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.