Saturday, July 2, 2016

Detroit City FC draws with Grand Rapids FC despite dominance

Detroit City FC didn't do itself an favors in its race to the postseason by failing to capitalize on a plethora of scoring chance including hitting the posts three times, and failing to convert a penalty kick, which led to a 0-0 draw with Grand Rapids FC on Friday evening.

When the match kicked off, Le Rouge needed to earn all 12 points from its remaining four games in order to advance to the playoffs without any issues, but the draw forced by GRFC, puts a strain on plans, and forced DCFC to earn its remaining nine points and hope for help from teams above it in the standings. 

"Look, they beat us; they have every right to do that [play for the draw]. We were frustrated, we played a great game and we've only been shutout twice now in four years in the league," Detroit City FC coach Ben Pirmann said. "My philosophy as a coach is: we have certain things that we do. No matter our opponent, no matter where we're playing; and it involves movements and possessions and pressure. 

"And if you do that every game, you're going to win a lot. We have good players and we do that every time, but we're a little bit unlucky. We give Grand Rapids credit, that's [playing for a draw] what they had to do. It's nothing earth shattering."

The chances were there for Detroit, but the lack of offensive finishing by the Boys in Rouge led to the entertaining, yet empty, tied game on both ends of the pitch. 

Grand Rapid's strategy for the match was obvious from the opening whistle. They wanted to plant their feet, bunker down and defend masterfully against the fiery Detroit attack, and despite the opportunities that DCFC had found, the GRFC backline never looked out of its element. 

This plan-of-defense was justified in its reasoning, when 23 minutes had gone by and Detroit City's only chance on goal was via a Jeff Adkins corner kick, that was punched away by Grand Rapid's goalkeeper Noah Fazekas. 

It was clear that Detroit City FC was in control of possession throughout the first half, but its possession led to little actual offensive, and a ton of 'almost' production in the attacking third. 

"We worked hard. It's not like our guys aren't passionate, it's not like they don't care. With the possession and the chance; we worked out tails off tonight. You can't really complain," said Pirmann. 

The game started heating up in the second half, and the chances came flying in from every direction for Le Rouge, starting in the 54th minute when Cyrus Saydee let a shot go from 25 yards out, beating Fazekas but ultimately went wide of goal. 

In the 61st minute, Adkins made space for himself, finding a chance to have a go on goal. The shot fooled everyone in the stadium as supporters celebrated a goal, but learning instantly that it had merely hit the outside netting. 

Four minutes later, Detroit City had its chance to walk away from Friday night's game with all three points after Tommy Catalano was brought down in the box, earning a penalty kick. 

Fazekas made his mark on the game by correctly guessing the path of Saydee's shot from the spot, keeping the ball out of the back of the net while also keeping the scoreline even. 

At the dying minutes of the game, Danny Deakin, who played in his final game for DCFC, found the ball at his feet directly in front of goal, with no opposition around him. Fazekas was out of position from defending the prior play, and all Deakin had to do was stroke the ball into the net. 

But instead he powered it off of the crossbar and the chance was gone. 

Detroit City FC finished the match with a primed free kick just outside of the 18 yard box, which looked to be quality Deakin territory, but instead the ball was played quickly with a cross into the box and the final chance was thwarted by Grand Rapids defenders. 

"Tactically, there aren't many things that we can change. The chances are there, we hit the post three times. It is what it is. It's the nature of the beast when you play a tough defensive team," Pirrman said. "At the end of the day, we have three ties at home and that's six points dropped. Our guys worked their nuts off. You cannot debate their passion for the club."

But unfortunately, passion doesn't equate to points in the standings when the club is expected to finish in the top two spots, and with every passing game that reality gets more bleak. 

Detroit City FC now has the added challenge of walking into Hollway Field on Sunday afternoon to play against the season long league leaders in AFC Ann Arbor. Le Rouge must beat the Mighty Oak as well as Lansing United and Michigan Stars FC to get close to the playoffs, and even then it's not a promised destination. 

But Pirmann has a message for those who thing his club is out of contention.

"Obviously, mathematically it is there. And if we have anything we, we've got heart, we've got passion, we've got toughness. We need help, and there's no doubt that we need help," he said. "We have Ann Arbor, Lansing and Stars on three consecutive weekends. We just gave to dial in one game at a time.

"We're unbeaten in four and in that time we've conceded two goals in one game, and only three shots. So our defending has been brilliant, goalkeeping has been great. We just have to move forward and push on from here."

As for Ann Arbor on Sunday.

"Sunday is going to be mission impossible, half these guys are injured and dead; and now Ann Arbor is sitting with their feet up tonight, having a cocktail."

1 comment:

  1. "starting in the 54th minute..."

    DCFC hit the post in the first 45 seconds of the second half.

    GRFC didn't just park the bus, though. Their center forward should have buried that cross in the first half, but managed to whiff on the header.