Whack-a-Mole

Friday, July 17th, 2015 – Detroit City FC 2, Erie 3

Sunday, July 19th, 2015 – Detroit City FC 2, Michigan Stars 0

Photo by Dion Degennaro
Photo by Dion Degennaro

There are still a few pages to be written in the story of Detroit City’s fourth season, but over the last several weeks, a dominant theme has emerged. As the teams ranks have been thinned by the proverbial mallet of injuries and player availability issues, those waiting in the wings have popped up to fill the vacancies and frustrate their wildly swinging opponents. They’ve not only filled those holes, in many instances they’ve excelled. As City heads into its first postseason since 2013, three newcomers in particular will be playing crucial roles.

Mole #1: La paroi de la Rouge

Photo by Michael Kitchen
Photo by Michael Kitchen

Don’t rush over to Google to translate la paroi, I’ll do it pour vous. It means “the wall,” and it accurately describes the play of Alex Bouillennec since he’s taken over permanently for Bret Mollon.

Will Mellors-Blair’s goal against Lansing has been pointed to as the moment which broke their season for good, but this save from Bouillennec may have played just as big a part.

boulan

Standing 6’4”, he’s the most physically imposing keeper City’s ever had, and from what I’ve seen, I think he’s the best pure shot stopper as well. His reach and reflexes scream pro prospect, and once he gets a better grasp of English and is able to take more responsibility directing his back line, he looks like a good bet to reach that level.

Shoutout to EA Guingamp and Troyes AC for training and developing him for us 😉

Mole #2: Kid Canada

Kitchen
Kitchen

I used this gif in last week’s post, but I’m doing it again because it encapsulates Troy Watson’s playing style in a nutshell.

watson

He’s a defensive midfielder, but rather than being a hard-tackling destroyer, he plays a smoother, more efficient type of game, chasing down attackers and getting position on them to break up the play. His stats say he’s picked up two yellow cards this year, but I don’t remember either incident and am honestly surprised he had any.

With Dave Edwardson’s injury likely ruling him out of this weekend’s match(es), Watson’s season of starting experience helps lessen the blow. Whoever he ends up pairing with – likely Latif Alashe – the center of midfield looks like a strength moving forward.

Mole #3: Javi

Degennaro
Degennaro

Javi is King of the Moles because he popped up, got whacked, and has now popped back up again. His performance in the Muskegon friendly made him look like he would be this year’s go-to striker, but thanks to a knee injury that required surgery, he had to watch from the bench as WMB grabbed that role with both hands and never let it go.

It seemed like wishful thinking that he’d be back for the playoffs, but here we are. Not only is he back, he looks just as dangerous as he did before he got hurt.

I said last week that I didn’t think we had enough attacking options to go far in the postseason, but a healthy Javi changes the equation. He has the biggest shoes to fill, but since his game is so similar to WMB’s, the team dynamic should have to change too much.

Desire is not something that’s quantifiable, you just know it when you see it. The face in that picture shows it, and with a lost season to make up for, he just might be the difference maker.

end


2 thoughts on “Whack-a-Mole”

  1. Le nitpick:

    “La paroi” isn’t really the right French word there — “le mur” is what we’d usually translate as “the wall.”

    “La paroi” doesn’t have an exact English translation but it’s more a specific term for the interior face of a wall or tunnel or the like. (I think it might also be used for what we call cell walls in biology.)

    1. Yeah when I typed it in to Google translate it came out several different ways depending on how I capitalized it, so I just picked one.

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