Monday, June 20, 2016

Detroit City FC defeats Kalamazoo FC for second league win

Leading into Sunday's 1-0 victory over Kalamazoo FC, if you had asked anyone from the fan base to the club staff as to how important the match was, they would have told you that it was the most important game of the season.

But for Detroit City FC, every match throughout the second half of the NPSL season is the most important match of the year. This is because Le Rouge sits on the bottom half of the table after a very slow start to its campaign.

And to even have a glimmering chance at qualifying for the postseason, DCFC has to earn 18 out of a possible 18 points, and hope for some luck out of the teams above it on the table.

Sunday's match against Kalamazoo was a solid step for the Boys in Rouge, who left Keyworth Stadium with its first confident three point performance since May 15 against the Dayton Dynamo.

It's been a difficult month for Ben Pirmann and his team, but the coach seems to believe that the worst is behind them, and it's time to focus on one game at a time to earn the remaining 15 points.

"Our guys felt the pressure a little bit, last week they worked their tails off but we were just a little too loose to concede twice," said Pirmann. "But I told them that when you put on that jersey, it is something special.

"The work rate was tremendous. The fight was there. We had one goal and should have had more. We did the job, and got three points. It wasn't pretty at times but I will say this: we do play some good soccer."

It's been a trend as of late for Detroit City FC that the first half of matches tend to be uneventful, aside from the random rush down the flank that ends in either a save from the opposing goalkeeper or the attack fizzles out.

Sunday was no different for Le Rouge, aside from a Javi Bautista shot in the 14th minute that found the hands of KZFC 'keeper Beau Prey, and went out for a corner. The ensuing corner was then cleared by Kalamazoo defenders.

The dynamic of the game started to change halfway through the first half when Tommy Catalano came on as a substitute for Bautista, setting up the offensive powerhouse combination of Catalano, Danny Deakin, Jeff Adkins and midfield general Cyrus Saydee.

"Cyrus is a special player when he's got the ball, so we have to make sure that we keep getting him the ball," said Pirmann. "Danny, Jeff and Tommy; that front four are very good. Those four guys have to make sure they're working hard defensively as well, but they create so much for our team.

"There's a calmness when they're on the ball."

Despite the slow increase of offensive momentum in favor of DCFC, the first half ended scoreless, but it was clear that the home team was etching closer to a breakthrough.

And that breakthrough finally came in the 62nd minute, when George Chomakov played a beautiful ball over the top, allowing Catalano to tally his second goal of the season.

After the lead was taken by Detroit City FC, the game started to fall in its favor and KZFC couldn't find a way to get itself back into attacking motion.

Catalano came close to notching his second of the evening, deciding to try and volley a Saydee cross that just missed the goal as it blew past Prey.

Click for full match gallery
Even though the scoreline was small in margin, play on the field in the second half was more comprehensive. Le Rouge began to look like it could potentially rediscover the form it had found in its U.S. Open Cup run.

Detroit City FC has a very good chance of gaining more momentum when it hosts bottom-dwellers, the Dayton Dynamo, in its next league match-up. The Dynamo has accrued six losses for a total of four points in the 2016 season, and this match couldn't have fallen at a better time for Pirmann and his team.

"Our guys bust their asses," said Pirmann. "And we have five games left, but we just have to take Dayton. They'll be tough. They battered Grand Rapids today but still lost. They'll be coming in here trying to get any points that they can.

"We'll just keep going from here and continue to work hard for Saturday night.

As for discontent from supporters pertaining to key players having played in a match for Carpathia FC only a day earlier, Pirmann clears the air about players like Dave Edwardson, Nate Steinwascher, Wade Allan, Catalano and Adkins; declaring that there is not an issue with pulling doubly duty, because each player is completely dedicated for DCFC.

"I let guys play in the outside leagues, if they want to do that, I tell them that if they're going to play within 48 hours of a game that they need to let me know," he said. "We just don't want our guys going and playing for teams that we play against. We've had guys that have gone back and forth.

"In terms of freshness and being prepared for the DCFC game. That's all I ask. There were a handful of guys who did it last night [for Carpathia FC of the PLA] and they were ready to go. If not, then I say that they can't do it.

"I've been doing this for four years and I haven't had a single issue."

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