It's no secret: Throughout the first half of the season, Detroit City FC has struggled in its matches away from Cass Tech.
In each of its four road matches so far in 2015, Le Rouge has been the team to concede the first goal. But, in two of the matches, City has clawed back from its deficit to earn a point. And in the case of Saturday's match in Cincinnati, Detroit recovered from a one-goal and one-man deficit to pick up its first away win of the season.
Losing back-to-back matchups is not something City coach Ben Pirmann wants, and after Le Rouge fell 3-1 to the Columbus Crew College Program last Wednesday, his message about their match in Cincinnati was clear.
“It’s a must win,” Pirmann said. “It’s a big three points that we need. (In NPSL games) at home, we’re 3-0, and on the road we’re 0-2-1. We need to change that, get some results on the road and not just settle for one point.”
Behind Pirmann’s guidance, the boys in Rouge & Gold followed. Saturday night, DCFC seized its first away win of the year, a 3-1 victory over the Cincinnati Saints.
It seemed, for most of the night, that City would collapse, giving up a goal in just the fourth minute, and then playing with 10 men after Cyrus Saydee (Michigan State) was shown a straight red card in the 68th minute.
For 70 minutes following the Saints’ goal, Cincinnati held DCFC at bay. Though, in the final stretch, City found the energy it needed.
The rally began with a blazing shot from Matt Ybarra (Detroit) that sailed to the top corner of the net in the 74th minute. The magnificent left-footed volley swerved to the upper left, and Cincinnati’s goalkeeper never had a chance. Seven minutes later, Danny Dragoi (St. John’s) connected with a cross from Will Mellors-Blair (Michigan) for the go-ahead goal.
And Le Rouge put the nail in the coffin in stoppage time. Dave Edwardson (Heddon FC, Eng.) dribbled inside the box in the 93rd minute and slotted the ball past the Saints’ goalkeeper for the third and final goal of the match.
An exciting, dramatic finish capped off the two-game week for City, ending on a high note after the friendly loss to Columbus.
Wednesday, City hosted a midweek friendly against the Crew’s College Program. It was a tale of two-halves, and Le Rouge’s best showing came in the first. In the 26thminute, City forward Tyler Channell (Saginaw Valley State) lobbed a clever flick-shot over Columbus’s goalkeeper from outside the penalty box. Channell had run on to the long ball from his college teammate and DCFC defender Alex Isaevski (Saginaw Valley State).
Though, the Crew were not stunned, and former University of Michigan forward Ahinga Selemani tied the game for Columbus before heading into the break. They poured on for two more goals, but despite the loss, DCFC coach Ben Pirmann was satisfied with the performance, as the friendly-circumstances gave him the freedom to experiment on the pitch.
"We got to try out a new formation, new system and new style of play,” Pirmann said Wednesday night. “That’s one of the better teams we’ve played this year, and five or six guys that have never put on that jersey before got to play. Obviously you want to win these games, but to be fair we played pretty well.”
Now, City's looking forward, aiming for its second consecutive road win of the NPSL regular season this Friday, against the Fort Pitt Regiment. Le Rouge return home Sunday, June 28, welcoming in-state rival Lansing United to Cass Tech, with kickoff set for 5:30 p.m. Get your tickets online here.