Sunday, June 19th, 2016 – Detroit City FC 1 Kalamazoo FC 0
This past Saturday, roughly 24 hours before Detroit City was set to take on Kalamazoo in a must-win match, there was a short-lived but intense outcry from City supporters regarding the lineup of PLA side FC Carpathia.
Just a day before the most crucial match of the season, City’s captain Dave Edwardson was starting for a lesser club in 90-plus degree weather. This led to many cocked eyebrows and even a few questioning his (and other players who play for clubs on the side) commitment to DCFC. This was obviously a bit of an overreaction*, born out of the frustration of a heretofore disappointing season, but even so, the timing of Edwardson’s side foray seemed a bit odd.
It turned out to be a non-issue partly because the man is a machine, probably distantly related to a locomotive, if not by blood then at least through marriage. The other part was that City played its most complete match of the season against Kalamazoo, dominating possession and putting forth a stifling defensive performance that was sorely needed.
While they only came away with the one goal, the sequence that led to it demonstrated the type of influence Dave Edwardson has on the team. After going hard into the sponsor boards by the supporter section, resulting in this nasty bruise…
…he raised the game’s intensity and lit a fire under his team by putting in one of the crunchier tackles of the season.
With the combination of his injury, yellow card, and the very real possibility of a second yellow in the immediate future, he was subbed off in the 60th minute. The tone had been set, though, and City went ahead just two minutes later. They then finished out the day by allowing Kalamazoo next to nothing in the way of quality chances.
Following Josh Rogers’ retirement at the end of 2015, Edwardson seemed the likely choice to succeed him as captain, despite his admittedly less vocal personality. Through the ups and downs of 2016, he’s grown into his new role, and Sunday may have been his breakthrough moment. What the team showed in their win was a reflection of his attitude and intensity. There’s still much work to be done for them to even put themselves in contention for a playoff spot, but if they approach their remaining matches with the same urgency and resolve, nothing is out of their reach.
*Ben Pirmann further put the issue to bed with his post-match comments on Sunday.
(1) Troy Watson started and was a major factor in tightening up the defense through midfield. As long as he’s healthy and has the energy, he should be starting every remaining match.
(2) Alex Isaevski was just cleared by doctors to resume play with no restrictions. Hopefully he can put in a few minutes against Dayton with an eye toward starting in the near future. His return offsets the loss of Billy Stevens, who returned home after completing his spring classes at UM. Once Isaevski gets back up to speed, the prospect of him combining down the left side with Jeff Adkins and Danny Deakin should give City supporters tingles.
(3) Speaking of the back line, it really looks like Seb Harris-Omar Sinclair is the best centerback pairing. Roll with ‘em from here on out.
(4) The search for a true go-to striker continues, with a possible surprise contender:
I have no idea how likely this is, if at all, but if it came to fruition it would be very fun to see.