Goal Breakdown: Chattanooga FC 8-17-19

In starting this analysis of goals scored and conceded by Detroit City I want to start by pointing out that I am not a writer nor someone who has any experience talking about soccer. All I am is someone who really likes City in search of more coverage of matches and in true City fashion if you want to see it, do it.

I plan on breaking each goal down into 10 seconds clips and analyzing what happened to lead to each goal. Hopefully some of you find this information useful and find enjoyment from it.

DCFC 1 CFC 0 23’ G: Marcello Borges A: Cyrus Saydee

Throw in for City after a header out of bounds from CFC off a free kick from the keeper. Ball is thrown in to Lawson who is pressured from behind and is able to chip the ball over the three defenders around him to Todd who is unable to retain possession.

CFC begin working up the field but Number 10 for CFC is caught flat footed on a pass and is able to get a toe on the ball bouncing it forward to Tendai who makes an over the shoulder volley, landing in some space for Lawson to control.

Lawson gathers the ball and Cyrus begins making a run up the right side of the pitch, mirrored by Borges on the left. Number 21 for CFC gets caught ball watching in a very deep position and moving towards the ball which allows Lawson to play the ball to Cyrus with tons of space.

Cyrus being very much onside and #21 being way too deep

Cyrus takes a couple dribbles towards the net and pauses to force the keeper to set his feet and then plays it across the goal to a well-positioned Borges who taps the ball into the back of the net to put City ahead 1-0. Both Todd and Lawson were also well behind the defense which is kinda surprising looking at where the defenders were when the play began.

DCFC 2 CFC 0 60’ G: Danny Deakin A: Ryan Peterson

Play resumes with a corner kick for CFC played to the far side of the goal which appears to be played a little too long allowing Crisler to clear the ball with a header. CFC regains possession but a heavy touch causes #25 for CFC to attempt to save the ball from going out of bounds.

Todd fights for the ball along the touch line and kicks it forward to a waiting Peterson who plays it up the touch line. A nice hold on the ball gives Peterson some room to work. Deakin is waiting onside in a really good position for a pass.

#4 for CFC looks to be a bad position, CFC has two players on the ball and no one marking Deakin.

Deakin unmarked and onside. #4 may think he has help behind but #3 is late to the party.

The ball is played into open space for Deakin to run to. He collects, takes a couple dribbles, survive a shove from behind from #3, and then finish by driving the ball through the legs of the keeper making it 2-0 City.

I love watching goal celebrations and #3 sad kicking the ball out of the net is just perfect after that push from behind.

DCFC 2 CFC 1 65’ G: Alun Webb A: Markus Smarzoch

Goal kick for City coming off some pressure from CFC. Steinwascher drives the ball past the midfield line and CFC wins the ball after two successful challenges in the air. A short pass to #25 gets him some space to work.

#25 plays the ball up the right to #7 who has a step on Tendai. Tendai does well to make up the distance but loses the shoulder to shoulder challenge which gives #7 enough time to direct the ball towards the net beating Steinwascher giving us our final. Detroit City FC 2 Chattanooga FC 1.

I hope you enjoyed reading my recap of the goals from this game and if there is interest this may be something that I continue doing.

If you have any suggestions, notice an error, or any other reason want to contact me you can find me on Twitter @frontiere_rob or on the fence at mid field.

Roster Reset: A Look At Who Played in the Friendlies

Detroit City FC has been light on official roster announcements in the time between the end of the NPSL playoffs and the start of the Member’s Cup this Saturday. However, with two friendlies under their belt a picture of who might be Member’s Cup regulars has emerged. Here is a quick overview of who’s still in, who’s new and where they came from, and who will be playing somewhere else this fall.

NPSL Regular Season Regulars Who Are Still Around

Tommy Buono, Stephen Carroll, Jalen Crisler, Danny Deakin, Bakie Goodman, Tendai Jirira, Shawn Lawson, Cyrus Saydee, Max Todd

Almost all of these guys made at least 10 appearances in the NPSL season*, played in one or both friendlies**, and, crucially, do not have any college commitments this fall. I think we can expect the bulk of the Member’s Cup starting XI to come from this group, and many of their roster announcements last spring came with the “full season” tag that at that time indicated they would sign a professional contract.

