June 12, 2016: vs Lansing United (NPSL Regular Season)


June 12, 2016
Keyworth Stadium, Hamtramck, MI
NPSL Regular Season
Detroit City FC 2, Lansing United 2
DCFC  Tommy Catalano (Cyrus Saydee) 33′
Lansing  James DeCosemo 47′
DCFC  Jeff Adkins 79′
Lansing  Alec Greene 83′
Attendance: 4,344

This was only our second regular season home match, Le Rouge came into it with a record of a win, two draws, and a pair of losses; the most recent match the flat performance in Grand Rapids less than forty-eight hours earlier.  A spark was needed.

Yet things felt off.

I didn’t go to Fowling Warehouse for the march. After brunch at the Polish Cafe, I wandered over to Detroit Donuts to satisfy my chocolate addiction.  As I sat there, an older gentleman named John, struck up a conversation after noticing my wardrobe.  A long-time Hamtramck resident, he had been a football coach at the high school years ago, and was both sharing stories and asking questions about Keyworth.  The conversation was engaging, causing me to arrive inside the gates just before the supporters marching from Fowling Warehouse.

Upon entering the grounds, I noticed that the banners and flags in the Supporters’ Section were hanging upside down.  A message that the ship needed righting was being sent.  Furthermore, it seemed that the supporters were late to the pre-game chants.  There was no “Lansing…Come Out and Play,” and as the players took to the field, the “Come and Get It” chant kicked off late.

City took the lead twice, and surrendered it twice.  There could have been a handball called on a Lansing defender in the box that wasn’t.  It was an intense game, and when Billy Stevens was issued a yellow card on a tackle right in front of the DCFC bench, Assistant Coach Josh Rogers earned an ejection for exchanging some choice words with the referee about issuing the yellow card after ignoring Lansing’s Jake Prud’Homme who, minutes earlier, stomped down on a City player’s leg.

The sun set behind the general admission bleachers with City still looking for its first regular season victory on our new home pitch.


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June 10, 2016: at Grand Rapids FC (NPSL Regular Season)


June 10, 2016
Houseman Field, Grand Rapids, MI
NPSL Regular Season Match
Grand Rapids FC 5, Detroit City FC 2
DCFC  Jeff Adkins 12′
GCFC  Scott Doney (Greg Timmer) 20′
GCFC  Scott Doney (Peter Brown) 23′
GCFC  Tyler Fischer (Trent Vegter) 41′
DCFC  David Edwardson 59′
GCFC  Joseph Brookhuizen 67′
GCFC  Joseph Brookhuizen 75′

Our first trip to Grand Rapids.  I was able to arrive in town early and have lunch with a high school friend at Schuler Books & Music.  It was from him I learned that, during my drive, hockey legend Gordie Howe, had died.  With Muhammad Ali’s funeral being held this day, the sporting legends of our childhood were leaving us.  Gordie had the biggest influence on me over the years, which I reminisced about on the weekend.


After lunch and spending quality time at Schuler’s, I met up with the Northern Guard at Logan’s Alley.  My friend informed me that the local sports talk radio station announced that we were going to be there.  Our reputation precedes us, I suppose.  It was from there we marched to the match.


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I have attended and wrote about fifty-eight previous Detroit City FC matches.  And though there have been losses, this was the first match where the team’s performance was just not there.  Cody Lang, the keeper, had just flown in from the west coast and rode a bus to arrive in time for the match.  However, his jetlag should not have rippled throughout the entire team.  Yet it did.

We took the lead early, but then allowed the next three, taking us down 3-1 into half time.  They were beating us on crosses in the box.  Dave Edwardson drew us within reach in the 59th minute.  But as we pressed for the equalizer, it left us exposed in the back, allowing Grand Rapids to bang in two more past us.

Everyone, in every line of work, has a stinker of a day some times.  It took Detroit City FC to (my) Game Number 59, over four-and-a-half seasons, to have their first stinker.  On the positive, I guess that means we’re good until 2020 for the next sour performance.

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June 3, 2016: vs FC Buffalo (Rust Belt Derby, Leg One)


June 3, 2016
Keyworth Stadium
Rust Belt Derby, Leg One
Detroit City FC 2, FC Buffalo 1
DCFC  Jeff Adkins (Cyrus Saydee) 24′
DCFC  Tommy Catalano (Cyrus Saydee) 43′
BUFF  Romario Guscott 73′

Attendance 4,413

The Rust Belt Derby.  Established in 2012 by the supporters of AFC Cleveland, FC Buffalo, and Le Rouge, the format has changed forms over the years due to the NPSL’s annual realignment.  This year, with Detroit City FC in the Great Lakes West Conference, and the other two teams in the Great Lakes East Conference, the schedule did not feature matches involving Le Rouge and Cleveland or Buffalo.  The teams would have to work something out in order to keep the derby alive.  It was settled that the 2016 Rust Belt Derby would be a home-and-home friendly between Detroit City FC and FC Buffalo.  AFC Cleveland chose not to participate.

