It’s safe to assume there’s going to be plenty of trash talked over the next few months about the absolute shellacking Detroit City Football Club took at the hands of Serie A side Frosinone Calcio this evening at Keyworth Stadium. And yes, the score - a humbling, stumbling 10-0 in favor of the Italians - was both astonishingly lopsided and an accurate representation of the football on display.
In truth, Le Rouge - depleted by the absence of most of their NCAA players, and three weeks deep already into the offseason - simply had no chance. Consider the difference in stakes: City was playing its final game of 2018, with nothing to fear and nothing to doubt, while Frosinone showed up absolutely thrumming with purpose, their array of top-flight talent competing madly to prove they’ve got what it takes to play in one of the world’s grandest competitions. The Italians’ superiority in touch, cohesion, and speed of thought was apparent from seconds after the opening whistle, and left the disjointed Le Rouge chasing shadows for most of the match.
“The separation, the difference in quality, was clear,” DCFC head coach Ben Pirmann said. “I think if we play this game three weeks ago, when we had way more players, I think it’s a different story.”
Any hopes Le Rouge had of holding tight and making the visitors sweat a little were dispelled almost immediately. Playing from a canny 3-5-2 shape, Frosinone clearly anticipated their superiority, with six players flooding forward into attacking zones immediately after any City miscue. The first marker arrived less than seven minutes in, when Canarini wingback Cristian Molinaro veered infield from his left-sided station then threaded a seeing-eye diagonal ball that cut out six City players and left striker Camilo Ciano with only the keeper to beat, which he did calmly, slotting a back-post goal past a stranded Max Jewett in the Detroit goal.
The game was still something of a contest - the lead expanded to two by Edoardo Goldaniga’s goal off a knocked-down corner - when Paolo Sammarco effectively put it to bed with a three-minute brace. The midfielder’s first came after some lovely work by Ciano, who took down a teasing looped through-ball, feinted two defenders onto their heels, and set up Sammarco - arriving late from midfield - for a near-post finish. The second was again on a late run from midfield, but this time Molinaro was the provider, bending in a grand cross from the left to the back post for Sammarco to tap home.
At 4-0, the game as a real sporting contest was clearly over, but Frosinone kept the pressure on, slicing through the exasperated City defense again and again. After halftime, the pressure truly came good, as the exhausted and dispirited Le Rouge could only shake their heads as the goals piled up and up and up. By the 85th minute, the score read a bleak HOME: 0 VISITORS: 10, leaving the referee latitude to simply stop play for a couple of minutes when Northern Guard’s massive smoke-wall blew out across the pitch and wafted across most of the more than 7,800 in attendance.
In truth, Detroit City’s support loomed over the entirety of the match, their singing and smoke and swagger utterly charming the many Italian supporters here for the first time. At the end of the game, both sides came to thank the Northern Guard Supporters, with the Frosinone players doing what the pros from St. Pauli and Necaxa did before them - twirling appropriated scarves, they bounced and whirled along with thousands of Detroiters. But one more treat awaited the visitors, as they and their supporters got to join into NGS’ traditional ‘circle tetris,’ used only for the season finale: Standing in a misshapen oval that stretched nearly from one penalty area to another on the Keyworth pitch, we brought the curtain down for the last time this year.
The offseason that looms for Detroit City is full to bursting with both peril and promise. Here’s to the hope that someday soon, the opportunity that has Frosinone Calcio so buzzing and intent - the upcoming season in their top flight - will be replicable here in the home of the free.
DETROIT CITY FC 0, FROSINONE CALCIO 10
DCFC 0 0 - 0
Frosinone 4 6 - 10
Goals: Frosinone - Ciano (Molinaro) 7’, Goldaniga 17’, Sammarco 28’, Sammarco (Molinaro) 30’, Centala (own goal) 48’, Ghiglione 53’, Besea (Ciano) 57’, Ciano 61’, Matarese 66’, Ghiglione 85’.
Detroit City FC (4-4-2): Jewett (Favero 31’, Mendez 80’); Harris (Janicki 61’), Amigo (Centala 31’), Carroll, Barnes; Pio (Saydee 31’), Edwardson, Chomakov, Svehlik (Adkins 64’); Lawson, Amann (Busaidy 31’).
Frosinone Calcio (starters, 3-5-2): Sportiello; Kranjc, Terranova, Goldaniga; Molinaro, Soddimo, Crisetig, Sammarco, Ciofani; Dionisi, Ciano.