*Jirira only made 5 appearances, but two were in the playoffs.

**Buono only played against WTFC. The rest played in both.

Other Old Friends

Roddy Green, Nate Steinwascher

Steinwascher seems to be a shoo-in to be our Member’s Cup keeper after playing in both friendlies. Steinwascher made two regular season appearances, but with both Finnerty and Morse in school this fall, City needs a different backstop for the Member’s Cup season and have gone back to someone who has had previous success for the club.

It is harder to tell if Green was a body for a friendly or if he is back for the Member’s Cup season after he only played 27 minutes during the regular season. Green subbed on at 46’ v. WTFC, and did not play v. Indy. Seems that Green could go either way, though it’s possible I missed an official announcement on his status somewhere.

Among guys who played significant NPSL minutes but did not play in the friendlies, I believe that based on college graduation status, Kervin Kenton (who I think was injured), Michael Pimlott, Oscar Gonzalez, and George Chomakov could all technically come back as well.

Who is Definitely Gone

Here are the guys who played significant minutes during the NPSL season who are definitely going back to school:

  • Owen Finnerty, Michigan
  • Moussa Gueye, Eastern Florida State College
  • Hunter Morse, Michigan State
  • Will Perkins, Michigan State

New Faces

There were many people on the friendly rosters that were new to City. While it is still unknown whether or not some were trialists or have been promised spots on the Member’s Cup roster, here’s a little bit of background on each one:

Richard Bryan, D

Bryan started the WTFC match and played the full 90. An English national, Bryan played his college ball at Division II Lander University in South Carolina, where he earned second-team all-conference honors twice, . Landers has played 3 seasons in USL League Two; in 2017 and 2018 he was a regular with Mississippi Brillas, while this summer he made six appearances for the Des Moines Menace.

Marcello Borges, D

This one will be familiar to a certain contingent of the City faithful, as Borges played college soccer for the University of Michigan, where he was second-team all-Big Ten twice. Borges started the WTFC match, playing 60 minutes. Borges is a product of the Red Bulls Academy, and has played with their U-23 squad in USL2, as well as making 3 appearances for the Michigan Bucks. Borges has represented the USA at the U-20 level, though not since 2017. He was drafted by the Colorado Rapids this spring, but was not signed, and does not appear to have played anywhere this summer.

Diego Casielles, M

Spanish national Casielles went 90 v. WTFC before coming on for the closing 8 minutes against Indy. He played for Fairfield College, in the Division 1 MAAC. He was all-conference with 5 goals his senior year, and played in an NCAA Tournament loss to New Hampshire his junior year. As far as I can tell he has never played summer league soccer.

Marlon Evans, M

Marlon Evans played 72 minutes v. WTFC and 45 v. Indy, starting both matches. Marlon Evans has received call-ups for the Guam national team, playing in the opening leg of their recent World Cup Qualifying victory over Bhutan (they lost his leg 1-0, but won the second 5-0). Evans played for NIAA North Greenville University in South Carolina, playing 13 matches his senior year with a goal and an assist. Wikipedia says he played for a team called Wings FC in the Guam Men’s Soccer League, but I think that’s an academy team.

Evans Frimpong, F

Evans Frimpong is a true journeyman. The Ghanaian national has played all around the world, with his most recent stop being at Jarota Jarocin in the Polish fourth division, having transferred from Bahrain. His most successful stints were at the beginning of his career, where he made 69 appearances for the then-NASL Tampa Bay Rowdies, where he won the Soccer Bowl before bouncing around the NASL a bit. I am very interested to see how he plays this fall. He played in both friendlies, coming on for the second half v. WTFC and the final 30 minutes v. Indy.

Esmail Haidan, GK

Esmail Haidan is a recent Hamtramck High School graduate who almost certainly was just an emergency keeper for the friendlies, though they did get him into the end of the WTFC friendly. Cool moment for the kid I’m sure, but I imagine he is unlikely to feature this fall. He made six appearances for Schoolcraft last fall, but they have not posted an updated roster. I don’t know how Junior College eligibility works, maybe he’ll keep being our emergency keeper.

