Detroit City Football ClubDetroit City Football Club

Detroit City Football Club

Detroit City Football Club

Detroit's Minor League Soccer Team


    It was halftime on Friday night at Cass Technical High School and there was an unfamiliar feeling sifting through the air. A sell-out crowd of 3,338 supporters was growing restless as the thought of witnessing Detroit City FC fall out of the NPSL Midwest Region playoff race was becoming more realistic.

    Even 10 minutes after halftime had ended, Le Rouge trailed 1-0 to Fort Pitt Regiment. The emotions were tense from the Northern Guard to the team benches to the family friendly grandstand. But finally, in the 56th minute, a strike from Latif Alashe (Michigan) rejuvenated everyone wearing Gold and Rouge and jumpstarted a comeback that comprised three unanswered goals en route to a 3-1 victory.

    “That was a total team performance,” said head coach Ben Pirmann. “The scout on them was they’re going to be good defensively, and really, really good and athletic on the counter. I knew we would score one, but my hope was that we didn’t concede another in transition.”

    Alashe cleaned up a scrum in the box by hammering home the much-needed equalizer before substitutes Shawn Lawson (Oakland) and TJ Van Slooten (Michigan) added a goal apiece to complete the energizing comeback. Lawson’s goal was one for the highlight reels, as he creatively cut left, then right to dust off a Fort Pitt defender and slip the ball into the back of the net.

    “I got the ball, looked up and saw one defender, so I cut him back, then I saw another one coming and cut him back again, and then I looked up and put it under the keeper’s hands,” Lawson said. “I was happy to get that one.”_DSC6811 copy

    Added Pirmann: “Shawn’s told me that he likes coming off the bench, he’s more comfortable. He’s our super sub, per se. He flies around, he buzzes, and more than anything he’s a good player. He has a knack for goals.”

    City’s win meant it would stay alive in the Great Lakes West Conference title chase, and simultaneously deny Fort Pitt Regiment a fine chance to clinch the Great Lakes East Conference and secure a spot in the Midwest Region playoffs. Ultimately, Fort Pitt’s one goal in the 25th minute was not enough to stave off the potent Le Rouge attack. Forward Lamine Balde netted the eye-catching goal in which he flicked a ball over a charging Bret Mollon (Temple) off a nice over-the-top ball from Sean Riley to grab the early lead.

    The goal DCFC conceded to Balde marked the first time City allowed a goal and ended up winning the match. The previous five home victories were all shutouts, while the only result that didn’t end with a Le Rouge victory was a 2-2 draw against the Erie Admirals on June 6.

    With Friday’s victory, Detroit City FC set up a date with Lansing United for a winner-take-all match on Sunday afternoon to determine who would be crowned conference champions and secure a spot in the 2014 Midwest Region playoffs.

    The importance of Sunday’s match created a memorable atmosphere at Michigan State’s DeMartin Field in East Lansing, Mich., as a few hundred Northern Guard supporters made their way into the stadium and never stopped singing until well after the final whistle. With Lansing leading DCFC by one point in the conference table, a win or draw would send United through to the playoffs, while Le Rouge could settle for no less than a victory. In a back-and-forth affair, City was never able to garner the lead as the two clubs exchanged goals en route to a 2-2 draw.

    “We moved the ball really well, we played a good game and got a little unlucky here and there, but it was fun,” Pirmann said.

    Early in the first half, Le Rouge players and supporters were in good spirit, but didn’t have all that much to smile about as DCFC found itself trailing early yet again. In the 19th minute, Lansing broke the scoring open when a perfect cross from Brian Cunningham set up Matt Brown for a header that sailed past Mollon to give Lansing the 1-0 advantage. Brown’s goal was his tenth of the season, which leads all players in the NPSL.

    After gradually narrowing the gap in scoring chances and the possession battle, Le Rouge began to find its groove by the 30-minute mark. As the pace began to pick up, an equalizer would qualify as a much-needed boost to Detroit City FC before the halftime whistle, and in fitting fashion Zach Myers (Saginaw Valley State) answered the call. He was brought down at the edge of the penalty area in the 35th minute, but got far enough inside for the referee to point to the penalty spot.

    Captain Josh Rogers (Michigan State) lined up behind the ball for the penalty shot and calmly struck the ball into the bottom-left corner for the all-important equalizer. City was back in the game and the playoff hunt, and anyone within a few hundred yards of DeMartin Stadium would have heard plenty about it from the Le Rouge faithful.

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    But even with the match tied, emotions continued to grow wearisome by the 60th minute as Detroit City FC was desperately searching for the go-ahead goal that would send them into the NPSL playoffs for the third consecutive season.

