LE ROUGE OVERWHELM ZANESVILLE; STAY PERFECT, HONOR TROOPS.
CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO FROM THE WIN.
In just its second season in the NPSL, Detroit City FC is making noise. And it’s not just coming from the rowdiest supporters’ section in the league.
The Memorial Day weekend game saw DCFC partner up with supporter group Northern Guard to promote “Hooligans for Heroes” – a charity dedicated to supporting direct programs and services to meet the needs of injured service members. (www.hooligansforheroes.com). To honor the armed forces, City took to the pitch with special camo-theme kits, and immediately after the game player tops were auctioned off.
As the auction winners returned home, they would no doubt notice the stench coming from the unwashed, game worn jerseys.
They smelled like victory.
Kevin Taylor (Michigan/Minnesota Thunder) scored his second goal in as many games and Knox Cameron (Michigan/Columbus Crew) netted his fourth goal of the season in Detroit City FC’s 2-0 victory over Zanesville Athletic FC Saturday evening at Cass Tech. Both goals were scored seven minutes into the first and second half, respectively.
Le Rouge (3-0) didn’t waste any time putting pressure on the Zanesville (0-3) back line, as a flurry of opportunities came for City within the first 15 minutes of the match. After peppering the opposing defense with numerous balls into the 18-yard box, Taylor’s goal finally came in the seventh minute off a corner sent from Miche’li Lipari (Oakland). Taylor masterfully headed the ball in the top-right corner to give Detroit City the early 1-0 advantage.
City captain Josh Rogers (Michigan St.) said striking early was all part of the agenda.
“We said if we scored early they’d start questioning themselves,” the centerback said. “Then we came out in the second half and scored again early. I think that just killed the game right there.”
While the fate of the game was not determined until much later, Detroit City clearly carried the pace from the opening kick. Shortly after Taylor’s goal, in the 13th minute, Le Rouge had two opportunities to extend its lead but failed to convert. An Adam Bedell (Detroit) breakaway was deflected wide, thanks to a kick save by Zanesville goalkeeper Alex Farrell. On the ensuing corner kick, it was a hint of déjà vu for Taylor, as he received a Lipari corner at the same spot in the box. This time, though, Taylor rattled a header off the left post and the City advantage remained at one.
Throughout the rest of the first half, the scoreboard remained the same despite Le Rouge’s enormous edge in possession and physical play from both sides. In the 27th minute, Lipari found himself on a breakaway off a crafty through ball from Bedell, but Zanesville’s Joel Craig took Lipari down from behind, earning a red card.
Playing with 10 men, Zanesville could hardly muster the ability to cross midfield. Especially against Rogers and Le Rouge’s stingy backline of Nick Lewin (Michigan), Zeke Harris (Michigan) and Zach Schewee (Bowling Green St.). While rarely challenged, goalkeeper Bret Mollon (Temple) added a save a few critical stops on crosses to earn a shutout in his first ever DCFC appearance.
Zanesville continued to show its frustration as it earned a yellow card and committed a total of 13 fouls in the first half. On the City side, they earned 10 fouls of thier own in the first half, along with a yellow card presented to Harris. The game concluded with 33 combined fouls and two yellows shown to each side (City’s second went to Schewee), along with Craig’s red card.
That physicality ultimately hindered the flow of the game, limiting City’s ability to use its superior speed and passing abilities to take advantage of more scoring opportunities.
“I told Adil (Associate Head Coach Adil Salmoni) just before halftime, we needed to be up 2-0,” Head Coach Ben Pirmann said. “That's the name of the game. You have to put your chances away. We limited them to zero chances tonight, but any other time it could have been different.”
But after the halftime break, Pirmann’s wish was soon answered. A free kick was awarded to Le Rouge because of an illegal Zanesville pass back to the goalkeeper in the 52nd minute. Cyrus Saydee (Michigan St.) took the kick that let to a series of rebounds which eventually settled in two familiar places: Knox Cameron’s foot and the back of the opposing net. Detroit City led 2-0.
Le Rouge would never relinquish the lead, or even a shot on goal until the 68th minute when goalkeeper Mollon made his only save. Credit is due to the entire starting eleven for the shutout effort; joining Core Power Man of the Match Taylor as standouts: the strength of midfielder Latif Alashe (Michigan) and the speed of forward Zach Myers (Saginaw Valley St.) were a constant source of disruption for the Zanesville attack.
As was the case in the first two matches, Pirmann maintained the pace of the game, using numerous substitutions; up front with forward Shawn Claude Lawson (Oakland), in the midfield with Lachlan Savage (Saginaw Valley St.), TJ VanSlooten (Michigan), David Edwardson (Spring Arbor) and Jeff Adkins (Butler), and along the backline with Lucas Diener (Oakland).
City has allowed just two goals in three games, while minimizing shots on goal from opposing strikers. Still, Rogers won’t accept the entire honor on his defense’s behalf.
“You have to thank the four in front of us,” Rogers said. “The midfield is incredible and they shield us very well.”
With its third straight win to open up the season, Le Rouge are sitting pretty atop first place in the divisional standings. Even though City supporters have plenty to rejoice about this holiday weekend, there is much to be done for a team that is just beginning to fire on all cylinders.
“I think we can still do a better job of playing our game, getting the ball moving and looking to scheme and work the inner passing lanes,” Pirmann said. “I think overall it's great to be 3-0 but we have a lot of work to do with over 75% of the season left.”
Detroit City will take that next step towards preserving its unblemished record this Friday, May 31, when Le Rouge will be back in action at Cass Tech High School when it hosts FC Sparta Michigan at 7:30pm.
— Jeremy Summitt/DCFC