2014 Season Wrap

[Ed: About two months late but I finally got around to it.]

Overview

Head Coach: Ben Pirmann

Captain: Josh Rogers

NPSL Great Lakes West Conference: 2nd

NPSL Midwest Regional Playoffs: Did not qualify

101st Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup: First Round

Rust Belt Derby: Winner (2nd time)

Top Goalscorer (All Competitions): Will Mellors-Blair (5)

Black Arrow Award (Team MVP): Cyrus Saydee

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Friendlies

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101st Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup

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Regular Season

2014rs

Final Standings

2014table

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Predictions Revisited

In part III of this year’s season preview, I made a few predictions. Let’s see how I did.

2014 GLW Predicted Order of Finish / Actual Finish

1. Detroit City FC / 1. Lansing United

2. Lansing United / 2. Detroit City FC

3. Cincinnati Saints / 3. Indiana Fire

4. Michigan Stars / 4. Michigan Stars

5. Westfield Select / 5. Cincinnati Saints

Going into the season, I thought Lansing United would be the strongest of the four expansion teams in the conference, and they proved me right, not only putting forth a strong showing, but making it all the way to the NPSL semifinals. Right after I picked Westfield Select to finish last, they went out and got affiliated with the Chicago Fire. The ensuing infusion of youth talent allowed them to make a serious run at the conference title before they fell off in the final weeks. I also misfired on Cincinnati, who turned out to be far worse than expected.

5 Wild Guesses

1. Wade Allan will score at least 4 goals – He’s overdue, and should see more playing time with Knox Cameron gone.

Verdict: Incorrect. The emergence of Will Mellors-Blair at striker limited Allan’s playing time to mostly sub appearances.

2. Pirmann will experiment with a winger at striker – My guess is Jeff Adkins.

Verdict: Partially correct. Adkins, VanSlooten, and Saydee spent good parts of games playing near or just behind the forward line, but all remained primarially wingers or midfielders.

3. Josh Rogers will not start every single game – The depth at CB will allow Pirmann to rest him from time to time.

Verdict: Correct. Rogers did not start on June 20th at Indiana.

4. Over the course of the regular season, DCFC will score at least 40 goals and give up fewer than 10 – They scored 35 and gave up 8 in 2013, and even though that was in 12 games as opposed to 14, this schedule looks weaker.

Verdict: Incorrect. The conference turned out to be stronger than anticipated, and City’s final numbers were 30 goals for, 17 against.

5. Average home attendance will be 1750 and the 3000 mark will be topped at least once.

Verdict: Correct, but too conservative. Regular season average attendance came in at over 2800, with four games (including a friendly) of over 3000.

 Goals of the Year

#3 Jeff Adkins free kick – 6/29 vs. Indiana

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#2 Will Mellors-Blair toe rocket – 7/6 vs. Cincinnati

No footage available so I’ll describe it for you – Second half, City up 1-0 and attacking the west goal (i.e. the one not shown in the above GIF). Low cross comes in from the left wing towards WMB who is making a run towards the box from the right wing. As the ball comes across his body, he hits it with his right toe, blasting it into the upper left corner of the goal. Perfect technique and timing.

#1 Shaun Claud Lawson ankle-breaker – 7/11 vs. Fort Pitt (also the NPSL GOTY)

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Different angle, just as dirty:

Season Best XI

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MVP: Cyrus Saydee (W/MF) Started every game and was City’s most consistent and creative attacking player. His performance reportedly earned him tryouts with Toronto FC and several unnamed NASL sides. There hasn’t been any word on how those went, but I assume we would’ve heard something by now if he had made a team. I’m hoping he gets the opportunity to participate in a bigger club’s preseason training camp where he would have more of an opportunity to make an impression than a one-off tryout. If he made the cut, it would add to the list of DCFC alumni who have made it to the pros; if he didn’t, then we would get our best player back, fresh off of several weeks of training at a higher level with professional players.

Breakout Player: Will Mellors-Blair (ST) My preseason pick of Tyler Arnone was working out well until he had to leave the team midway through the season. That makes WMB the easy choice here. His speed and finishing ability noticeably improved the team’s attack whenever he was on the field, and he ended up as City’s top goalscorer in 2014.

Unsung Hero: Nick Lewin (LB/RB/CB) Started at least one game at every position on the back line, beginning the season at left back and finishing as mostly a right back once Colin McAtee left the team. He seemed more comfortable and confident than he was in 2012 and early 2013, and his versatility proved to be a huge asset to the team.

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Detroit City FC All-time Best XI

Updated to include this season. I’ve re-thought my original lineup (found at the end of this post) and decided to put more of an emphasis on on-field impact, and less on overall length of service. Here’s what I came up with:

14alltimeXI

Subs (7): Knox Cameron (ST), Will Mellors-Blair (ST) Miche’le Lipari (Wing), Spencer Thompson (CM), Dave Edwardson (CM), Nick Lewin (RB/LB/CB), Bret Mollon (GK)

Adkins/Lipari is a tossup, but I’ll go with Adkins for now, probably because I’ve just watched his free kick goal ten times in a row. Center midfield is also very close – you could make an argument for any combination of those four. I decided to put Bedell into the XI not because of his recent success with Columbus, but because, along with Rogers, he’s the best defender City has had in its short history. Goalkeeper was the toughest decision – both Clark and Mollon have about an equal number of starts, but I gave Clark the slight nod because of his outstanding play from 2012 when the team was brand new and still finding its footing.

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