    Chance after chance came for City early in the second half, but Myers nor Shawn Lawson could finish a pair of glorious chances. Instead, in the 66th minute, Lansing United grabbed the go-ahead goal and began closing the door on Le Rouge’s playoff hopes. A turnover at midfield sprung a lethal counter attack in which Matt Brown slid the ball into open space on the right flank for Gabe Mateo, who took a couple steps and drilled a shot to the nearside post and past Mollon.

    “Out of the 90 minutes, it was about 85 minutes ours, and we got beat on the break twice, but that’s going to happen when you know you have to win,” Pirmann said. “They knew they had to tie, so they could be patient and try to counter and they did a good job of that.”

    More opportunities to find a second equalizer were present at resourceful times, but DCFC just couldn’t find the goal frame. Finally, Lachlan Savage (Saginaw Valley State) would smash home a loose ball inside the box during stoppage time, but it was too little, too late for a team who needed the coveted three points to claim a Great Lakes West Conference championship.

    “We moved the ball well, but we were missing so many guys that we were missing a little bit of a final punch,” Pirmann said. “That was our fifth game in nine days, so I literally don’t even know how half these guys are walking around right now.”


    Detroit City FC was forced to settle for a 2-2 draw and watch an inaugural NPSL team from its own state celebrate a memorable first season. Le Rouge was left wondering what could have been with previously winnable matches in which it fell just short of picking up the one or three point results that could have made all the difference when jostling for playoff position. Instead, DCFC will finish the regular season with an impressive 8-2-3 record and a +13 goal differential.

    A final hurrah for the 2014 campaign will take place on Wednesday July 23 when Le Rouge hosts the Windsor Stars in a friendly at Cass Technical High School at 7:30 p.m. Numerous player awards will be given out after the match, and it will give supporters one final chance to savor an evening of soccer on Grand River Ave in the heart of Detroit. Tickets for the match are still on sale online at

    - Jeremy Summitt, DCFC Staff Writer





    City Must Win Sunday's Game at Lansing or be Eliminated from Playoffs

    What Happened: With 3,398 people in attendance and hundreds more outside peering over the fences on the final regular-season match at Cass Technical High School, Detroit City FC scored three unanswered goals in the second half of Sunday’s match to earn a 3-1 victory over Fort Pitt Regiment. In front of a sell-out crowd, the win kept DCFC in the playoff chase with Lansing United who sit just one point ahead of Le Rouge in first place of the Great Lakes West Conference.  After Detroit City FC struggled to get anything going early on, Fort Pitt Regiment would get on the score sheet in the 25th minute thanks to a nifty goal from Lamine Balde. He received a pass over top of the City defense from Sean Riley and flicked the ball over a charging Bret Mollon (Temple) and into the back of the net. The 1-0 lead for Fort Pitt would hold until halftime, but City was far from finished.

    In the 56th minute, Latif Alashe (Michigan) found a loose ball in a scrum in the box and whistled home a crisp shot to net the much-needed equalizer. Since a draw would have likely done little for Le Rouge’s playoff chances, it continued to press in the latter part of the second half. In the 72nd minute, the eventual game-winning goal would come from Shawn Lawson (Oakland). He received a ball into the box from TJ Van Slooten (Michigan) and cut the ball to the left, then to the right, and finally struck a shot that rolled past the Fort Pitt goalkeeper and into the back of the net. The Northern Guard and the rest of the Le Rouge faithful exploded, knowing the dream of a second consecutive conference championship was still within grasp. Finally, Van Slooten would get on the stat sheet as a goal scorer in the 90th minute when he scored a goal similar to Alashe’s. Van Slooten found a ball near the penalty area that was drifting out to the top of the 18-yard box, and he headed it home to place the exclamation mark on a remark-able comeback victory.

    An Unfamiliar Victory: The 3-1 victory marks the first time all season that DCFC has conceded at home and emerged victorious. In the previous six home matches coming into Friday, City had earned five shutout victories and a 2-2 draw against the Erie Admirals on June 6. A win is a win, though, no matter how it’s done. Captain Josh Rogers (Michigan St.) said after the match that it was an important experience for the team to have a comeback victory like that, rather than constantly playing games in which DCFC would coast to 3-0 and 4-0 results.

    Want a Warm Welcome?: During the 2014 season, Detroit City FC has played 10 games against teams that are playing in their inaugural season in the National Premier Soccer League. Out of those 10 matches, DCFC has posted a dominant 7-1-2 record against the likes of the Cincinnati Saints, Lansing United, the Michigan Stars, and now Fort Pitt Regiment.

    Often times, the victories are those that sent the inaugural teams home with something left to be desired, as 4-0, 3-0, and 3-1 score lines were not uncommon in the aforementioned matches. A warm welcome often comes when you visit your grandparents’ house or when you catch up with old friends.

    But when the new clubs in the Midwest Region come face-to-face with Le Rouge, a warm welcome is rarely the outcome.

