What Happened: In Detroit City FC’s National Premier Soccer League opener on Saturday, Le Rouge toppled the Cincinnati Saints 1-0. Le Rouge jammed its foot on the gas pedal from the first whistle and hardly eased up, garnering several grade-A scoring chances in the first half.
Zach Myers was finally able to break the scoreless draw in the 37th minute when he finished a beautiful cross from Colin McAtee right in front of the goal line. Other notable chances in the initial 45 minutes included William Mellors-Blair and McAtee’s shots that barely missed the goal frame. David Edwardson sent in a similar pass as McAtee to Myers in the first few minutes, but Myers just pushed the ball right of the goal post.
The second half resumed with a back-and forth affair, as the Saints developed a few rare scoring chances late in the game. A pair of set plays threatened DCFC’s one-goal lead, but to no avail. Before the 80th minute, Le Rouge continued to pepper Cincinnati goalkeeper Ben Dorn with more crafty passing and a flurry of shots, but the Myers goal would stand as the lone tally of the game. Finally, in the winding minutes, City’s possession-laden style would eventually secure the victory and mark a positive start to the NPSL campaign.
Perfecting Possession: Throughout the majority of the match, DCFC clearly dominated the possession battle. There were extended periods in which Cincinnati failed to cross half field, primarily in the first 15 minutes when City continuously peppered the opposing defense with crafty passes and promising shots on goal.
It wasn’t until the 15th minute that the Saints recorded its first shot off a set piece from 35 yards out. Le Rouge’s persistent effort in the final third can be credited for keeping the pressure off the defensive unit and goalkeeper Bret Mollon.
Bret the Brick: Partly thanks to the sustained possession at the other end of the pitch, Mollon had a relatively relaxing afternoon. Nevertheless, when his number was called and DCFC’s keeper needed to step up, Mollon answered the bell.
After providing depth behind former Detroit City FC goalkeeper Jeremy Clark last season, Mollon shined in the season opener and looks to be positioning himself as a primary anchor to an already stout defensive corps.
Mollon made five saves in his first career shutout in a DCFC kit. None of those were bigger than when Mollon made a diving stop in the 71st minute to sustain the City lead.
New Names, Same Success: Four new players that were added to the 2014 roster were inserted in the starting 11 on Saturday, including Tyler Arnone, Seb Harris, William Mellors-Blair, and Colin McAtee. In addition, Zach Vasold made his DCFC debut by coming on as a substitute in the 65th minute for Latif Alashe. Finally, in the 82nd minute, Colin Helmrich marked the sixth new roster addition to take the pitch for City in the season opener.
Despite the fresh faces, Le Rouge picked up right where it left off last season with another victory. The season-opening win marked the 17th victory in club history to go along with just three total losses since 2012.
Looking Ahead: Detroit City FC will host the Michigan Stars (formerly FC Sparta) at Cass Technical High School on Friday, May 16 at 7:30 p.m. Le Rouge went a perfect 2-0-0 against FC Sparta last season with a pair of lopsided victories.