At the end of the day, Sunday’s rivalry duel between Detroit City FC and AFC Ann Arbor was definitely a City vs. Ann Arbor match.
These two teams have come to dominate the NPSL Great Lakes Conference, but the hard fact is that it is Ann Arbor who have the upper hand on the field, much to the chagrin of the thousands of souls who consider the Rouge & Gold their home club. Tonight was no different, as Le Rouge struggled to create many chances against the visitors’ typically obdurate defensive block, falling 1-0 to a 54th-minute goal by Ann Arbor striker Chris Odhiambo.
“You’ve got to give credit to Ann Arbor,” DCFC manager Ben Pirmann said. “They’re a good defensive team, they’ve got good defensive players.”
City created three shots within the six-yard box, but only one fell on target, and that one was not threatening. In contrast, Ann Arbor’s occasional forays forward yielded 12 shots, seven on goal. City’s ability to keep the ball was rendered empty by their inability to make much happen in the final third, as the Oak spoiled and snuffed and squibbled Le Rouge’s attacking play into a pre-shrunk parody of itself.
The game might have ended square but for a bit of direct attacking coherence from the visitors. Detroit City defender Jimmy Fiscus tried to clear an innocuous lumped ball to the Rouge midfield, but Ann Arbor’s aggressive positioning made the second ball theirs. A quick feed to AZ Liadi on the right wing had the visitors bursting forward, Odhiambo surging into a near-post run. Liadi waited for the markers to declare themselves, then slid the ball to Odhiambo, who blasted it near-post past a helpless Fernando Piña in the City goal for the only marker of the contest.
City responded with an air of desperation, clearly not sure how to make clean chances against the Ann Arbor defense, and the game would peter out without further footballing incident.
With the loss, Detroit City FC (3-1-2) falls to third in the NPSL Great Lakes Conference, and needs to win the remainder of its games to be assured of NPSL playoff action. AFC Ann Arbor (6-2-0) is riding high atop the conference, seven points clear with five matches to play. Le Rouge travels to Milwaukee Friday evening, with kickoff slated for 8:00 pm. City next plays at home a week from today, hosting Grand Rapids FC on Sunday, June 17. Kickoff for that match is set for 5:00 pm and tickets are available at http://tickets.detcityfc.com.
Contributor: Sean Spence, Detroit City FC
Photo Credit: DCFC