June 17, 2017
Fifth Third Ball Park, Comstock Park, MI
NPSL Regular Season Match
Grand Rapids FC 0, Detroit City FC 2
DCFC Shawn Lawson (Tyrone Mondi) 62′
DCFC Bakie Goodman 74′
The third game in a row on the road put us in Grand Rapids, where last season the team and supporters endured their worst-ever loss. But these road-warriors in rouge were on a roll, and revenge was a dish in preparation.
Instead of the Grand Rapids Public Schools-owned Houseman Field, the home pitch of Grand Rapids FC, we found ourselves playing at Fifth Third Ballpark, where the West Michigan Whitecaps minor league baseball team plays. The ballpark holds only around 1,200 more seats than Houseman Field, so one can only assume that a scheduling conflict caused the match to be played on a baseball field.
From the Unusual Pre-Game Incidents Department: The Rouge Rovers met at Vitale’s, a short distance from the ballpark. John Mozena tweeted that a busboy at the Comstock Park sports bar informed him that a family complained about “foul language” used by our supporters, singling out him, Tim Suliman, and me. What? I remember us conversing near the entrance, but “foul language?” I don’t think we were even talking about soccer. Perhaps they were offended by the outrageous number of supporters we had in their bar, and we were the closest to finger.
From the Unusual Game Incident Department: The baseball field. Really? The base lines were covered by poorly covered sod. Never a dull moment in the NPSL, which, to be honest, is what makes being a part of this league more amusing and interesting than being in MLS.
The first half was dominated by Le Rouge, but we almost went into halftime down a goal. Keeper Nate Steinwascher fouled a Grand Rapids forward in the box, creating a penalty kick. Scott Doney went to the spot, and this happened…
Nil-Nil at the half.
In the top of the sixth inning…er, I mean, 62nd minute, Tyrone Mondi lofted a ball from just inside the center stripe, which found the head of Shawn Lawson in the box, popping it up and over the reach of keeper Noah Fazekas’ glove, giving City the lead. This was Lawson’s fifth straight game, in all competitions, with a goal, and the fourth game-winner.
Then, just before the 7th inning stretch…er 74th minute, City set up for a corner kick. It curled in, but was then headed out by a Grand Rapids defender. However, it fell to the feet of Bakie Goodman, who sent a low knuckle-ball back on goal, which Fazekas bobbled (but not between his legs like Bill Buckner), to secure the victory.
Revenge was a dish served hot, on their home plate (actually, closer to first base).
-Over the three-straight road games, City took all 9 points, outscoring the opponents 6-1.
-After four straight victories, the team’s record at the halfway point of the season was 4 wins, 2 draws, and 1 loss, and the sluggish beginning suddenly felt as if it happened last year.
– Five of the last seven matches of the season would be at Keyworth.
The connection between the team and supporters had strengthened. We were all hungry for the next match.