It was a long-awaited return home to Cass Tech for Detroit City FC.
But finally, on Saturday night in front of 2,487 supporters, Le Rouge stepped onto the Cass Tech pitch for the first time in 2015 and handed Muskegon Risers SC a 3-1 defeat.
Despite the periods of heavy rain and cloudiness throughout much of the friendly match, Le Rouge's newcomers shined, with Javier Bautista (Ashford) scoring City's two first-half goals in his debut. Bautista was also named the M1 Imaging Man of the Match for his performance.
Along with Bautista, goalkeeper Alexandre Bouillennec (Saginaw Valley) and Bennett Jull (Robert Morris) started for City, with several first-year players making appearances throughout the match.
First-year players Andre Morris (Michigan), James Murphy (Michigan), Tyler Channell (Saginaw Valley), Troy Watson (Saginaw Valley) and Brendan Woodfull (Oakland) all contributed for the Rouge & Gold on Saturday.
Bautista's two goals came 16 minutes apart. His first, in the 16th minute, was set up nicely by Tommy Catalano (Oakland), who weaved a through-ball behind Muskegon's defense and allowed Bautista to take two touches and place the ball into the back of the net.
Following suit on his first goal, Bautista used his speed to get behind Muskegon's defensive line and beat Risers' goalkeeper Reece Richardson to the ball, tapping it around him and slotting it home, giving City a 2-0 lead in the 35th minute.
Muskegon was able to cut the lead in half just after halftime when Jeff McClure beat City goalkeeper Bret Mollon (Temple) at the near post in the 57th minute.
But, much like the rainbow that appeared over Cass Tech during the match, City's offensive prowess was seemingly never-ending. Second-year forward Will Mellors-Blair (Michigan) scored City's third goal in the match, striking home an off-balance shot to the far inside netting in the 86th minute, shutting down Muskegon's hopes and ensuring a 3-1 City victory.
Next up, City travels to Pontiac, Mich., for its second-ever Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup appearance against the 2014 PDL National Champion Michigan Bucks on Wednesday, May 13. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
Friday, May 15 marks the club's National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) opener at Cass Tech against Rust Belt Derby rival AFC Cleveland. Kickoff for that match is also set for 7:30 p.m. Get your tickets in advance while you still can at detcityfc.com/tickets.