Friday, May 23 was a night of firsts for Detroit City FC. Le Rouge took on Lansing United for the first time under the lights at Cass Technical High School in downtown Detroit and captain Josh Rogers (Michigan State) scored his first-ever goal in front of the club's first sell-out crowd of 3,112 supporters in the 1-0 victory.
In its inaugural season in the NPSL Great Lakes West Conference, Lansing United proved early in the game that the match would be a tough, even-matched affair. But just 10 minutes in, a penalty kick was awarded to City after Jeff Adkins (Butler) was taken down in the United box.
Rogers stepped up and hit a driven shot to the left that sent United goalkeeper Zach Bennett diving to the right, giving City a 1-0 lead they would hold on to until the final whistle.
"Kevin Taylor is our usual spot-kick guy, and he usually buries them, but unfortunately he was out with an injury," head coach Ben Pirmann said. "Josh just said, 'I got it,' and I said, 'Yeah, you do; you're going to bury it.' And boom. It was inevitable. He's a good player; he's tough as nails; he's smart and he finds the spot, so good for him."
The one-goal contest on Friday night came a week after DCFC netted three goals against the winless Michigan Stars. Determined defending from Le Rouge's back line of Rogers, Nick Lewin (Michigan), Zach Schewee (Bowling Green State), and David Edwardson (Heddon FC, Eng.) held strong to help Bret Mollon (Temple) secure his third consecutive shutout.
The hardest battles were fought in the midfield, where DCFC picked up key plays from Latif Alashe (Michigan) and Cyrus Saydee (Michigan St.). The two shined for Le Rouge, often breaking down oncoming Lansing attacks and stringing possession together to lead City's offense.
The record number of supporters in attendance witnessed gritty play through the duration of the game. There were 16 total fouls called, with DCFC recording 11 of them. The intensity peaked in the 84th minute, when a scuffle at midfield brought all 22 players together in a scramble.
"Both teams lost their emotions a little bit, fortunately we kept ours a little better. But that's part of the game," Pirmann said.
Over the course of the match, Le Rouge picked up four yellow cards, while Lansing was shown two yellow cards and one red.
DCFC, unbeaten in its first three games, has yet to concede a goal as it heads into its first away game of the season next Friday against the Cincinnati Saints at 7:30 p.m. Le Rouge last met the Saints in its home opener on May 10, when Zach Myers (Saginaw Valley State) -- the team's leading goal scorer with three goals -- tallied the lone goal in the 1-0 victory. After the weekend's action, the team currently sits one place behind Indiana Fire in second place in the NPSL Great Lakes West Conference. City will look to build off of the success of its first three games and pick up a crucial three points on the road come Friday.
5/23/14 DCFC LINEUP: Mollon, Lewin, Rogers, Edwardson, Schewee (Ferguson 93'), Vasold (Reynolds 63'), Alashe, Adkins (Mellors-Blair 56'), Saydee (McAtee 75'), Myers (Allan 88'), Lawson (Arnone 45')
Goals: Detroit City FC – Rogers 10' (PK)
Disciplinary: Detroit City FC – Rogers, Yellow 28', Lewin, Yellow 66', Saydee, Yellow, 73', McAtee, Yellow 84' United – Rumbold, Yellow 79', Lamb, Yellow 84', Lamb, Red 85'
Saves: Mollon, 1.
OTHER NPSL SCORES FROM THE WEEKEND:
5/23/14: Indiana Fire 3 @ Michigan Stars 1, Erie Admirals 1 @ Cincinnati Saints 2
5/24/14: Minnesota Twin Stars 1 @ FC Bordo 1, AFC Cleveland 5 @ Cincinnati Saints 2
5/25/14: Michigan Stars 1 @ Lansing United 2, Indiana Fire 2 @ FC Buffalo 1, Madison Twin Stars 1 @ Madison 56ers 1, FC Bordo 1 @ Minnesota United Reserves 2, Ft. Pitt Regiment @ Erie Admirals (inc)