Wednesday, April 27, 2016

FTLOF Marquee Match Days: Detroit City FC

In the lead up to the season, every soccer fan looks at the schedule of their favorite club and circles the matches that they are looking forward to the most.

Here at For the Love of Fútbol, we are no different. 

It's no secret that Detroit City FC is gearing up for a very important year. Between fundraising for, renovating and kicking off the season at the historic Keyworth Stadium and fielding, on paper, one of the most talented rosters in club history; supporters, team members and technical staff face a critical year in club progression.

On the schedule are three international friendlies, a highly important 2016 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match, and various NPSL league matches that highlight the fixture list. 

vs. Michigan Bucks (2016 U.S. Open Cup match; May 11)

In the highly anticipated rematch from last year's 3-0 loss at the hands of PDL side, the Michigan Bucks in the first round of the annual competition, Le Rouge looks to avenge their previous loss. 

Despite having only played the Bucks in a mere one competitive match, there is a growing animosity from supporters, players and those within the DCFC organization, against the Michigan Bucks. 

Coach Ben Pirmann has been quite outspoken about his desire to beat the Bucks, saying that defeating the PDL side is the focal point to the beginning of the season. 

If Le Rouge defeats the Bucks in this seasons incarnation of the competition, it will be the first time in the club's history that it advances into the second round. In the second round, DCFC would travel to Kentucky to take on USL club, Louisville City FC.

If DCFC qualifies to play Louisville City FC, FTLOF will be making the trip to Kentucky to provide you, the reader, with extensive coverage of the match up!

vs. AFC Ann Arbor; May 20

Keyworth Stadium is still a work-in-progress when it comes to its renovation; but it should be completed and ready for the May 20 home opener against AFC Ann Arbor. 

Of course, a match up against AFCAA had to make the FTLOF list, although it is with purpose. For an NPSL club to have a soccer-specific stadium dedicated solely to the club is a sight that is very rare in the fourth-tier league. With a growing fan base, the 6,000 person capacity stadium is an advancement from former home field, Cass Technical High School. 

AFC Ann Arbor, in its second year of existence, has entered the NPSL and taken fans by surprise as it announced its roster and with the two clubs proximity, it will be a sight to see as to what kind of rivalry this match up may become in the future. 

vs. FC United of Manchester (International Friendly; May 28)

FC United of Manchester, an English semi-professional club that was created out of disdain for the culture of buying a club for its monetary value and not its core worth, will make the trip across the Atlantic Ocean to face off against Le Rouge at Keyworth Stadium, in a very exciting fixture. 

With 'MLS to Detroit' rumors swirling around the Detroit-area, this meeting between two eerily-similar clubs could not come at a better time. 

The English club was created after American businessman Malcolm Glazer took over Manchester United in 2005. Not liking what they were seeing and fearing a culture change, numerous supporters moved to create FCUM. 

This match between DCFC and FCUM should be a must-see for any football fan, not just DCFC supporters, in the Detroit-area. 

vs. FC Buffalo; June 3 & 5

Despite being labeled as a 'friendly,' these two back-to-back, home and away matches will be anything but a friendly game of soccer. 

The match between two-thirds of the famous Rust Belt Derby is played consecutively, first in Detroit and then in Buffalo, and will take the place of the fan favorite derby, as well as continue the rivalry.

It is yet to be seen as to whether or not these 'friendlies' will constitute the use of the Rust Belt trophy, as the third participant in the season-long competition, AFC Cleveland, are not currently present in the DCFC fixture list. 

Redistricting took place in the Great Lakes regions of NPSL this season to create conferences, taking Detroit City FC out of the league matches against both AFC Cleveland and FC Buffalo and virtually rendering the Rust Belt Derby non-existent. 

There's no doubt that the two matches between the rivals will be enticing for supporters. Maybe two friendlies against AFC Cleveland will pop-up to continue the derby? Only time will tell. 

Oh, and did I mention that FTLOF is also making the trip to Buffalo for the away leg to provide coverage of the match-up...

vs. Lansing United; July 10

Towards the end of the packed NPSL season, fatigue and fitness comes into concern leading into the last week of the campaign. Supporters and members of this Le Rouge team are anticipating a highly successful season, and a final challenge to qualify for the playoffs may very well be its last meeting with Lansing United.   

Whether the match means keeping a lead at the top of the table, battling for the top spot or fighting for a playoff berth; this fixture is easily the most important in the last few weeks of the campaign. 

Despite having a first year head coach in Nate Miller, Lansing United looks like it could be a contender for the top of the table in the Great Lakes West. 

*Remember, these fixtures are purely from the perspective of FTLOF writers, and while other fixtures may tickle your fancy over these ones, they are what we see as the most exciting in the season!

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