Stephen Kosmala, D

Stephen Kosmala is an English national who played the second half v. WTFC, and the final 18 minutes v. Indy. He played college soccer at Division II Barry University in Florida, where he helped lead them to the D2 National Championship in his senior year (a run which included a win over Richard Bryan’s Lander squad). Kosmala made seven appearances this summer for USL2’s Des Moines Menace.

Yazeed Matthews, F

Matthews played the final 18 minutes v. Indy, though his previous trip to Keyworth was on the other bench. Yes, Matthews’ immediate previous team is AFC Ann Arbor, where he played this summer. Did he score? I don’t know, the AFCAA website doesn’t have any stats. He played 90 minutes in the DCFC@AFCAA game, and was previously subbed off after 65 in the Detroit leg. Matthews played college soccer with Tyrone Mondi at Coastal Carolina, where he scored 13 goals and was named All-Sun Belt his senior season.

Ryan Peterson, F

Peterson played the first half v. WTFC, and the final 18 minutes v. Indy. There’s a lot of guys that show up when you search “Ryan Peterson soccer,” but this one has a Twitter account with Keyworth as his header pic, so I am confident it is this one. Peterson played college soccer for Rutgers, scoring 4 goals his senior season in 2017. He spend 2018 with USL2’s AC Connecticut, where he made 13 appearances. This summer he was elsewhere in the NPSL, playing for FC Motown, in Morristown, NJ. You know, the other Motown.

James Vaughn, M

James Vaughn is another guy who played for AFCAA, and was their team MVP in 2017. The English national played his college soccer for Division II Northwoods University, being one of their primary starters all four years. James made 4 appearances for the Michigan Bucks last summer, though does not appear to have been on this summer’s Flint City Championship squad. We’re buried in this article so I’m just gonna take this opportunity to say, you know, I’m pretty much cool with Flint City Bucks at this point. It looks like after making the move to Flint they actually started trying to be a real club, and I think that’s good. Anyways, I can’t find anything suggesting he played anywhere this summer. Also there’s a bunch of other guys named James Vaughn but I’m fairly sure it’s this one.

A Quick Disclaimer Before I Go

The state of searching for information on lower league soccer is somewhat fraught. I’m fairly certain something I said here is straight up wrong, or I got the wrong guy, or whatever. If that happened, let me know, but please be nice about it.

What the Hell is Going On: A Summary

Chances are you’re one of two types of City fans: someone who has gotten a text from a friend saying “I’ve seen a lot of stuff on twitter, can you explain it to me?” or the person who has sent that text. If you’re the sender, this post is for you. If you’re the receiver: here. Now you don’t have to type the same paragraph again.

For those of us who follow City, the 2019 season has had some amazing highs. But lurking in the background was always the sense that the team’s future plans might not work out in quite the way the fans wanted it to. We knew that we were supposed to participate in the Founder’s Cup later this season, but the western teams were peeling away, and the continued existence of the competition into 2020 seemed uncertain.

Yesterday, the schedule came down from the DCFC website, people noticed that DCFC was no longer on the Founder’s Cup website, and a rumor that DCFC had lined up a major investor was going around. The alphabet soup of the PLS and NISA lit up the lower-league soccer tweetosphere. The most extreme panic subsided pretty quickly, as the NPSL re-announced itself as the “Member’s Cup” (you can’t call it the Founders Cup if it doesn’t end with you founding anything I guess), and City’s fall schedule was settled.

So the questions are: why did this happen, and where do we go from here?

Lower League Soccer and the PLS

While the US doesn’t have a formal pyramid system like most other footballing nations, it does divide its leagues into divisions. The standards for Divisions 1, 2, and 3 are set by US Soccer through a document called the Professional League Standards. This is the PLS you might have heard about. Leagues apply for sanctioning within the division they want, and strictly speaking there is no limit to how many leagues can be in each division. Every team in a league must meet the requirements for that division, though USSF has sometimes granted waivers for things like stadium size when they receive assurances that teams are working on it. Right now, there is one league in each of the top divisions. MLS occupies Division 1. The USL Championship is Division 2, and USL League One is Division 3.

