-0) in the Great Lakes Conference.  The match was the first of two contests this weekend on the team’s eastern road trip.   

Shannon Casey (Villanova University) opened the scoring with her first of two goals just four minutes into the match.  The assist came from Alexa Spaanstra (Next Level Training) who has been red-hot this season in contributing 11 points in the team’s first two games.

Motor City increased its lead to 2-0 when Spaanstra was tripped in the box at 26:55 after a nice pass from Marisa Viggiano (Northwestern University).  She converted the subsequent penalty kick to round-out the first half scoring. 

In the second half, Casey scored at 28:55 on another collaboration with Spaanstra.  Taylor Timko (University of Michigan) added a goal one minute later on an assist from Casey. 

City’s last tally came from Megan Connelly (Florida State University), who was fresh off Ireland National Team duty, at 17:20.  Connelly was assisted by Jamie Cheslik (Michigan State University).

Steel stole a goal with seven minutes remaining in the match, as a shot beat goalkeeper Bethany Kopel (Indiana University) to disrupt the team’s clean sheet.  The goal was the first conceded by Motor City this season.

MCFC Head Coach Aaron Byrd was pleased with the effort and result.

“I’m happy with the way the girls played in certain areas of the game today,” said Byrd.  “We still have a lot of work to do but the girls are adapting nicely and are really starting to play some quality soccer for longer periods of time.”

“We have a very short turnaround and play a very good Cleveland team on the second day of a back-to-back tomorrow,” said Byrd.  “It will be a true test of what these girls are really made of.  It will be nice to get a few fresh bodies in and to play another quality opponent.” 

Joining the squad in Ohio will be defender Christina Murillo and forward Madi Wolfbauer.  Murillo resumes her role with MCFC after representing the Mexico National Team in their 3-0 victory against Venezuela on Saturday in Monterrey.

MCFC travels to Cleveland for a 4:00 p.m. kickoff with the Ambassadors Sunday afternoon to finish the weekend’s business.


MCFC motors over Alliance Academy 11-0

Madison Wolfbauer netted four goals for Motor City FC.

Madison Wolfbauer netted four goals for Motor City FC.

By Shelly Watkins

Madison Wolfbauer and Alexa Spaanstra combined for 16 points Saturday night as Motor City FC (MCFC) defeated Alliance Academy 11-0 at Hurley Field in Berkley, MI.  The pair orchestrated non-stop offense and lead the home team to the resounding victory.

“Our targets were incredible tonight,” said Motor City FC coach Aaron Byrd.  “Not only in attacking and setting up chances, but also in helping to maintain possession.  Their ability to get open, allow us to find their feet and then keep the ball to create is what makes our team go.”   

Wolfbauer (University of Illinois) was simply fantastic in the match, scoring four goals (43:00, 57:00, 86:00, 88:00) on assists from Taylor Timko (University of Michigan), Alice Palmer (Oakland University) and Joanie Sieja (Oakland University).  She also contributed an assist to Jennifer Pippen’s (University of North Dakota) 90th minute goal to close out the match.

Spaanstra (University of Virginia) was instrumental especially in the first half, scoring at 16:04 on an assist from Timko and assisting on goals by Taylor Kornieck (University of Colorado) to open the match at 4:00 and Palmer at 28:00.  Spaanstra scored again in the 46th minute on an assist from Brenna Cockerill (Michigan State University).

In addition to Pippen’s late-game tally, she also found the net at 31:00 on an assist from Palmer.

Although a lopsided match, MCFC seized the opportunity to focus on on-field communication.

“Just this week we stopped practice about five times to just talk about the importance of communication and the ability to dictate a game or situation,” said Byrd.  “Whether it’s as simple as ‘turn,’ ‘man on’ or ‘play quick’, we discussed that how they say it can create an urgency and set the tempo for the game.  They do a good job of communication in general, as they are talented, high-level players.”

Motor City’s goalkeeper Victoria Cope was untested in the match as the home side didn’t allow a single shot throughout the entire 90 minutes.

Next week, the team hits the road.

“Next weekend will be a huge test for us,” said Byrd.  “We have Pittsburgh on Saturday night and we turn around and have to drive to Cleveland to play Sunday.  Pittsburgh and Cleveland are two of the top teams in our division.  Short turnarounds, travel and overnight trips are never easy.” 

Fresh off a big 5-0 victory over the Cleveland Ambassadors on May 20, Motor City’s record advances to 2-0 in the young season.

Motor City FC takes season opener against Cleveland

By Bob Wolfbauer and Shelly Watkins

Alexa Spaanstra was named as the Player of the Match.

Alexa Spaanstra was named as the Player of the Match.

Four second-half goals propelled Motor City FC (MCFC) to a 5-0 win over the Cleveland Ambassadors in their opening match of the season at Hurley Field in Berkley, Michigan Saturday afternoon.

Motor City struck first, eighteen minutes into the game with a beautifully played ball over the top of the defense by Colleen McKay.  Alexa Spaanstra outran the defender and slotted the ball to the far post, beating the Cleveland goalkeeper.  Spaanstra’s goal was the lone score in the first half.

The weather made things difficult for both teams in the first half as a steady rain and a driving wind forced both teams to concentrate their efforts on keeping the ball and not committing turnovers that might lead to opportunities for their opponent.

The tight first half did not surprise MCFC head coach, Aaron Byrd. 

“Cleveland is a really good team that is well coached with very talented players,” said Byrd.  “We knew it was going to be a battle from the opening whistle and the rain didn’t help our strategy to possess the ball.  However, I was really proud of our effort level and quality play which speaks to the character and skill level of our players.”

At the half, Byrd stressed defense and effort to his team and Assistant Coach Radek Popiez emphasized that the first fifteen minutes of the second half would be critical to a successful outcome. 

The team heeded both messages, forcing a defensive turnover early in the second half that lead to a brilliant finish at 50:00 by veteran Joanie Sieja.  Spaanstra unselfishly assisted on the goal.

“We knew we needed to come out immediately in the second half and take the play to them,” said Byrd.  “Our defensive effort created our offense and the players really responded to the challenge.”

From that point forward, Motor City carried the play and added goals by Taylor Timko (63:00) from Mallory Eubanks, Eubanks (65:00) from Spaanstra and Megan Connolly (76:00) converted on a PK, beating the Cleveland keeper in the upper 90.

Spaanstra was named the Motor City FC Player of the Match by her coaches for her defensive pressure and creative play in the final third. 

MCFC goalkeepers Bethany Kopel and Victoria Cope shared the clean sheet.

Motor City FC (1-0-0) host Alliance Academy Saturday, June 3 at 7:00 p.m. at Hurley Field, Berkley.

Click HERE for more game photos.