Magic and Dreams

Friday, July 11th, 2014 – Detroit City FC 3, Fort Pitt 1

Sunday, July 13th, 2014 – Detroit City FC 2, Lansing 2

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Magic and dreams are finished in football.

Carlos Alberto Parreira

When Parreira uttered that sentence, he was lamenting what he saw as soccer’s shift away from beauty (o jogo bonito) to a more pragmatic, results-oriented style. While this may appear to be just another entry in the endless debate between Playing Well and Winning at Any Cost, I take it a bit differently. To me, it means: No matter what heights you have achieved in this game, it will always bring you back down to earth. It may take months, it may take years, but it will happen.

In this instance, the time period in which the comedown happened to our club was just a single weekend. After Sunday, I was all set to write a deep, dark, brooding piece, full of depression and despair, until I realized that’s not how I felt at all. Sure, it was disappointing to see the playoff berth and a chance for a title slip away, but the attitudes of the team and its supporters cancelled out any negative emotions I may have been feeling.

Photo by Kelly Haapala
Photo by Kelly Haapala
Photo by The Duke

Coming on the back of Friday’s thrilling comeback against Fort Pitt, City again responded to one-goal deficits, not once but twice, while those singing for them kept it up well past the final whistle. When all was said and done, the only proper thing to feel was pride. Most American soccer clubs below MLS have very little staying power, and those that possess the combination of a competitive team and a strong supporter base are few and far between.

This campaign ended sooner than we would’ve liked, but we’ve hit the jackpot in every other respect. We have a core base of players that love what they’re a part of, evidenced by their returning year after year. Our fanbase has grown to the point where talk of moving to a new venue is no longer a pipe dream but a practical concern. And, perhaps most importantly, we have something that is genuinely exciting and has us constantly imagining what the future might bring. Magic and dreams are not finished in football. It’s one of the few places they truly exist.

NGS
Kelly Haapala
Kelly Haapala

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Random Thoughts

On Pitt:

The Game The first half was poor as City generated very little offense, attempting long ball after long ball that was easily dealt with by the Pitt centerbacks.

The second half was the best 45 minutes of soccer that City played all year. The passes were shorter, simpler, and much more effective, resulting in more possession and higher quality chances. The first and third goals were the products of high pressure and hustle, coldly punishing the keeper for his mistakes. The one in between was a piece of individual brilliance, bringing us to…

Standouts Each week I keep proclaiming a Goal of the Year favorite, from Zach Myers’ long blast at Cincinnati to Jeff Adkins’ perfect free kick, to WMB’s toe rocket. Those were all fine efforts but Shawn Lawson has them beat.

FF to 1:47, then rewind it and watch it several more times for full effect (Alashe and Van Slooten goals are at 1:11 and 2:10, respectively)

Alex Isaevski bounced back from his red card against the Stars and had a good game at left back. Nick Lewin did equally well on the right side, and his improvement in that position from the beginning of the season is noticeable – he looks much more comfortable and gets forward with more regularity.

Side Note: These are really nice highlights from several different angles, and I’m assuming they were clipped from a larger portion of footage. It would be super cool if those in possession of said footage posted it for everyone to see. We now have ten months to wait for the new season and I wouldn’t mind re-watching some games here or there. They would also provide ample material for supporter-made hype videos.

Attendance Going out with a bang; 3398 is the new high water mark, and is apparently Cass Tech’s maximum capacity:

Via MLive

The regular season average finishes at 2857, nearly doubling that of a year ago (1484) and completely obliterating my preseason prediction of 1750.

I’ll have more about this in a future post, but it looks as though finding a larger venue may be on the owners’ plates a year or two earlier than expected. If Cass remains the home field next season, they stand to lose a good chunk of cash due to having to turn people away. The demand has risen, now the supply must follow.

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On Lansing:

The Game was the season in a nutshell: City controlled possession and looked the better team for good portions of the game, but were killed by defensive lapses. Lansing’s first goal was far too easy – the cross was allowed to be sent in instead of being closed down, and Matt Brown, the only Lansing player in the box, slipped between Rogers and Lamb for the header. City responded by effectively moving down the flanks to create some good chances, but the finishing and final balls in the attacking third were lacking for most of the day. Lansing’s second goal came off of a well-executed counterattack and ended up being all they needed.

Standouts Zach Schewee and Alex Isaevski rampaged down the left side all day, beating defenders one-on-one and sending in some quality crosses and passes. If both return next year, the left back position will be one of the strongest on the team.

The Field Absolutely beautiful, great to see the team play when allowed the space of a full-sized pitch. If and when they move to/build a new stadium, seating capacity is obviously the first concern, but the playing surface should be right up there with it.

“Shut Up Rudland!”

Things that fall less often than Matt Brown Regimes in the Middle East, Facebook stock prices, Asimo.

Seriously, dude, you’re one of the best players in the Midwest, you don’t need to try and draw a foul every time someone touches you. Just play.

Lansing Time to take off the supporter hat for a minute to say this: Lansing is a great addition to the NPSL and the league needs more teams like them, i.e. clubs in moderate-sized cities where they are the main draw in town and have committed owners with strong business plans who run them professionally. Not every team will be on the level of DCFC or Chattanooga, but the league would do well with more Lansings and Buffalos and fewer Zanesvilles and Pensacolas.

That doesn’t mean we have to like them, though.

Up Next

The annual matchup with the hosers who have the queen on their money. Word on the street is that it won’t be as bizarre as the one last year.

ssff

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