Below that, things get very fuzzy. Technically, there are no divisions below 3. However, many people who follow American soccer refer to the NPSL and USL League Two as Division 4, and the UPSL as Division 5. Divisions 5 and 6 are also dotted with various regional and local leagues. The NPSL, UPSL, and anything smaller than that get their sanctioning from the US Adult Soccer Association, while USL League Two gets sanctioning from the USL itself. (Thank you to anyone who pointed out the original version of this paragraph wasn’t quite right.)

In order for DCFC to expand their footprint, they have to move to a pro league. This much is clear. But they are hamstrung by the PLS, which specifically dictate they need to have an owner with at least a 35% stake whose personal assets are at least $10 million, not including property and their team stake. I differ from many DCFC fans in that I think the PLS having a clause like this isn’t by itself bad. Lower league teams start and fail all the time, and putting up some barriers to entry is good for the overall health of the leagues they are joining. But, the hard rule doesn’t allow for any creativity.

Could the PLS be updated so that the “financial viability” portion can be either the net worth of an owner OR proof of previous club revenue? Could there be a system where D3 teams are just allowed to fall short on one of the PLS criteria? I don’t know, I’m just spitballing, but clearly the PLS is holding back DCFC specifically, and it’d be good if there was a place in the system for clubs with alternative, viable business models to being owned by a rich guy.

The other issue is the close relationship between the various USLs and MLS. Both USL Championship and League One host MLS reserve sides, or sides with roster control agreements with MLS clubs. While many independent teams in both leagues have robust fan bases and cool club cultures, the reserve sides typically don’t have their own fan bases, have players that are indifferent to the league standings, and exist to prop up a league that many DCFC supporters are philosophically against. If you want to own a lower league soccer team, but you don’t want MLS to be involved, there is no where to go, and if you’re a D3 club your predicament is made worse by the rumors that all MLS2 clubs will soon be pushed into USL League One.

So DCFC doesn’t meet the PLS, and doesn’t want to participate in a league populated by MLS reserve sides. The Founders Cup was an attempt to kill two birds with one stone.

The Founders, er, Members Cup

Earlier this year, it was announced that DCFC was one of 11 teams participating in the Founder’s Cup, a fall competition that would eventually lead to a professional league operated by NPSL, starting in 2020. This was exciting, as it created a path for some of the more ambitious NPSL teams to play longer schedules while paying their players. The goal was to establish a fully professional league, get sanctioning through USASA (or something), and skirt the PLS, providing a place for clubs with a different vision.

Slowly but surely, the Founders Cup fell apart. The western teams pulled out one by one. Oakland Roots officially joined NISA (I promise we’ll get to NISA), as did Cal United Strikers FC . Rumors swirled that nothing was guaranteed beyond the Founders Cup in the fall, and that most of the teams were looking to jump somewhere else for 2020. The dream of DCFC playing in an “NPSLPro” seemed to be dwindling by the day. The last straw appeared to be Miami FC officially joining NISA.

Finally, yesterday the Founders Cup rebranded as the Members Cup, with only one western team and the Michigan Stars for some reason. The bright side is it guarantees us matches in the fall. Supporters bought season tickets with the promise of a second, fully professional fall competition, and players (and TMFJ) signed up with that as the vision. The negative is that it put the future entirely up in the air.

What happens to NPSLPro now? No one knows. There are persistent rumors that there will be some sort of long-season division of NPSL, either an annual Member’s Cup-type competition or a full conference of teams playing a longer schedule. But the big rumor that accompanied the Member’s Cup announcement, is that set to join NISA was not only Miami FC, but Chattanooga FC and the Detroit City Football Club.

The National Independent Soccer Association

NISA first was announced in 2017, the new project of long-time soccer executive Peter Wilt. The long term goal included pro/rel, maybe including the NASL (which shut down a short time after). On and off announcements punctuated by long periods of radio silence got us to earlier this year, when current commissioner John Prutch took over, and NISA received sanctioning as a Division 3 league. This was a critical step in launching a fully pro league, and assurance that despite all the struggles in getting started, they could at least make it work on paper. A handful of Founders Cup teams were poached, new teams were announced, and a fall start date was set.

