Less than 48 hours before the kickoff of today’s Detroit City FC match against Milwaukee Torrent, Le Rouge were possibly at the lowest point of the season – eliminated from NPSL playoff consideration after a viciously competitive and frankly heartbreaking 4-4 draw in Grand Rapids – which, naturally, raises the question of motivation: On a witheringly hot evening, absent any trophies to chase, how would City approach the match?
Any thought that the Boys in Rouge would phone in a late-season dead-rubber match were answered emphatically, as City dominated the Milwaukee side.
“I told the team before the start: Any time you put on that shirt, you put on that badge, it’s a different thing,” DCFC manager Ben Pirmann said. “That’s a kind of pressure itself.”
From the kickoff, it was clear that City was intent upon dispelling the ill feelings from Friday’s match, as Trevor Amann nearly ran onto a ball from Stephen Carroll in the first 20 seconds. The first goal, 20 minutes in, came down Amann’s left flank, where Le Rouge had focused most of their attacking attention. Roddy Green won a ball on the right side of midfield, switching it immediately to Amann. Trevor’s cross didn’t find a target, instead bobbling all the way through the zone to Green, who dribbled through a double-team to allow runs to develop then slid a ball to late-arriving captain Dave Edwardson.
Edwardson did what he does in that situation, walloping a finish through traffic to hand City a 1-0 advantage.
Milwaukee tied the match briefly after a City defensive breakdown, as Andrew Wiedbach’s back-post run was completely untracked, allowing him to find Mark Hutchison at the spot for a simple finish. The score was now level at 1-1.
In the aftermath of the goal, City didn’t slacken. Green, exceptionally active throughout the half, outfought two Milwaukee players for a ball in the attacking zone, finally bursting through them into the area after the skirmish. His sharp, tight-angled shot was saved by Agustin Rey, but the rebound fell to Shawn Lawson, who roofed it for a lead that the Boys in Rouge would only extend. It was 2-1, just before the half.
The second half became a war of attrition, with City’s greater depth finally breaking the visitors’ spirit. Barely five minutes into the half, a half-cleared Detroit corner fell to Carroll, whose attempt to dribble in the area got crowded out, only for the ball to fall to Amann, who kept it simple, using his first touch to bang the ball inside the back post. Detroit’s lead was extended to 3-1.
But the real conga-line of joy formed up in the last 10 minutes. With Northern Guard roaring approval, and no reason to let up, a host of fresh City attackers punished Milwaukee’s defense.
In the 82nd minute, Detroit defender Cory Miller, surrounded by a cloud of pressing Milwaukee attackers, simply steps through the pressure, playing four guys out with one step. He found Jakub Svehlik, who used a 1-2 with Louis Dargent to move into the attacking zone, where he gave to Brogan Shrimpton. Shrimpton, playing back to goal, is swarmed so he can’t turn, but he does manage to slide the ball to Jonathan Barnes, arriving on the right side of the area. Barnes clipped a clean finish to make it 4-1.
Three minutes later, Barnes storms in again in the right channel, this time switching roles with Svehlik, who finishes Barnes’ feed simply back-post. The lead was now 5-1.
The scoring continued in the 92nd minute. With smoke still wreathing the stadium from the previous two goals, it’s Svehlik once again, this time turning into a mammoth pocket of space just above the area. Surveying his options, the playmaker selected the best pure finisher on the club, finding Lawson in the right channel for a well-struck finish for a 6-1 lead.
Detroit City FC (5-3-3) finishes its NPSL schedule Saturday at Kalamazoo FC.
Contributor: Sean Spence/DCFC
Photo Credit: Jon DeBoer/DCFC