It’d be fair to say that some of the best matches in Detroit City FC’s three-year history have been played when Le Rouge and AFC Cleveland line up against one another. Sunday, another chapter of the rivalry will be made when DCFC travels to Cleveland for a 3 p.m. kickoff.
Detroit City FC is coming off a weekend in which it earned a 2-2 draw with the Erie Admirals before traveling to FC Buffalo only to have Sunday’s match rescheduled because of inclement weather. Though City has maintained its unbeaten record (4-2-0) thus far, it has conceded six goals in its last three games after posting three consecutive shutout victories to begin the season.
Nevertheless, DCFC sits nicely in first place in both the Great Lakes West Conference, as well as in the entire Midwest Region with 14 points, earning an average of 2.33 points per game. Battling a multitude of injuries to crucial players like Zach Myers and William Mellors-Blair — the club’s two starting forwards — Sunday will supply a demanding test to keep the stranglehold on the region’s top position.
Meanwhile, AFC Cleveland has been trending upward after starting the season with two draws. AFC Cleveland earned a 2-2 draw at Lansing United on Friday before beating the Michigan Stars 2-0 the next day to improve its record to 3-3-1, good for the top spot in the Great Lakes East Conference.
Although Sunday marks the only matchup between these two clubs all season, barring a potential meeting during the regional playoffs, history between AFC Cleveland and Detroit City FC will be in the back of players’ minds all weekend. Last year, DCFC got the best of its rival on the other side of Lake Erie, winning two matches by a combined score of 5-3. In the final meeting of the 2013 campaign, Cleveland fought to a 1-1 draw to mark the only match that DCFC didn’t emerge victorious during the regular season.
If last year’s tight battles don’t scream rivalry, many of the veteran Le Rouge players and supporters will recall AFC Cleveland knocking DCFC out of the playoffs in its inaugural season. Old emotions might very well comprise that extra ounce of motivation for both sides.
That being said, this match doesn’t need more build up. History speaks for itself.
After Sunday’s match, Detroit City FC will return home to Cass Tech for a friendly against the Columbus Crew U-20s on June 18 for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff. Tickets are still on sale online at detcityfc.com.