Finally, today a schedule for the NISA Showcase, a competition not unlike the Members Cup, was announced, as well as 8 initial participants. Other clubs have already been announced for 2020’s full league, with rumors of more joining over the offseason. Notably, the NISA Showcase features exhibitions against both Chattanooga and DCFC, both rumored to be joining the league in the 2020.

NISA fills an important hole in the American lower leagues: This is where you play if you want to be a pro league but don’t want to play MLS reserve sides, where you don’t want the away portion of your gate to prop up MLS. It’s an attempt at establishing a league that is truly independent from anything that has been established before. And because it has sanctioning, teams will get automatic Open Cup berths, and get to test their mettle against the other leagues.

One hitch: DCFC still doesn’t meet the PLS, due to the ownership net worth clause. The rumor is that at long last, DCFC has found an investor that meets the criteria. So the question is, is that good?

The answer to that likely remains to be seen. Without knowing who the investor is, it’s hard to know what the impact on our club’s culture will be. With that said, I trust the ownership to only bring on partners that believe in the vision of this club. More concerning for me is that we really don’t know what we’re getting with NISA, and while on paper the league is viable, its history of on-again-off-again… existence is troubling. Hopefully, new leadership, and the anchor of a couple established clubs, are able to give it the stable footing it needs to have time to build something special.

The presence of DCFC and Chattanooga on NISA’s fall schedule, even as exhibitions, indicate to me that this is happening. Detroit City Football Club will likely be putting a professional team in NISA, and possibly maintaining its NPSL franchise to use as a non-pro reserve side. This is going to be an exciting and maybe nerve-wracking time to be a DCFC fan, with a lot of change and uncertainty and hopefully some of our favorites coming back for a full season as professional players.

For us, whether its the Members Cup or NPSLPro or NISA or whatever comes after that the refrain is the same: See you at Keyworth.

Detroit City ‘Til I Die

Over the years I’ve always been envious of the people who had their overseas soccer/football team that they are a die hard supporter of. Some are Manchester United, some support St Pauli, some support smaller more local teams for a variety of reasons. Some people have family there, some randomly picked the team. I’ve always wanted to wake up at 7AM to watch a terrible stream from the other side of the globe to support a team. I’ve always wanted to care so much about a loss that I am heartbroken. I’ve wanted to care so much about a win that I cry with joy.

But I could never pick one. I never felt that allegiance or that belonging to any team. No team ever felt like it was mine.

Until Detroit City FC.

When I walked into Harry’s for that first ever match, I had no idea what I was getting in to. I even left my scarf in the car because I thought it might be weird to bring it in and that no one else would be wearing one. My world changed. I found my place. Since then the Detroit City FC community has become more to me than I ever would have thought. I’ve driven 14 hours a day hours only to turn around and work the next day. I’ve spent countless hours in cars with people that I wouldn’t know for any other reason than Detroit City FC. I’ve found my last two jobs because of the people I’ve met from within this community. The amount of good that has been done in the community because of this team makes me tear up sometimes.

I am so happy that I don’t need to wake up at 7 am on a Saturday to watch my team. I’m so happy that my team is right here in my backyard. This is all so much more than that. Detroit City FC is where I belong. My family and friends may not always understand but all of you do. It’s not the players, it’s not the coaches, it’s not the owners, it’s not supporters, it’s the Spirit of the Detroit City Community.

DCTID

Photo Credit: Dan Garnell

Photo Credit: Screenshot of Detroit City FC Season 2 Post Match Video

Photo Credit: Dan Garnell

So What Now?: Playoff Scenarios and a Guide to Matches That Still Matter

Here’s the short version: DCFC gets the first seed and a first round bye if its the only division champion that wins this weekend, and the second seed and a first round bye if only two division champions win this weekend. If all three division leaders win OR in most cases where DCFC doesn’t, DCFC is locked into hosting a first round match against Rochester Lancers. A Minneapolis draw is basically a win, a Cleveland draw is basically a loss.

