Monday, July 10, 2017

Detroit City FC defeat Lansing United in comeback win to qualify for NPSL playoffs, look ahead to AFC Ann Arbor

A second half goal from Cyrus Saydee was enough for Detroit City FC to qualify for the 2017 NPSL playoffs, fighting back for a 2-1 comeback victory over Lansing United for the clubs first-ever victory in East Lansing.

With the loss, Lansing United was effectively knocked out of contention for a playoff berth. AFC Ann Arbor clinched a spot earlier in the week with Detroit City earning the second and last postseason spot on Sunday.

"We've won nine games in a row this season but in summer leagues it's hard to build consistency and we've achieved that. Goal number one was to get into the playoffs," DCFC head coach Ben Pirmann said. "Now there are two games left and we want to pick up six points, it's all there to play for.

"We want to get our best foot forward and whether that's able to get a bye or playing first round and hopefully a home game in front of you crazy animals (speaking about supporter group Northern Guard Supporters)."

Sunday's victory was DCFC's 11th total victory dating back to May 27th, and its ninth consecutive league win. The impressive winning streak has pushed Le Rouge into first place in the Great Lakes Conference, leapfrogging AFC Ann Arbor.

The Mighty Oak have held the top spot for a majority of the season. DCFC and AFCAA were scheduled to battle it out for first place last Friday, but lightning postponed the match until Tuesday the 11th.

In the first half of Sunday's meeting between the (then) second and third place clubs, it looked like the match could go in either clubs favor. Lansing looked threatening in its attacking third, taking a few chances that went wide of City goalkeeper Fernando Pina.

Persistence paid off for the home side and in the 43rd minute, longtime player and captain, James DeCosemo, got past the City defenders and put the ball past Pina to keep Lansing's playoff hopes alive.


Two minutes later, and right before the halftime whistle, City forward Shawn Lawson brought the match level, capitalizing on a Bakie Goodman chip to the far post. The ball just barely crossed the line behind United 'keeper Jimmy Hague.

The wheels started to fall off for Lansing United in the second half.

Getting the ball into the attacking third became more and more difficult, which was problematic for coach Nate Miller because a draw on Sunday would still knock his club out of playoff contention. Miller needed the win.

With his club with its back against the wall for a large part of the second half, Miller's season hopes came crashing down in the 57th minute.

Detroit City journeyman and maestro midfielder, Saydee, found the ball at his feet, floated through two Lansing defenders and avoided a sliding Hague to calmly give Le Rouge a 2-1 lead.

"Everyone on this team has to work hard," Pirmann said. "Cyrus (Saydee) has helped our cohesion and the build up to the attack. He's key to this team, and no one player is better than the other but he definitely pulls some strings in that midfield."

That lead held through the rest of the game, and saw United defending for the better half of 30 minutes despite needing two goals to keep its season alive.

Understandably, Miller was disappointed in how his clubs season played out after a very strong start to the campaign that saw United hanging on to second place.

"The blueprint was really strong and we were executing very well in the big picture and we were right where I wanted us to be. The way it turned out, this season is on me. I couldn't 'right the ship' when players left and got injuries, when games come so fast, I take responsibility for that," Miller told FTLOF. "This is a hard league, and 2014 was a very different league and it's very different.

"The intensity of competing for Michigan players is so big. You have big markets in this state and its hard. I really thought we had the team to do it this year and that was correct. We had some misfortune along the way, but at the same time no one gives a crap about misfortune. People care about winning.

"I'm disappointed, the past two weeks I was trying to find a solution and I wasn't able to. I'm proud of the players and how they worked, but it just wasn't enough to beat Detroit.

"I truly believe we could have won the league this year. Detroit and Ann Arbor are the top teams, but we were on our way and things went against us, and that is soccer. But for me it's not good enough, I'm going to keep pouring my heart into building a winning team."

The next task for Detroit City FC is to take on AFC Ann Arbor on Tuesday, which will continue a battle for first place that will presumably last until the last minute of the season.

City's last defeat was at the hands of AFCAA back on May 21st.

"We have to make sure that we're fresh for Tuesday night, the goal is to make sure that we are truly focused for that game," Pirmann said about facing AFC Ann Arbor. "It's all there to play for. It's going to be really hard because they're sitting there with their legs up relaxing.

But we'll be ready to play."

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