    CITY Sells Out: The 3,398 in attendance for Friday night’s game reflects the ultimate capacity for Cass Tech HS. An estimated 400 more individuals seeking gameday tickets were turned away at the gates. This policy will continue in the case of future sellouts, as space must be reserved for all season ticket holders at all games. Many who could not enter stayed and watched the game unfold from beyond the confines of the stadium. With a history of just three seasons and two dozen matches, Detroit City FC has become the hottest ticket in Detroit.

    Looking Ahead: Detroit City FC will play its final regular-season match at Lansing United on Sunday July 13 at 12 p.m. The winner of Sunday’s game will be crowned champion of the Great Lakes West Conference and receive the conference’s only birth in the Midwest Region playoffs.

    - Jeremy Summitt, DCFC Staff Write


    This weekend is about as big as they come for Detroit City FC.

    Looking to claim a regular-season conference title and a playoff berth for the second straight season, Le Rouge spent the week preparing to host Fort Pitt Regiment at Cass Technical High School on Friday July 11. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

    Two days later, on Sunday July 13 at 12 p.m., DCFC will visit Lansing United in the regular season finale for a match that will likely hold pivotal playoff implications. In the first meeting between City and United, Le Rouge came out on top, 1-0, thanks to a converted penalty kick from captain Josh Rogers.

    DCFC enters Friday’s match coming off its third loss of the season after dropping a 3-1 game at FC Buffalo on Wednesday evening. However, morale was somewhat high as Le Rouge were still able to secure the Rust Belt Derby trophy — an honor given to the team with the highest point total in head-to-head matches between AFC Cleveland, FC Buffalo, and Detroit City FC. The achievement marked the second consecutive season that the Rust Belt Derby trophy makes its way to Detroit.

    Meanwhile, across the region in the Great Lakes East Conference, Fort Pitt Regiment has strung together numerous victories lately — losing just once in its past eight games — to leapfrog AFC Cleveland in the conference standings. Most recently, Fort Pitt Regiment earned a 1-1 draw with AFC Cleveland on Wednesday after beating FC Buffalo 3-1 on Sunday July 6.

    Lansing United has enjoyed recent success as well, coming into the weekend riding a four game unbeaten streak. United crushed the Cincinnati Saints, 4-1, on July 4 before edging out the Michigan Stars, 1-0, on July 6. This weekend, Lansing plays host to the Indiana Fire on Friday July 11 before hosting DCFC on Sunday.

    Lansing United currently sits in first place in the Great Lakes West Conference with Detroit City FC breathing down its neck in second, trailing by only one point. A pair of victories this weekend would ensure that Le Rouge would win its conference and secure a playoff birth, no matter what happens in the other conference games.

    However, if City were to falter against either Fort Pitt Regiment or Lansing United, possible clinching scenarios are listed below. Each of the three division winners in the Midwest region qualify for the playoffs, as well as one wildcard team with the highest points per game from wins and draws out of all three conferences.

    DCFC clinches a wildcard birth if the Madison 56ers win OR draw against the Minnesota United Reserves AND Detroit City FC wins one match this weekend. But if the Minnesota United Reserves win that match, they clinch the wildcard position and Le Rouge must win its conference to secure a playoff birth.

    Detroit City FC can clinch the regular-season conference title with the following scenarios:

    • Win both matches against Fort Pitt Regiment and Lansing United.
    • If City loses Friday against Fort Pitt Regiment, it would need to beat Lansing United AND hope the Indiana Fire beats Lansing United on Friday AND that Indiana loses to or draws with Cincinnati on Sunday.

    Two draws this weekend against Fort Pitt Regiment and Lansing United will end DCFC’s season, sending Lansing United or the Indiana Fire to the playoffs as conference champions. Ultimately, it’s a win and you’re in scenario for Le Rouge, and the most crucial match to keep an eye on will be the Madison 56ers v. Minnesota United Reserves match on Friday since it determines if City still has a shot at the wildcard position.

    Everything is on the line in the final weekend of the season and Detroit City FC’s playoff push begins with the regular-season finale at Cass Tech on Friday. Don’t miss one of the final opportunities to see Le Rouge in action — tickets for the match are still on sale online at Gates open one hour before kickoff.

    - Jeremy Summitt, DCFC Staff Writer


    Detroit City FC beats Cincinnati for third time this season

    During the 2014 NPSL season, the pure dominance that Detroit City FC has displayed at home just hasn’t been matched with any club in the nation.

    Le Rouge has outscored its opponents by a margin of 13-2 in six matches, won all but just one of those — a 2-2 draw against the Erie Admirals on June 6 — while the five other games have ended in shutout victories. Sunday, Le Rouge never strayed away from that trend, picking up a convincing 2-0 victory over the Cincinnati Saints behind the attack of Jeff Adkins (Butler) and William Mellors-Blair (Michigan).

