Monday, May 23, 2016

Detroit City FC shocked by Kalamazoo FC in loss

To say that the beginning of Detroit City FC's season has been tough would be a massive understatement, and Sunday's 3-2 loss at the hands of Kalamazoo FC rendered that statement as true as it could possibly be.

The club from Detroit played in its sixth game over a span of 12 days when it travelled to Kalamazoo, and despite scoring two goals to level the game after allowing two first half goals, Le Rouge walked off the pitch at Mayors Riverfront Park with zero points.

"I don't know if it was much of their attack that got us, they had a shot that hit the post and a long throw in goal; they're direct, they're athletic but it isn't anything we haven't dealt with," Le Rouge coach Ben Pirmann said. "We're sluggish, we're leggy and everyone is to blame for this one; from the players to the coaches on up. 

"The legs, the tiredness and the travel caught up with us, but we also didn't work hard enough."
Just as it had against AFC Ann Arbor and Louisville City FC on Friday and Wednesday, respectively, Detroit City FC came out to play as well as it could despite all of the factors against it on Sunday. 

Play was back and forth through the first 20 minutes of the match, with both DCFC and KZFC pressing up the field and trying to take advantage of crossing opportunities. 

City's Dave Edwardson had a handful of chances within the attacking third, but couldn't get the right angle on a volley attempt from a set piece, and then missed the ball on a header. 
Le Rouge had a great chance squandered in the 12th minute when Andre Morris made his way up the field from the backline, connecting his head with a ball crossed to the near post, although the shot went just wide of the goal. 

Exactly half an hour later, Detroit City FC came very close to opening scoring on the evening, when Cyrus Saydee played the ball back to Jeff Adkins with a clever backheel, however Adkins shot rang the far post and stayed out. 

Three minutes later, KZFC's Brandon Bye gave the home team a one goal lead heading into half, putting the ball into the back of the net during injury time at the end of the half. 

The situation got worse for DCFC after the break, with Kalamazoo FC adding a second goal to its lead only four minutes into the second half, courtesy of Heiko Leinweber. 

Having to fight its way out of a deep hole, the Le Rouge contingent continued to press up the field to try and work itself into a good position for chances on goal, and a result of that pressure led to a KZFC foul within the 18-yard box. 

Saydee stepped up to take the penalty kick, converting his strike with ease and never being threatening by KZFC goalkeeper Beau Prey. 

Feeling more comfortable by cutting the deficit in half, Le Rouge pushed into the attacking third once again, but this time Seb Harris delivered a cross from outside of the 18-yard box, and found the head of Tyler Stephans, who put the ball past Prey with a diving header to tie the match. 

"The work rate once we went down two-to-nothing was good, but I had to make three or four subs[titutions] to do that, so that's unacceptable," said Pirmann. "To me, that work rate to get back into it is the minimum standard, we got chances but we have to make plays.

"Maybe I give too many guys chances, or maybe I don't rotate enough...I don't know."

The celebration of earning at least one point on the road did not last long for City, though, because in the 73rd minutes, Kalamazoo FC struck again, this time by way of Brock Fitzgerald. 

For the last 15 minutes of the game, DCFC controlled a majority of the play, possession and chances but couldn't come up with an equalizer no matter how hard it pressed on the flanks or how many balls were sent over the top of the defense. 

The return of Javi Bautista from injury helped to jumpstart the energy of the offense in the final ten minutes, and whilst Bautista had two chances to convert a tying goal, both shots went wide of the net.

As a result, Detroit City FC finished its hectic two weeks by dropping three points to Kalamazoo FC, who earned its first ever NPSL victory.

"If you asked me five hours that a three-to-two is acceptable I would say 'absolutely not'," said Pirmann after the match. "I know we're tired, I know our legs are heavy but we just have to do better."

Click for full match gallery
City now faces a stretch of schedule that will allow its players to receive a much needed rest, whereas the club won't play another league match until June 10.

Instead, the team has six days competition free before it welcomes in both F.C. United of Manchester from the lower levels of England football, and also past foes, FC Buffalo, into Keyworth Stadium.

"A lot of things didn't go our way in the last two weeks, but this was still set up to get a result," Pirmann told FTLOF. "The next six days are going to be huge, we'll take a break.

"We have to prepare and use these friendlies to get ourselves playing better for the league," he said. "And for an NPSL club to bring over a club like that [FC United of Manchester], I have to imagine that we're going to get another 7,000 fans, and that's incredible, that's why we do this stuff.

"I just wish we could do better in the NPSL league games right now."

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