Saturday, April 18th, 2015 – Detroit City FC 3, Saginaw Valley St. 3
Saturday, April 25th, 2015 – Detroit City FC 0, Michigan State 1
With two friendlies in the books, we’ve gotten our first bits of data on the ’15 DCFC squad. Said bits have left us with more questions than answers, however, so let’s try to pick through them and see if we can get a clearer picture.
SVSU – This went about the way you’d expect for a team that hadn’t played a competitive match in nine months. City’s play was sloppy and disjointed, improving a little in the second half thanks to strong performances from George Chomakov and Danny Dragoi off the bench. Seb Harris also had a nice game, including a perfectly-placed headed goal, and Tommy Catalano had some good touches and showed decisiveness in attack in his first appearance for the club.
MSU – A better-played game overall, but not without a couple defensive breakdowns and only a few quality chances created in the final third. Zach Schewee started out at right back before moving to his normal spot on the left and looked equally solid in both spots. Catalano played an attacking-mid/withdrawn forward role and had some good combination play with Cyrus Saydee, hopefully a sign of things to come. Bret Mollon acquitted himself well and looks to be the clear #1 heading into the season.
The Big Picture
We’ve still yet to see several new players who have the ability to grab starting roles and make an impact (I’m thinking of MacInnes, Ramirez, Hendry, Keener, and Morris to name a few). There are also a number of returning players who haven’t made preseason appearances but are known commodities, such as Mellors-Blair, Adkins, Taylor, Savage, and Isaevski.
This all combines to make for a team that is in a state of flux. The talent pool is deeper than it’s ever been, but it may take the first half of the season for Ben Pirmann to figure out his best starting XI, as well as his preferred rotations for those Friday/Sunday two-game weekends.
As of today, here’s how I see the team breaking down:
LOCKS (In order of lockiness): 1. Saydee, 2. Schewee, 3. Mollon
Cyrus will start because duh. Schewee is clearly the best fullback on the team and will definitely grab one of those two spots. Mollon will face more competition than last year (possibly from WMU’s Drew Shepherd), but he has the most experience and is the strongest presence at the back.
PROBABLES: Myers, Alashe, Edwardson.
Myers will face a TON of competition, but he’s a proven goalscorer and should keep his place to start the season. A&E are the favorites to start in central midfield, but with rotation or a dip in performance, one or two of Taylor/Savage/Thompson/newcomer could step forward at any time.
UP FOR GRABS: Second striker/attacking-mid, right wing, centerback, fullback.
There are oodles and oodles of options in attack, which also means that nothing is certain at this point. Assuming that Myers and Saydee start, any combination of WMB/Adkins/McAtee/Catalano/Ramirez/Montague/MacInnes could play up top, behind Myers, or on the wing opposite Saydee, depending on which type of formation and lineup Pirmann decides to roll out.
McAtee could also slide back into the right back position he played last year, and Alex Isaevski will likely see plenty of time on the left.
As for centerback, it’s difficult to make any predictions. Josh Rogers has hinted that this might be his last year, and he’s looked rusty this preseason. Seb Harris played well in both games, but with Michael Lamb and several newcomers joining the team, his spot is in no way guaranteed.
May 9th against Muskegon is the final preseason friendly, and it will essentially be a dress rehearsal for the season which starts four days later with the USOC matchup against the Bucks. At the end of those 90 minutes, we should have a much better idea of what the team will look like, and hopefully one or two questions will be answered.