The first leg of the match was held in Detroit on this Friday night.  The second leg on Sunday afternoon in Buffalo, less then 48 hours later.

AFC Cleveland won the first Rust Belt Derby in 2012, but since then, Detroit City FC has owned the trophy.  A four-peat seemed inevitable.

With goals in the first half by Jeff Adkins and Tommy Catalano, Detroit City FC took the first leg of the derby by a 2-1 score.  I was unable to make the road trip to Buffalo, however the nil-nil draw there secured the fourth straight Rust Belt Derby title to Detroit City FC.  This match also marked our third game at Keyworth Stadium, and the first victory on our home pitch.

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Jeff Adkins scores in the 24th minute.

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Tommy Catalano makes it 2-0 in the 43rd minute.

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May 28, 2016: vs FC United of Manchester (International Friendly)


May 28, 2016
Keyworth Stadium, Hamtramck, MI
International Friendly
Detroit City FC 3, FC United of Manchester 3
DCFC  Javi Bautista 11′
FCUM Sam Madeley (Tom Greaves) 14′
DCFC  Jeff Adkins (Javi Bautista) 25′
FCUM  George Thomson 44′
FCUM  Dale Johnson 45′
DCFC  Alec Lasinski (Bobby Budlong) 93′

Attendance:  6,245

This was a long and memorable weekend.

Our opponent was FC United of Manchester.  Not Manchester, Michigan, but Manchester, England, a team whose home is 3,600 miles away from Detroit.

FC United of Manchester play in the 6th Level Conference North of English Football.  Eleven years ago, Manchester United of the English Premiere League was a solvent football club.  But then came American ownership.  The Glazer family (owners of the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers) purchased Manchester United.  To do so, they incurred debt, then turned around and saddled the team with the debt.  When the supporters objected, they were told, “Too bad.”  A group of supporters decided to come together and create their own team – FC United of Manchester.  Quoting the team’s website,

FC United of Manchester is a community football club owned and democratically run by its 5,381 members.  Its corporate structure is a Community Benefit Society and membership is open to all, with everyone an equal co-owner, holding one voting share in the club.

Personally, I am not a fan of either Manchester teams in the Premiere League.  I’m an Arsenal man.  My initial feelings about a team from Manchester coming here was tepid at best.  However, learning the story of these rebels against Manchester United, and the similarity between their club and ours, won my interest.  The supporters/owners I met who came over from Manchester won me over.

On Friday the 27th, FC United of Manchester held a training session open to the public at Keyworth from 1-3PM.  A hot, sunny, 84 degree afternoon, I slapped on the sunscreen and snapped some shots at the practice.

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While taking in the practice, I met three FCUM supporters/owners.  From them, I learned a few things about the team.

  • Goalkeeping Coach Nick Culkin (1st photo above), calls himself “One-Kick Nick.”  He was on Manchester United’s roster and got into one match.  He came on as a substitute in added time, delivered one goal kick, after which the referee blew the whistle to end the game.
  • Dylan Forth was their 19-year-old starting keeper.
  • George Thomson was last season’s leading goal scorer.
  • Captain Jerome Wright is considered to be the top talent on the team.
  • Like DCFC players, they have real-world jobs outside of the team.  Unlike DCFC players, who are paid nothing, FCUM players are paid a small stipend of around the equivalent of $150 per game.
  • The FCUM season having just recently come to an end, they finished 13th in the league table with 15 wins, 8 draws, and 19 losses.

Following the practice, there was a team meet-and-greet for Detroit City FC investors at the Sound Board inside the Motor City Casino.

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Following this shindig was a party at Nancy Whiskey in Detroit.  I met up with the trio of FCUM supporters/owners I spoke with at the practice.  In conversation, not only did I find Janet Machen open to swapping an FC United of Manchester scarf for a Detroit City FC scarf,  I learned that she partook in a fundraiser for the team.  Last summer, she spent eighteen days walking the Pennine Way, a national trail that traverses 268 miles and 37,215 feet of ascent of English countryside, running north into Scotland.  One of the songs adopted by the Northern Guard Supporters for this season was “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” by the Proclaimers.  Where we sing about walking 500 miles back to the rouge and gold, Janet actually walked 268 miles for FC United of Manchester.

