Detroit, Michigan – As the sun set on the first day of fall at Keyworth Stadium, Detroit City FC knew getting three points off of Hartford Athletic would go a long way in their hunt for the playoffs. Detroit City would walk away from this game with those points as they defeated Hartford 3-0.
Coming off last week’s 5-0 loss to Phoenix Rising FC, Detroit knew they couldn’t suffer another loss like that if they still wanted to control their destiny to sneak into the playoffs.
Le Rouge started the game by controlling possession for the first 10 minutes, including an 8th-minute shot by Ben Morris off of a turnover that saw the ball sail just over the post.
Hartford forward Antoine Hoppenot returned to Keyworth Stadium for the first time since leaving Detroit City this past offseason, and he made himself known to the Detroit City faithful early in the game. In the 12th minute, Hoppenot got in on a breakaway and put a shot on the net destined for the top corner, but goalkeeper Nate Steinwascher made an outstanding save to keep the game tied at 0-0.
Detroit forward Connor Rutz had a golden opportunity in the 24th minute, which saw him receive the ball off an interception near midfield. Rutz raced toward the box and fired a shot from just outside the penalty arc, but the ball bounced off the Hartford keeper’s gloves. As the ball danced around the area, it was Dario Suarez there for the rebound, and he tapped it in to give Detroit City the 1-0 lead just past halfway in the first half.
Detroit kept the pressure on after the first goal, as in the 31st minute, a free-kick opportunity arose for Le Rouge. Midfielder Maxi Rodriguez would be the one taking the kick from roughly 25 yards out, and he fired a beautiful cross to the back post, which had Michael Bryant perfectly spotted to head the ball past the keeper to double Detroit’s lead to 2-0.
Steinwascher came up clutch again in the first minute of first-half stoppage time as Hartford once again came in on the attack. Still, Steinwascher made another incredible save to send both teams into the locker room, with Detroit holding the 2-0 advantage.
It was a slow start on the offensive side of the ball for Detroit in the second half, as Hartford kept possession in the attacking zone..
Hartford had another dangerous opportunity in the 53rd minute, as they had two outstanding chances to cut their deficit from mere yards outside the net. Still, they couldn’t get a good boot on the ball, leading to Steinwascher finally getting it in his gloves and stopping the threat.
Detroit City got another corner in the 57th minute that saw Matt Lewis redirect the ball off a back-heel kick, and the ball sailed into the far post of the net and extended Detroit’s lead to 3-0. This is only the fourth game all season where Detroit has scored three or more goals in a game, and it is the second time it’s been against Hartford.
Attacking play died down for Detroit City after that goal, as they knew if they just went on cruise control, the three points would be there for them at the end of the match.
Hartford still pushed to try and cut their deficit with the time remaining in the game, but Steinwascher was there to make an outstanding save each time to preserve his clean sheet.
After two minutes of stoppage time, the ref blew the full-time whistle, and Detroit walked away with the 3-0 victory. With the win and an FC Tulsa 2-1 loss, Detroit has once again jumped into the 8th and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Detroit looks to capitalize on this victory as they will face off against Colorado Springs Switchbacks at Keyworth Stadium on Wednesday, September 27. Kickoff is set for 7:30 pm Eastern.
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Primary Media Contact: Jarrett Maki
(Sports Information Director, Jarrett.Maki@detcityfc.com)