But you’re reading a blog about a fourth division soccer club. You probably want the long version.

Detroit City FC clinched the division championship in a very exciting road win over rival Ann Arbor last Sunday. However, they don’t just get to coast in this Saturday’s contest at Kalamazoo, there is still regional seeding to play for. 

The top 2 teams from each of the Midwest Region’s three conferences will make the playoffs, with the champions seeded 1-3 and the runners-up seeded 4-6. The seeding shall be determined among the conferences by points per game, a wild system considering DCFC and the Great Lakes plays 14 games, while the East only plays 10 and the North plays 12. I have a lot of thoughts about who this is an advantage for, and whether or not this system has historically be an advantage or disadvantage for the division that played the most games is a great idea for another post. My hunch is that the teams that come off the worse are the teams that play the fewest games, not the most.

The two division champions with the best PPG get a first round bye, with the third division champion hosting a first round match on Tuesday July 16. After the first round, the semi finals will be on Friday July 19th and the finals on Sunday July 21st, with both rounds occurring at a single venue decided on by vote of the owners. I’d imagine that Keyworth would be seriously in the running to host these rounds for atmosphere reasons, but I can understand why they’d defer to teams with a “higher” seed, and try to spread around playoff hosting.

The truth is Keyworth’s only guaranteed chance to host a playoff match is by DCFC not getting a first round bye, and if that’s something you want I understand where you’re coming from. But I believe they have a better chance at hosting the semis and finals if they get that bye, making both the seeding case and the spreading-the-love case for a Hamtramck hosting bid stronger. Personally I’d prefer the bye whether we host or not.

In the first round, matchups are determined by geography, with the two Easternmost teams playing the two Westernmost teams. This guarantees that Detroit would play the East second place, leaving the second place Great Lakes and North teams to play. (I think this also means if City does get that bye, the East teams will play each other.) In the semis and finals, teams are seeded based on regular season record, meaning the #1 seed is guaranteed to avoid playing another division champ in the semis.

Here’s a look at the current playoff table:

So, if you read the Reddit version of this piece you may have seen a different table and folks, I don’t want to talk about it. This one is right. (And the rest of the math in the Reddit post is right.) Anyways, as you can see City is currently in the third seed, and as both MCFC and CSC have higher possible PPG, to some degree the most likely outcome is that they stay there. But with some help, they can avoid that fate.

Basic scenarios:

DCFC GETS THE #1 OVERALL SEED (AND BYE) IF:

  1. DCFC wins, Minneapolis loses, Cleveland draws or loses.

DCFC GETS THE #2 OVERALL SEED (AND BYE) IF:

  1. DCFC wins, Minneapolis loses, Cleveland wins. OR
  2. DCFC wins, Minneapolis wins, Cleveland draws or loses. OR
  3. DCFC draws, Cleveland draws or loses. OR
  4. DCFC loses, Cleveland loses, Rochester draws or loses.

DCFC GETS THE #3 OVERALL SEED (AND HOSTS RD 1) IF:

  1. Minneapolis wins or draws, Cleveland wins. DCFC result is irrelevant.

Which one of these scenarios is most likely is up for some debate, and depends how you feel about the actual games. DCFC isn’t the only team with stakes: both the East division championship and the rights to the second seeds from the North and Great Lakes division are still up for grabs.

Remaining Games with Stakes

Great Lakes Division:

DCFC @ Kalamazoo FC, 3pm Saturday: DCFC is playing for seeding, Kzoo is playing for pride. They are the only team who handed DCFC a regular season loss so who knows.

AFC Ann Arbor v. Toledo FC, 6pm Friday: Ann Arbor can clinch the playoffs with a win, but a draw or loss leaves them vulnerable to being caught by GR, who is only one point back. Toledo, of course, really sucks with the first meeting being a 4-1 AFCAA win, so the obvious prediction is that AFCAA takes the 3 points and heads to the playoffs, but if that doesn’t happen…

Grand Rapids FC v. Michigan Stars, 7:30pm Saturday: If Ann Arbor doesn’t take 3 points and Grand Rapids does, Grand Rapids steals the last playoff bid. However, Ann Arbor holds the tiebreaker so Grand Rapids would need a win. The Stars did upset the Blues in their first meeting, but GR gets lucky as it will go into the game knowing what the stakes are, due to AFCAA playing first. Am I rooting for Toledo and Grand Rapids this weekend? I’m not committing to saying “no.”

