Detroit City FC routed Dakota Fusion FC, 5-1, in the opening round of the NPSL Midwest Region Playoffs Saturday night in front of 6,672 supporters at Keyworth Stadium.
With the victory, City will move on to the Midwest Region Semifinals to face Duluth FC on Friday, July 28 at a location to be determined.
The first half was highly contentious with Detroit pressing hard on a more defensive Fusion side. Dakota opened the scoring in the 20th minute, but it didn’t last long when Shawn Lawson tied it five minutes later.
In the 35th minute, Man of the Match Seb Harris gave Le Rouge the lead, 2-1, after scoring on a penalty kick attempt. The lead lasted into the break.
In the second half, Detroit blew the game open with a goal from Roddy Green right away in the 47th minute. Lawson and Harris each scored a second goal in the second half to ice it for City.
Lawson took a penalty kick in the 76th minute and was denied, but was able to follow-up to bury his own rebound. Then, Harris was in the right place at the right time and easily tapped in a Tyrone Mondi free kick to seal it for City in the 81st minute.
The first half opened with Dakota playing a highly defensive formation, but Detroit still managed to break through with a high pressure start. In the first three minutes alone, City had three corners.
In the sixth minute, Lawson had a great one-touch chance off his foot but it hit the crossbar. The chances kept coming not only for Le Rouge, but for the Fusion also.
Dakota’s Jade Johnson had a dangerous counter opportunity in the ninth minute, but his shot was saved by DCFC goalie Fernando Pina. In the 18th minute, Dakota’s Hartrick Tarr took the ball into the box and nearly scored nearly scored as well.
The Fusion kept attacking thereafter and scored the game’s first goal in the 20th minute. Zuheer Al Abase had a blast from the top of the box, beating out a frozen Pina on the left post.
The lead didn’t last long, however, when Lawson tied tied it in the 25th minute. Cyrus Saydee sent the striker a perfect through-ball and Lawson patiently kicked it in past the diving Fusion goalie, Stephen Harris.
Then in the 34th minute the referee whistled Dakota for a penalty. Harris stepped up and delivered for Detroit to give them an important 2-1 lead into the half.
The first half saw two Fusion yellow cards: Kyle Robbins (21st minute) and Adrian Baclawski (40th minute).
After a contentious first half with the teams jostling back and forth, Detroit blew the game open in the final 45.
Green scored two minutes into the half after being set up nicely by Bakie Goodman and Lawson, giving Le Rouge a 3-1 lead. The striker was all alone in the box and buried it with ease.
Dakota responded well, but were unable to possess the ball in the half like they did in the first. Detroit kept a high press on the Fusion, with quality chances coming from playmakers Mondi and Green, searching for a fourth goal to ice it.
In the 75th minute, Lawson came through again. Dakota was penalized once again in the box, setting up a penalty kick. Stephen Harris saved the initial attempt, but was unable to do the same when Lawson collected and buried the rebound to put Le Rouge on top, 4-1.
Though City had the win sealed, a straight red card to Benjamin Eastwell for tackling Pina in the 77th minute fueled Detroit to get a fifth goal.
Harris tapped in a Mondi free kick from the side of the box in the 81st minute to put City up, 5-1. Rather than windmilling like after his first goal, Harris took a celebratory flip in honor of his second goal of the match.
Second half substitutes for City were Mauricio Castorino and Jordan Tyler in for Lawson and Cyrus Saydee in the 80th minute. Then, Adam Spinks, Jeff Adkins and George Chomakov entered the match for Goodman, Troy Watson and Mondi in the 83rd minute.
Second half discipline were all cards to Dakota. Emran Beljulji received a yellow card (67th), Eastwell took a straight red card for tackling Pina (77th) and Osman Mberwa took the last game’s yellow card (79th).
City’s playoff run will continue next Friday when they face Duluth in the Midwest Region Semifinals at a location to be announced by Monday.
Detroit City FC Starting XI: 0 Fernando Pina (GK), 4 Seb Harris, 5 Stephen Carroll, 9 Shawn Lawson, 10 Cyrus Saydee, 11 Troy Watson, 13 Bakie Goodman, 18 Dave Edwardson, 19 Roddy Green, 23 Zach Schewee, 97 Tyrone Mondi
Dakota Fusion FC Starting XI: 0 Stephen Harris (GK), 2 Hartrick Tarr, 4 Faiz Musa, 7 Sunaj Beljulji,11 Osman Mberwa, 15 Adrian Baclawski, 20 Kyle Robbins, 22 Zuheer Al Abase, 23 Jade Johnson, 24 Damien Robbins, 25 Lewis Grant