Driving home Friday night, I realized this was not going to be the typical friendly.  It was not going to be the usual, “there’s no such thing as a friendly,” and spend ninety minutes pouring out hate and vitriol upon our opponents.  At least not for me.  It’s hard to hate opponents whose team, organization, and supporters you respect.

Match Day, I missed the community breakfast at Third Man Records.  I picked up a Detroit News which had a nice article about how FCUM and DCFC are of similar philosophies in their approach to team ownership.  Before heading to the Fowling Warehouse where the party was to kick-0ff, I stopped at Steve’s Liquor Store on the corner of Canfield and Lumpkin.  Two local companies have produced  alcoholic beverages that are sold at Fowling Warehouse and Keyworth Stadium.  Because I don’t drink, I am unable to support these businesses onsite.  At Nancy Whiskey, I learned from a Northern Guard Supporter that Steve’s sold the drinks for home consumption.  Having a son and son-in-law who do partake in adult beverages, I could pick up a six-pack of Cider Til I Die and four-pack of Axle City Ale for when they visited (and sample a taste for myself, too).

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I parked the car and saturated myself in sunscreen.  The sun was high, with the temperature nearing 90 degrees, and there was a threat of a stray shower.  I walked to Fowling Warehouse, and was already feeling the heat.

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I could not find my trio of Mancunians.

This being our second match at Keyworth, the NGS changed things up a little.  For the home opener, we descended upon the police-blocked Conant Road where Sgt. Scary made his pre-march speech, then marched from there.  Today, and for the remainder of the season, the pre-march speech took place in the Fowling Warehouse parking lot, then everyone moved to Conant, where the march would then be launched.

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I found my Mancunian trio in the stadium.  They arrived early at the grounds to pick up programs, but when they entered they didn’t realize they could not leave and return.  I happened to grab a few extra programs for them, as well as copies of Hell’s Hymnals, the Northern Guard Supporters’ book of chants and songs.  And, of course, Janet and I exchanged scarves.

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After the Northern Guard sung the National Anthem, for some reason “God Save The Queen” was overlooked for our British visitors.  So the supporters of FC United of Manchester sung, to a hushed crowd, “Dirty Old Town” by the Pogues.  At its conclusion, a rousing ovation was given by the home team supporters.

Game On!

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It took only eleven minutes before Javi Bautista put us on the scoreboard.

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Game On!

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The lead was short-lived as Sam Madeley leveled the match in the 14th minute.

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Game On! (After a Tetris performance)

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At the 25th minute, Jeff Adkins gave us the lead once more.

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Game on!

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FC United scored two quick goals at the end of the half, giving the visitors a 3-2 lead.  Their owners/supporters looked relaxed during halftime.

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And this is two of the trio I hung out with.  Al (white cap)…


… and Janet (red cap).


The second half was an up-and-down affair.

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The heat combined with the depth of the DCFC squad, helped wear down our international visitors.  In the waning seconds, Alec Lasinski scored to even the match.  Bobby Budlong stopped the ball from crossing the end line and sent it across goal, past a sprawling ‘One-Kick Nick’ to a wide-open Lasinski for the tap in.

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The final score:  3-3.

As is tradition, the City players walked along the Supporters Section, giving high-fives with the supporters.  Unlike tradition, the FC United Manchester players and supporters also came across the pitch, exchanging high-fives.

This was the purest definition of a ‘friendly.’

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The theme of Sgt. Scary’s pre-march speech was respect for a like-minded opponent from across the Atlantic.  About two-hundred Mancunians made the trip to share in this event.  We have hosted teams from Ann Arbor, Pontiac, Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Kalamazoo, and not once had they had as many supporters from their club in our stadium.

Two teams.  One supporter-owned.  The other supporter-built.  Sgt. Scary called it “The Derby of the People.”  And today, the People won.

After the match was the final event of the weekend.  Dinner at Hop Cat.  When the FCUM players entered the establishment together, it was a standing ovation from supporters of both teams.  I dined at a table with a mix of City and FCUM supporters, then met up with the Mancunian trio, where we sat and talked about the game and the rest of their plans in Detroit until about ten o’clock.

Three weeks into May, and we 1) defeated the Michigan Bucks in the US Open Cup, 2) took Louisville City FC (USL) to PK’s in the US Open Cup, 3) hosted our first match at Keyworth Stadium to an amazing crowd of over seven-thousand people, 4) and hosted FC United of Manchester and a couple hundred of their owner/supporters to a thrilling 3-3 draw.  So many highs so early in the season would have to carry us through the June and July to come.