North Division:

Med City FC @ MPLS City FC, 7pm Friday: The match of the weekend. While MPLS has sown up the division, Med City can be caught and miss out on the playoffs. Med City will be going all-out for the win and the chance to clinch the division, hopefully taking the win and opening the door to DCFC’s first round bye. The first meeting was a 1-1 draw at Med City’s place, with Minneapolis scoring an equalizer at 87′. Remember, an MPLS draw is enough for them to clinch the PPG lead over DCFC.

Duluth FC v. LC Aris FC, 7pm Friday: If Med City does lose or draw with MPLS, look for Duluth to take their playoff spot, as they face the North Division’s worst team.

East Division:

Cleveland v. FC Buffalo, 4pm Saturday: Cleveland hasn’t actually clinched the division championship and can do so with a point against FC Buffalo. Buffalo is playing for pride and hopefully will be looking to send their season out on a high note and do a little favor for their old pals in Rouge, while avenging a 3-0 home loss in the first meeting. RIP Rust Belt Derby. Would have loved to see it in the playoffs.

Rochester Lancers @ Erie Commodores FC, 7pm Saturday: Remember Erie? You hate them? They’re not trying to make the playoffs but they are at home against a team that has already clinched the playoffs. This game only matters if Cleveland loses, and barely factors into the DCFC scenarios. Erie did win the first meeting, but a draw last week knocked them out of playoff contention.

A Prediction/Hope

While on paper it might seem that our best hope for a first round bye is a Cleveland draw, I think there’s a better chance that Med City comes out swinging, needed a win to sew up a playoff bid against a Minneapolis team that might have its foot off the gas with the division title in hand. Their first meeting almost resulted in a Med City win, so its not as if they’re overmatched. Buffalo hasn’t had such a bad season that a Cleveland upset is out of the question, but Cleveland has only given up 8 goals this season, second in the region to DCFC’s 5. A weekend where everything goes wild and DCFC stumbles into the first seed and parlays that into hosting the semis and finals would be pretty sweet, but I think that’s something of a long shot. Hopefully the second seed is enough for the league’s owners to send the playoffs to Keyworth. If everything goes chalk, a date with Rochester is hopefully just a warmup for a big playoff weekend.

Yes, this is basically the same post that was posted on the r/DetroitCityFC subreddit, a place where I encourage you to hang out. Miko asked me to post it here, and I’m going to try to post more stat-y and research-y things. You can follow me on twitter @jmwink_, but you don’t have to.

2019 NPSL Midwest Region, Great Lakes Conference Table (Through July 7)

With that 1-3 away victory at Ann Arbor, DCFC clinches the Great Lakes Conference regular season title.

Even a Grand Rapids victory, Ann Arbor victory, and DCFC loss next weekend (worst case scenario) would still see DCFC finish 1st (even with Ann Arbor on points with 30, but DCFC wins the head-to-head tiebreaker).

That being said, to ensure a top 2 finish in the Region, DCFC need to close out their regular season with a win at Kalamazoo, and then hope the leaders in the other conferences (Mpls City in the North and Cleveland in the East) drop some points for their Points Per Game to take a hit. A win against K’zoo would bring DCFC up to 33 points on 14 matches (2.357 PPG).

Buffalo and Rochester ended earlier today in a 1-1 draw, which means the East looks like this:

Cleveland face FC Buffalo 4pm on Saturday, July 13th. A draw or loss for Cleveland would leave them below 2.357 PPG.

The North, meanwhile, saw Minneapolis City defeat Duluth 4-2, so that their table looks like this:

Minneapolis City clinch the North title with that victory. However, they face Med City in the final round of matches, and Med City are still battling it out for 2nd place in the conference. If Med City were to beat Mpls City next Friday night, that would also leave them below 2.357 PPG.

