Detroit City FC edges closer to first place, trails Lansing United by one point

During the 2014 NPSL season, the pure dominance that Detroit City FC has displayed at home just hasn't been matched by any club in the nation.

Le Rouge has outscored its opponents by a margin of 13-2 in six matches, won all but just one of those -- a 2-2 draw against the Erie Admirals on June 6 -- while the five other games have ended in shutout victories. Sunday, Le Rouge never strayed away from that trend, picking up a convincing 2-0 victory over the Cincinnati Saints behind the attack of Jeff Adkins (Butler) and William Mellors-Blair (Michigan).

"We did what it took, but we were definitely sloppy," said head coach Ben Pirmann. "To be fair, Cincinnati is a tough team and they're definitely not what their record shows. They're really well-coached and they make it difficult for us, so credit to them."

The dynamic duo of Adkins and Mellors-Blair connected for both goals, as each picked up a goal and an assist to steal the spotlight all afternoon. It was the speedy strike Adkins who netted the first goal in the ninth minute of the game off a beautiful cross by Mellors-Blair. And in the 52nd minute, the two would link up again to double the City lead when Adkins sent a ball in the middle of the pitch to Mellors-Blair, who ripped a rocket of a shot from 25 yards out that quickly found the back of the net.

"We're not traditional strikers," Mellors-Blair said. "We're more tricky and deceptive. The link up is well, and we're just different strikers."

It was the first time Adkins and Mellors-Blair lined up at striker together, but Pirmann insisted that his players have roles rather than outright positions. Adkins, Mellors-Blair, and TJ VanSlooten (Michigan) all acquired the role to put the ball in the back of the net, and the trio didn't disappoint. Van Slooten came inches from joining the other two on the score sheet after ringing a curling shot off the crossbar in the 37th minute.

Bret Mollon (Temple) enjoyed another favorable day behind Detroit City FC's stout back line. Thanks to the efforts of Josh Rogers (Michigan State), Michael Lamb (Saginaw Valley State), Zach Schewee (Bowling Green), and Jon Evans (Oakland) on defense, Mollon was never forced to make a save all afternoon.

Still, City's goalkeeper deserves a multitude of credit for the string of shutout victories at Cass Tech this season. In his first year as the starting netminder, he's been as consistent as Pirmann and the rest of the team could have hoped.

"We've got a great back line," Mellors-Blair said. "Josh Rogers, the captain, has been solid. Michael Lamb has been solid all season. Bret Mollon comes for everything, and he's a really great goalkeeper."

Sunday's victory pushed DCFC into first place in the Great Lakes West Conference for several hours after the match, at least before Lansing United edged out the Michigan Stars, 1-0, late Sunday night. The current standings have Le Rouge trailing Lansing United by only one point, but City still has one game in hand that could make all the difference as the regular season winds down next weekend.

DCFC's final home game of the season is Friday, July 11 at 7:30 p.m. at Cass Tech. Tickets are available here.

Editor's note: During the 44th minute of Sunday's match, the Northern Guard, Detroit City FC's supporter group, organized a tribute to John Bieniewicz, a 44-year-old man and soccer official from Westland who died after being assaulted by an irate player he had ejected from an adult soccer match in Livonia. The normally boisterous group observed a moment of silence while holding up red cards to honor Mr. Bieniewicz.
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