May 22, 2016: at Kalamazoo FC (NPSL Regular Season)


May 22, 2016
Mayors Riverfront Park, Kalamazoo, MI
NPSL Regular Season
Kalamazoo FC 3, Detroit City FC 2
KFC   Brandon Bye (Lou Plascencia) 45+’
KFC   Heiko Leinweber (Hunter Vendenboom) 47′
DCFC Cyrus Saydee (PK) 58′
DCFC TJ Stevens (Seb Harris) 61′
KFC   Brock Fitzgerald (Jay McIntosh) 73′

It was less than forty-eight hours from our big opening night at Keyworth that Le Rouge found themselves back on the road for a Sunday afternoon tussle with Kalamazoo FC.  It was the sixth match in twelve days, with travel of over fifteen-hundred miles for both team and supporters.  To make matters more challenging, the bus failed to show up for the team in Detroit, so the guys had to carpool out to Kalamazoo and back.

The home opener had an overwhelming effect on many of us.  With the smaller contingent of Rouge Rovers, it was a breath of fresh air to be among hundreds after the shock and awe of the seven-thousand-plus Friday night crowd.

Despite the travel challenges and fatigue, Le Rouge came out and played a pretty good game.  They had a number of chances in the first half, however KFC scored in added time to take a 1-0 lead into the locker room.  An early goal in the second half doubled KFC’s lead, but the boys in their white kits battled back.  Within three minutes, Cyrus Saydee scored on a penalty kick and TJ Stevens headed home a beautiful pass from Seb Harris on the right flank, leveling the match just after the hour mark.  The miles started to show, and when Brock Fitzgerald returned the lead to the home team at the 73rd minute, Le Rouge just couldn’t connect in the final seventeen minutes of the match.

Four regular season matches in the book, Detroit City FC’s record was now a win, a loss, and a couple draws.

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May 20, 2016: AFC Ann Arbor (NPSL Regular Season)


May 20, 2016
Keyworth Stadium, Hamtramck, MI
NPSL Regular Season
Detroit City FC 1, AFC Ann Arbor 1
Attendance:  7,410
DCFC Alec Lasinski (Ali Al-Gashamy) 45′
AFCA Dario Suarez 48′

Hour Magazine, Metropolitan Detroit’s Monthly Magazine, celebrated its 20th Anniversary issue in May, and found room to cover Le Rouge.

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And the morning of our first match at Keyworth Stadium, we were the front page, above-the-fold story in The Detroit Free Press.


I arrived in Hamtramck early, to grab a local dinner at the Motor City Sports Bar, then walked to the stadium.  The first photo is a welcome sign on The Painted Lady, where the post-match party was held.  It was my first visit to our new home, and snapped a few shots before the gates opened.

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Then it was a walk over to the Fowling Warehouse on Conant Street.  The place was packed with so many unfamiliar faces wearing the Rouge & Gold.  Hamtramck Police blocked Conant to allow our supporters to gather and begin the march to the stadium.

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Pre-Game.  It seemed like a constant flow of people entering the stadium.

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For eight months, we have been waiting for this day.  The electric excitement sizzled as the Supporters Section filled to capacity.

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The teams took to the field for the opening ceremonies and the Northern Guard Supporters’ tifo drop.

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The starting eleven for Le Rouge was as follows:
GK  Nate Steinwascher
D     Zach Schewee
D     Andre Morris
D     Seb Harris
D    Billy Stevens
M   Brett Nason
M   David Edwardson
M   Cyrus Saydee
F     Ali Al-Gashamy
F     Alec Lasinski
F     Tyler Moorman

AFC Ann Arbor started eleven men as well.  “Who Are Ya?” is usually the response, however, for this historic occasion, I’ll list them.

GK  Fabian Veit
D     Bruno Oliveria
D     Matt Braem
D     Lars Eckenrode
D     Jake Rosen
M    Jack Smith
M    Hector Morales
M    Leigh Rumbold
F     William Bayemi
F     Yuri Farkas
F     Dario Suarez

Game On!

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I must pause for a moment to compare and contrast our first match at Cass Tech on May 12, 2012 to this evening’s match.


I made my through the Supporters Section to get a shot of the home-side seating.  It was crazy, taking a good ten minutes to get from one end to the other, the jumping, dancing, singing, swearing bodies shaking the decades-old foundation.

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As the first half moved into its final minute, Alec Lasinski scored Detroit City FC’s first goal at Keyworth, after receiving a pass from Ali Al-Gashamy.



