It was another meeting with Erie that sent eerie memories through the minds of 3,324 supporters watching from above the pitch at Cass Technical High School.
Detroit City FC maintained its unbeaten record (4-2-0) with a 2-2 draw against the Erie Admirals on Friday, but it was ultimately a reunion that left a bitter taste in the home team’s mouth. Friday marked the first meeting between the Admirals and DCFC since the two teams squared off in the Great Lakes Conference playoff semifinal last year, where Erie spoiled City’s unbeaten season and hopes at a long playoff run.
“That’s the first thing (head coach) Ben (Pirmann) said to us, was this team ended our season last year,” said captain Josh Rogers (Michigan State).
This meant Friday’s match was about revenge. It was bound to be a classic and never disappointed, as both teams combined for all four of the game’s goals in the final 33 minutes of play.
Beginning in the 57th minute, Erie forward Andre Landell beat goalkeeper Bret Mollon (Temple) with a rocket of a shot from 20 yards out to take the 1-0 lead. Landell’s goal was the first that City has conceded at home all season.
The response after conceding was quite typical of DCFC, as Shawn Claud Lawson (Oakland) quickly broke his team’s scoreless drought in the 66th minute off a beautiful play from the right flank. Tyler Arnone (Michigan) sent a ball in from the corner, landing at Lawson’s feet at the 6-yard box where he finished with a nifty back heel.
Just after the 70th minute had passed, an Erie defender was called for a hand ball in the box that set up an opportunity from the penalty spot for Rogers. Calm, cool, and collected, Rogers easily guided the ball into the middle of the net past Daniel Mudd for his second goal of the season and a 2-1 Le Rouge lead.
“I thought about hitting it as hard as I can, but he left so early that I was like, ‘Well, I’m just going to pass it in,’” Rogers said. “I’m trying to put that pressure out of my head and focus on getting the ball in the net.”
All signs pointed toward yet another night of celebration inside Cass Tech Stadium, but the Admirals had plans to spoil such arrangements. In the 89th minute, Erie broke out on the counter attack, producing a scrum at the top of the 18-yard box. As Mollon came out to try to retrieve the ball, Mike Bamber lofted a shot over him and two other City defenders for the late equalizer.
“We just have to be better defensively,” Pirmann said. “There’s no rhyme or reason. We just have to be better. It’s something we worked on all week in training and it hasn’t come to fruition.”
It’s been a point of emphasis ever since conceding an equalizer in stoppage time during the U.S. Open Cup game against RWB Adria on June 7. After starting the season with three consecutive shutout victories, City has allowed six goals in its previous three games.
Sunday’s match at FC Buffalo offered an opportunity to make up for Friday’s deflating result, but Mother Nature worked its way into postponing the game until July 9. The kick off time for the rescheduled match has yet to be determined.
DCFC will now enjoy a weeklong break before heading to AFC Cleveland for a tilt between two first-place clubs on Sunday, June 15 at 3 p.m.
- Jeremy Summitt, DCFC Staff Writer