July 27, 2016: vs Windsor Stars (Friendly)

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July 27, 2016
Keyworth Stadium, Hamtramck, MI
Friendly
Detroit City FC 3, Windsor Stars 1
DCFC  Dave Edwardson 2′
DCFC  Own Goal (Jamar Kelly) 36′
DCFC  Tommy Catalano 43′
STARS  Michael Pio 50′
Attendance:  6,025

Unlike the first grandbaby who arrived less than 20 hours prior to the match against the Columbus Crew College Program, grandbaby #2 emerged early in the morning the day before.

Louella Skye Kitchen-Buschel was born on July 26, 2016, at 1:37 AM.  The 21-inch “little” girl weighed in at 9 lbs, 13 oz.

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Life moves too fast sometimes.  In July, 2015, there wasn’t a being on the planet who could call me “Grandpa.”  By the end of July, 2016, there were six; babies Leon & Louella, Colin’s boys Chad & Dean, and the two children my daughter and son-in-law became foster parents to.

Tonight was also a first for me.  It was the first time I requested a media pass.  To be honest, I’ve never considered myself media.  Sure, back when I was photographing Detroit Vipers games in the late 1990’s for a hockey publication, I was media.  But I came into this as a fan who brought my camera because I enjoy capturing life in the moment – whether they be of humans in action or squirrels in my yard.  Then, this team and its support launched into unexpected popularity, and well, here I am, creating an internet Detroit City FC scrapbook of every home game I’ve been to, and the several road trips I’ve made.

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It was beach party night in the NGS Section.

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The atmosphere created by NGS, the new angles from the pitch, the new challenge of staying out of the way of the soccer ball whizzing by at a comet’s pace, and Dave Edwardson starting us off with a goal in the third minute, made the game effervescent with fun.  After doubling the lead on an own goal by Windsor defender Jamar Kelly, Tommy Catalano’s goal in the 43rd minute not only put us in control of the match, but also stirred up a little bitterness from Windsor’s keeper.

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At halftime, it was time to present the 2016 Black Arrow Award to the team’s Most Valuable Player.

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On July 11, 2016, The Detroit News ran an article about Detroit City FC players and their day-jobs.  It reported that Tommy Catalano was training to be a journeyman electrician.  Adding a DCFC practice or game to working an eleven-hour shift, six days a week at his inside construction wireman apprenticeship, makes for some long days.  Yet, the young man was among the team leaders in goals-scored, well deserving of the MVP award.

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And to wrap up the evening and season, a final, full-field, supporter/team Tetris.

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So, do I seek a media pass next year?  I’m certainly giving it serious thought.

 

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July 15, 2016: vs Michigan Stars (NPSL Regular Season)

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July 15, 2016
Keyworth Stadium, Hamtramck, MI
NPSL Regular Season Match
Detroit City FC 1, Michigan Stars 2
DCFC  Javi Bautista 26′
STARS  Eric McWoods 79′
STARS   Eric McWoods 85′
Attendance:  6,384

Final match of the regular season, and it was a family affair.  My son, Colin, and his son, Chad, attended their first DCFC match.  The eleven-year-old had played some youth soccer in the past, and is into sports, currently playing basketball.  After dinner, we walked to the Fowling Warehouse.  Chad was very interested in fowling, with plans of talking Colin and other family members to bring him back and give it a try.  It was cool that we arrived early, ahead of everyone, because when we stepped out of the Fowling Warehouse, Colin and Chad were engulfed into the large crowd of Northern Guard Supporters.  After Drew’s pre-march speech, Chad looked up at me and said, “This is awesome!”

We followed the crowd into the street, Sarge did his thing, and we marched.

We sat on the family-friendly side for the first half, then made our way to the Supporters Section for the second.  When it was over, we stopped by the souvenir stand to get Chad a scarf and t-shirt, then onto the pitch where some of the players were signing autographs.

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Colin, who is not a sports fan, was sending texts and video back to other family members.  In one text, he listed his seven reasons for liking Detroit City FC and the Northern Guard Supporters.