At halftime, I was standing near the entrance to the field on the family-friendly side when a couple came up to me to ask me about the game.  They had just arrived, and said they could hear the crowd out on Joseph Campeau Avenue, where they had parked their car and walked in from.

In the second half, Brett Nason was red-carded for an aggressive challenge in the penalty box, resulting in Dario Suarez tying the match on a penalty kick.  That didn’t spoil the party.

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Tonight’s attendance:  Seven-Thousand-Four-Hundred-Ten.

Almost seven times the attendance of our first match at Cass (1, 072).

Almost double the largest crowd we had at Cass (3,884).

The evening was surreal.  It was Detroit City FC, but not like it was just a season ago.  It was like standing in the middle of a movie.  It was shock and awe.

The next day, both The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press covered us on the front of their Sports Sections, and The Detroit News featured us on the front page, above-the-fold.












May 18, 2016: at Louisville City FC (USL) (Lamar Hunt US Open Cup)


May 18, 2016
Owsley B. Frazier Stadium, Louisville, KY
Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup
Louisville City FC 1, Detroit City FC 1 (3-1 PK)
DCFC Seb Harris (Ali Al-Gashamy) 104′
LCFC Ilija Ilic 115′ (Paolo DelPiccolo) 110′

Louisville City FC is in the United Soccer League (USL), a step down from Major League Soccer.  They came into the match with six wins, two draws, and a single loss in regular season play.  They finished in second place in the Eastern Division, and missed the USL Cup Final by a single penalty kick goal.

Yes.  This was going to be difficult.

The game wasn’t played at Lou City’s regular stadium, but hosted on the campus of a Christian college which denounced swearing.  This limited the group of twenty or so Northern Guard Supporters’ chanting to some degree, though restriction is the mother of ingenuity.

This was the look of a native when one of the f-bombs inadvertently dropped.



It was a one-sided affair, with Lou City owning the bulk of possession and chances.  Le Rouge keeper, Nathan Steinwascher was up to the task.  The professionals had been averaging two goals per game, but Le Rouge held them scoreless through ninety minutes.  Whether it was because of lack of faith, fear of disappointment, or past their weeknight bed time, the Lou City fans began to leave.

In extra time, Lou City was awarded a penalty kick, the referee falling for a flopping forward in the box.  Cameron Lancaster, former Tottenham Hotspur academy player who played for Spurs under Harry Redknapp, went to the spot, and Steinwascher, our keeper from the University of Detroit Mercy responded.

The energy dropped from the Louisville fans after thinking they had it wrapped up, but hope flickered for them as a red card was issued to Billy Stevens for god knows what, followed by Coach Pirmann being sent off the field, giving them a man advantage.  That hope was short lived as Sebby Harris headed in a beautiful ball from Ali Al-Gashamy, to give Le Rouge the 1-0 lead at the 104th minute.

All we needed to do was gut it out for the final sixteen minutes of the match.  Le Rouge was helped when Conor Shanosky was shown his second yellow card of the match, leveling the field to ten men apiece.  Unfortunately, Ilija Ilic evened the score.

This was the third of four DCFC appearances in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup that would be settled on penalty kicks.

Aodhan Quinn (LC) – saved [LC 0, DCFC 0]
Seb Harris (DCFC) – goal [LC 0, DCFC 1]
Paolo DelPiccolo (LC) – goal [LC 1, DCFC 1]
Ali Al-Gashamy (DFCF) – missed [LC 1, DCFC 1]
Magnus Rasmussen (LC) – goal [LC 2, DCFC 1]
Tyler Channel (DCFC) – saved [LC 2, DCFC 1]
Ilija Ilic (LC) – saved [LC 2, DCFC 1]
David Edwardson (DCFC) – missed [LC 2, DCFC 1]
Cameron Lancaster (LC) – goal [LC 3, DCFC 1]

Before I made the commitment to drive down to the game, I weighed whether it was going to be worth the time.  Louisville was a USL team.  Last year, when the Michigan Bucks blew us out early, I had some concern of making the long drive to witness something similar.  Though Louisville had control of the game, Le Rouge stood strong, defended well, and fought to put another Open Cup win in the record book.  This was a great performance.  It didn’t have the emotional impact that beating the Michigan Bucks the week prior had, however it was as important, showing that this team and its supporters will battle with the best of them.  As this organization progresses, it won’t be long before we will be hosting and beating a Major League Soccer team in this competition.

A couple more videos before the photos:

Sebby almost scores in the second half.

Post game

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