    “We did what it took, but we were definitely sloppy,” said head coach Ben Pirmann. To be fair, Cincinnati is a tough team and they’re definitely not what their record shows. They’re really well-coached and they make it difficult for us, so credit to them.”

    The dynamic duo of Adkins and Mellors-Blair connected for both goals, as each picked up a goal and an assist to steal the spotlight all afternoon. It was the speedy striker, Adkins, who netted the first goal in the ninth minute of the game off a beautiful cross by Mellors-Blair. And in the 52nd minute, the two would link up again to double the City lead when Adkins sent a ball in the middle of the pitch to Mellors-Blair, who ripped a rocket of a shot from 25 yards out that quickly found the back of the net.

    “We’re not traditional strikers,” Mellors-Blair said. “We’re more tricky and deceptive. The link up is well, and we’re just different strikers.”

    It was the first time Adkins and Mellors-Blair lined up at striker together, but Pirmann insisted that his players have roles rather than outright positions. Adkins, Mellors-Blair, and TJ VanSlooten (Michigan) all acquired the role to put the ball in the back of the net, and the trio didn’t disappoint. Van Slooten came inches from joining the other two on the score sheet after ringing a curling shot off the crossbar in the 37th minute.

    Bret Mollon (Temple) enjoyed another favorable day behind Detroit City FC’s stout back line. Thanks to the efforts of Josh Rogers (Michigan State), Michael Lamb (Saginaw Valley State), Zach Schewee (Bowling Green), and Jon Evans (Oakland) on defense, Mollon was never forced to make a save all afternoon.

    Still, the City goalkeeper deserves a multitude of credit for the string of shutout victories at Cass Tech this season. In his first year as the starting netminder, he’s been as consistent as Pirmann and the rest of the team could have hoped.

    “We’ve got a great back line,” Mellors-Blair said. “Josh Rogers, the captain, has been solid. Michael Lamb has been solid all season. Bret Mollon comes for everything, and he’s a really great goalkeeper.”

    Sunday’s victory pushed DCFC into first place in the Great Lakes West Conference for several hours after the match, at least before Lansing United edged out the Michigan Stars, 1-0, late Sunday night. The current standings have Le Rouge trailing Lansing United by only one point, but City still has one game in hand that could make all the difference as the regular season winds down next weekend.

    - Jeremy Summitt, DCFC Staff Writer


    Following one if its most lopsided victories of the season against the first-place Indiana Fire on June 29, Detroit City FC is poised for two critical matchups this weekend. With Le Rouge now only one point behind the Fire in the Great Lakes West Conference table, a string of wins will place Le Rouge in a favorable position to grasp onto the first-place position for the remainder of the season.

    The holiday weekend begins with DCFC visiting the Michigan Stars (formerly FC Sparta) on July 4 for a 10 p.m. kickoff. Just two days later, on Sunday July 6, City will return back home to host the Cincinnati Saints at 1 p.m.

    Jeff Adkins (Butler) is coming off a dominant performance in the 4-0 victory over Indiana last Sunday in which he scored two goals on eight attempted shots. The match served as a bit of revenge from the previous two meetings between Indiana and DCFC after Le Rouge salvaged a 2-2 draw on June 6 before losing its first game of the season to the Fire, 2-0, on June 20.

    The Michigan Stars come into Friday’s match with a 3-0-6 record, sitting in last place in the Great Lakes West Conference. The Stars haven’t played since June 15, but were able to edge out Fort Pitt Regiment, 1-0, in their most recent match.

    Meanwhile, the Cincinnati Saints are coming off a 2-1 loss to Fort Pitt Regiment on June 29. The Saints rest in the fourth position in the Great Lakes West Conference table with a 3-0-7 record. Detroit City FC has already beaten Cincinnati by scores of 2-0 and 3-2 earlier in the season, and it recorded a 3-0 victory over the Michigan Stars on May 16.

    But with the NPSL playoffs looming in less than three weeks, the importance of each match remains increasingly heightened. At the conclusion of the regular season, only the top team in each conference advances to the playoff round, in addition to one wildcard team.

    The wildcard club is determined by whichever team in the Midwest Region has earned the highest points per game from wins and draws. If the season ended today, Detroit City FC would advance to the playoffs in the wildcard position.

    However, DCFC is familiar with what it takes to earn a regular-season conference title, and with four matches left to be played Le Rouge holds a golden opportunity to repeat last year’s conference crown.

    There are just two regular-season home matches left at Cass Technical High School, as well as one extra friendly that was rescheduled for June 23 against the Windsor Stars. Previously, DCFC had scheduled a friendly against the Columbus Crew U-20s, but that match was postponed due to inclement weather.

    Don’t miss out on any of City’s playoff chase — tickets for the final two home games are for sale online at

    - Jeremy Summitt, DCFC Staff Writer

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