One, the vast majority of the players are from local universities.  At least 3 from U of D.
Two, the fan support for such a minor league team is overwhelming and intensely personal and admirable.
Three, beer.
Four, you can personally interact with the players, sorely missing from pro sports, and much of my frustration with them.
Five, beer.
Six, them fans are some weird fuckers, but they own that shit.
Seven, community involvement and support building that kind of shit is a soft spot for me.

I think we’ll see them back at Keyworth in 2017.

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This ended our 2016 NPSL regular season.  To summarize:

Overall Record:  4-4-4 = 16 points.  Goals For – 24, Goals Against – 21.
Home Record:  2-1-3 = 9 points.  Goals For – 10, Goals Against – 5.
Road Record:  2-3-1 = 7 points.  Goals For – 14, Goals Against – 16.

DCFC Record vs
AFC Ann Arbor       1-0-1 = 4 points.  Goals For 4, Goals Against 2.
Dayton Dynamo     2-0-0 = 6 points.  Goals For 9, Goals Against 2.
Grand Rapids FC   0-1-1 = 1 point.  Goals For 2, Goals Against 5.
Kalamazoo FC        1-1-0 = 3 points.  Goals For 3, Goals Against 3.
Lansing United      0-1-1 = 1 point.  Goals For 3, Goals Against 5.
Michigan Stars       0-1-1 = 1 point.  Goals For 3, Goals Against 4.

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July 10, 2016: at Lansing United (NPSL Regular Season)

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July 10, 2016
DeMartin Stadium, East Lansing, MI
NPSL Regular Season Match
Lansing United 3, Detroit City FC 1
LAN  Alec Greene (Lukas Muszong) 43′
LAN  James DeCosemo (Austin Dunn) 59′
LAN  James DeCosemo (Lukas Muszong) 74′
DCFC  Tyler Channell 80′

Lansing.  This is our third trip up here to play these guys.  And though we have taken only one point in our two previous visits, it is safe to say that the Northern Guard Supporters have claimed the Harrison Roadhouse as our territory.

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2015

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2016

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The previous two years, a table or two of the Sons of Ransom (their supporters’ group) took our heat.  There were none to be seen this year.

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Another very hot day in the aluminum bleachers of DeMartin Stadium, but it seemed we were receiving the cold shoulder from the Sons of Ransom.  In the past, there was the cross chanting at the Harrison Roadhouse, and some banter during the match.  If any of that took place this afternoon, I was not witness to it.

To extend City’s season into the playoffs, it was a must-win situation.  A late, first-half goal by Alec Greene gave Lansing a 1-0 lead.  Then, two goals by James DeCosemo within fifteen minutes during the middle of the second half was a body blow to our playoff aspirations.  Tyler Channell tallied in the 80th minute, sparking a glimmer of a comeback hope, but in the end, it was not to be.

The early success this season had us riding high, but it wasn’t enough to carry us through.  There was no singing in the DeMartin Stadium stands until they kicked us out.  There were no players joining us in the stands for tetris.  It was a tough defeat.  Then, later in the day, AFC Ann Arbor beat Kalamazoo FC, 2-0, sealing our fate.

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July 6, 2016: vs Columbus Crew College Program (Friendly)

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July 6, 2016
Keyworth Stadium, Hamtramck, MI
Friendly
Detroit City FC 0, Columbus Crew College Program 1
Crew  Andrew McKelvey (Jalim Bayo) 59′
Attendance: 4,568

I feel like I sat this one out even though I have a lot of video and photos.  You see, game time was 7:30 PM.  But I was in the hospital from roughly 9:30 the prior evening to around 6 AM, as my grandson, Leon Brandon Kitchen was born.  The 20-inch-long baby boy arrived at 4:20 AM, weighing in at 7 lbs, 15 oz.

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It was our fourth friendly against the Columbus Crew wannabes (the 2014 match cancelled due to storms in Ohio and Michigan), with the Crew Kids taking every match.

The match?  I really have nothing to add.  In a laid-back attitude, I shot photos during the first half, then took a spot behind the drummers in the Supporters Section to catch some video of NGS in action. Then, I went home and went to bed.

Enjoy the photos and videos.