So hold your horses, folks. It ain’t over yet. Next Friday/Saturday will see the playoff seeding decided. Then it’ll be a short 3 days before the Quarterfinals on the 16th, followed by the Semifinals on the 19th and the Final on the 21st.

Strength and inspiration

Nice job on the clinching boys! Now it’s time to bring home two more pieces of silverware.

A fantastic 1-3 result gives Detroit City FC the conference championship and a seed in the playoffs. This club is incredible. Unlike last season, they are better able to read each other and anticipate where to put the ball. It’s a sight to see for an amateur club playing professionally. They’ve been the best team on every pitch since before the Prideraiser campaign began. TMFJ has easily fit right in and shown what his management is worth. The club, each player, and the fans have been a spectacular sight to see. I don’t want this to be cheesy, but I’ve found strength in myself through City.

I’ve been having a difficult time away from absorbing the atmosphere. This club means so much to me and watching through a screen, unable to engage in the psychological warfare, has been difficult. I’ve progressed through my degree, only sacrificed one match for a social gathering, and here I stand facing my largest challenge to date, the dissertation. I had little faith in this season for city. I watched the friendlies, cheered them on from my living room, and felt like something was missing. They found that something early on and have not looked back since. City began with scaffolding and laid down real foundations for greatness. Likewise, I’m taking inspiration from this club.

With every word, like every pass – with every well-structured argument, like every goal – with every section completed, like every win – I take inspiration from this club. They were able to show strength, will continue to show strength, and will win their first ever national championship – just as I will complete my degree and come home to watch them win the Founders Cup. This team is different and much better than the one last year (just as we are all different people from last year). This club and the dynasty which will be built from it inspires greatness in each of us. We should all hope to do better than we have done. We are all capable.

There are big things ahead for DCFC and it won’t be easy, but what is temporary gives the opportunity to build permanence in the structure. I want this club to survive long after we all die and those memories be passed along to future supporters born in 2119 CE and further. Likewise, I hope to make a real impact one day in changing public perception of policy-relevant science which may outlive me. Maybe my ideas will change and I may fail, just as the players who wear the crest will change or fail. The optimism of impact provides a drive for greatness. I will watch every possible match I can and will never give up on this club. DCFC is greater than any one idea, fan, player, coach. That’s why I gain inspiration from Detroit City FC’s perseverance and strength.

Detroit City FC deserves immortality.

2019 NPSL Midwest Region, Great Lakes Conference Table (Through July 5)

Ann Arbor’s 0-2 victory over FC Indiana combined with DCFC’s 1-1 draw against Grand Rapids means a 1st-place tie on points with 2 matches remaining in the league. Grand Rapids is still in the race for 2nd place (which earns a berth to the Midwest Regional Playoffs).

Two of Sunday’s matches, FC Indiana vs. Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor vs. DCFC, will have playoff implications.

2019 NPSL Midwest Region, Great Lakes Conference Table (Through June 30)

After an over-filled slate of league fixtures over the weekend (that saw everyone except DCFC and AFC Ann Arbor play twice), the gaps between the top 3 in the table have stayed the same.

Le Rouge continues to have a 2-point lead over AFC Ann Arbor, and a 4-point lead over Grand Rapids FC.

Grand Rapids took three points from two home games with a 1-0 victory over Kalamazoo on Friday night followed by a 0-2 loss against Ann Arbor on Sunday afternoon.

The last 3 rounds of league fixtures will be quickfire, taking place between July 3rd and July 13th. DCFC’s next league match is Friday, July 5th, at home versus Grand Rapids FC. Kick-off is scheduled for 7:30pm.

2019 NPSL Midwest Region, Great Lakes Conference Table (Through June 23)

After today’s stunning 3-2 home win by the Michigan Stars over Grand Rapids FC, Detroit City keeps that 4-point gap on Grand Rapids, though now Grand Rapids has just one game in hand remaining.

Next Friday’s match between Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo, and next Sunday’s match between Grand Rapids and AFC Ann Arbor will be important to help define the narrative of deciding who will finish Top Two in the division, and qualify for the Midwest Conference Playoffs.