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July 3, 2016: at AFC Ann Arbor (NPSL Regular Season)

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July 3, 2016
Hollway Field, Ann Arbor, MI
AFC Ann Arbor 1, Detroit City FC 3
AFC AA  Willie Bayemi 56′
DCFC  Cyrus Saydee 74′
DCFC  Tyler Moorman (Cyrus Saydee) 80′
DCFC  Cyrus Saydee  83′

This will go down as another of our fabulous road trip matches. like the June 20, 2015 and May 30, 2014 road trips to Cincinnati.  It was an important match, as AFC Ann Arbor was one of the two teams ahead of us in the standings.

We occupied a good portion of the visiting bleachers.  A decent crowd showed up for Ann Arbor, but their supporters group, the Main Street Hooligans, numbered twenty-four.  Someone counted them.

After an uneventful first half, the intensity picked up in the second.  Willie Bayemi capitalized on a City defensive lapse, and put the ball past keeper Cody Lang to give Ann Arbor the lead in the 56th minute.  The longer they held the lead, the murmur of a chant from the Main Street Hooligans crossed the field.

“If you’re in first place and you know it, clap your hands.”

But Cyrus Saydee silenced them.  First, he put the ball past Ann Arbor keeper, Fabian Veit in the 74th minute.

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Then, on a corner kick, he crossed the ball toward the back post where Tyler Moorman tapped it home in the 80th minute.

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And finally, three minutes later, with Ann Arbor feeling the pressure, Veit gave up the ball to Cyrus, who chipped it over and beyond the helpless keeper.

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At the conclusion of the match, City closed the gap on first place.

Grand Rapids FC:  5 wins, 4 draws, 1 loss, 19 points.
AFC Ann Arbor:     5 wins, 3 draws, 2 losses, 18 points.
Detroit City FC:     4 wins,  4 draws, 2 losses, 16 points.

There’s the old, ‘woulda, shoulda, coulda’ speculation of what-might-have-been had Le Rouge won two days prior against Grand Rapids, instead of the draw.  For if they had, all three teams would have 18 points with 2 matches remaining.

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July 1, 2016: vs Grand Rapids FC (NPSL Regular Season)

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July 1, 2016
Keyworth Stadium, Hamtramck, MI
NPSL Regular Season Match
Detroit City FC 0, Grand Rapids FC 0
Attendance:  5,024

This was a big weekend for Le Rouge.  On Friday night, we hosted Grand Rapids FC, and on Sunday afternoon we’d travel to Ann Arbor.  Wins against both of these teams would propel us into the battle for first place.

Tonight, they played well.  They held Grand Rapids back defensively.  Had they converted on a couple of shots that beat the keeper but hit the woodwork, or on a penalty kick that was saved, they would have had three points.

Off the pitch, a patch of Grand Rapids supporters – The Grand Army – made the trip to Keyworth.  Stationed on the family-friendly side of the pitch, a couple of actions they took almost bumped the G-rated section into something R-rated.

I did not see it, but near the end of the match, some of the Grand Rapids fans took off their shoes and raised them in our direction.  Perhaps they forgot or did not realize that they were in the neighborhood of a predominantly Muslim city.  The gesture being quite offensive, it riled the Northern Guard Supporters.

Then, at the conclusion of the match, after exchanging some cross-field banter, one of their knuckleheads decided to leap over the barrier and enter the pitch.  No, sir.  You do not tread on our field.  A dozen or so Northern Guardsmen took to the field.  The knucklehead ran back into the stands.  Four-and-a-half seasons and no representative of a visiting supporters’ group ever tried anything stupid like that before.

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June 25, 2016: vs Dayton Dynamo (NPSL Regular Season)

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June 25, 2016
Keyworth Stadium, Hamtramck, MI
NPSL Regular Season match
Detroit City FC 5, Dayton Dynamo 0
DCFC  Javi Bautista 16′
DCFC  Jeff Adkins  29′
DCFC  Zach Schewee 45′
DCFC  Tommy Catalano  77′
DCFC  Tommy Catalano  81′
Attendance:  4,304

No, those are not the usual rouge-and-gold kits our team wore this evening.  They were commemorative jerseys, which were auctioned during the game, to raise money for Freedom House, a Detroit-based nonprofit organization supporting individuals fleeing persecution from around the world.

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It was also a match against a team that cannot beat us, earning Le Rouge its second consecutive victory at Keyworth.

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