Season Preview 2017: Fullbacks

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PART I: Delirium   PART II: Forwards   PART III: Attacking Mids & Wingers   PART IV: Center Midfielders


Schewee, Spinks

The fullback position has undergone an almost complete overhaul from 2016. Alex Isaevski and Tyler Stephens are both off pursuing professional careers overseas – Isaevski in Macedonia, Stephens in New Zealand. Matt Nance, who made 4 starts a year ago, will also not return.

The lone constant is mainstay Zach Schewee, now one of just two City players who have been around since the beginning (the other being Cyrus Saydee). Schewee is a rock-solid two-way player who usually flies under the radar, except for the occasional moment of pure swagger.

He began his City career playing left back opposite of Zeke Harris, then moved over to the right with the emergence of Isaevski. He may be better-suited to that spot, but I think he’ll slide back to the left with the addition of…

Adam Spinks, who has to be the most unique recruit Pirmann has ever brought in. We’ve seen him go get guys from Washington and Iowa, but he truly went off the beaten path to find an English national playing professionally for Europa Point FC of the Gibraltar Premier Division. Thankfully, Spinks isn’t a total mystery since he has a recent, non-grainy highlight video:

He’s a right back all the way and looks really good going forward to join the attack. And while Gibraltar doesn’t exactly have one of the top leagues in the world, it still gave him the valuable experience of playing against paid professionals. Unless something changes, he’s probably the starting right back come May 12th.

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Season Preview 2017: Center Midfielders

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Edwardson, Watson

PART I: Delirium   PART II: Forwards   PART III: Attacking Mids & Wingers


Edwardson, Watson

For most of 2015 and 2016, Detroit City’s predominant center midfield pairing remained constant. As with several other positions, though, there could definitely be a shake-up this year. With the players that have been added, there will be an unprecedented level of competition and the two starting spots are by no means set in stone.

I’ll begin with the incumbents. First and foremost is Dave Edwardson. He’s a box-to-box type of player who’s geared a bit more toward defense and well-known for his crunching tackles.

He’s also capable of the occasional spectacular goal (yes I know I used this video in last year’s preview but c’mon, it’s too awesome not to include again – video taken by Kelly Haapala).

Now firmly entrenched in the captaincy, he’s the unquestioned leader of the team, the beating heart in the middle that makes everything go.

Playing next to Edwardson for the past two seasons has been the recent/soon-to-be Saginaw Valley graduate Troy Watson. He’s a defensive specialist through-and-through, and his greatest skill is breaking up attacks without diving in or fouling. And while he hasn’t shown it much for City due to the role he plays, he can also chip in on the offensive end, as evidenced by his pair of game-winning goals last fall for SVSU. As a rookie in 2015, he started all 12 regular season matches. He played in all 12 again last season, but his number of starts dipped to 7.

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Season Preview 2017: Attacking Midfielders & Wingers

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Adkins, Saydee, Catalano

PART I: Delirium   PART II: Forwards


Adkins, Saydee, Catalano

The attacking midfield was Detroit City’s strongest area last season, and there’s a chance it could be even better in 2017. In the starting trio of Jeff Adkins – Tommy Catalano – Cyrus Saydee, City has three players who are in the primes of their careers and have played together extensively. Along with the departed Danny Deakin, they were responsible for some of the best soccer the club has ever played in terms of quick, sharp passing, maintaining of possession, and threatening buildup. They will generate plenty of offense; the hope here is that a striker comes to the forefront who can get on the end of those chances and finish them at a regular clip.

Starting off with the reigning Black Arrow Award winner, Tommy Catalano returns for his third season. With the ineffectiveness at forward last year, he was thrust into that spot for several games and ended up the leading the team in goals with 5. Now, with a boatload of strikers arriving to restock the position, he should be able to move back into a more natural attacking midfield role. He’s played out wide at times, but I think he’s at his best playing above the center midfielders and underneath the striker. There he can make the most use of his passing abilities, as well as his skill shooting from distance.

Although Catalano took home the Black Arrow, I thought Jeff Adkins made just as strong a case for the award, if not more so. He was City’s most consistently dangerous attacker over the course of the season, routinely making opposing fullbacks look silly trying to cover him.

His combination of speed, dribbling ability, and finishing make him an irreplaceable piece in the front four. He’s at the top of his game right now and only seems to be getting better.

Cyrus Saydee looked a bit rusty at the beginning of 2016, but he picked it up in the second half of the season, most memorably in the match at Ann Arbor. There he almost singlehandedly flipped a 1-0 deficit into a 3-1 victory to keep City’s playoff hopes alive. If you’ve followed this club for any reasonable amount of time you know his M.O. by now – small (5’6”) but an elite dribbler and controller of the ball, not to mention a very good passer. Fun fact: he’s been on the team since the very beginning in 2012 and still only just turned 25.

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Season Preview 2017: Forwards

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Lawson, Todd, Green

PART I: Delirium

Note 1: All position previews address the roster as it currently exists.

Note 2: In the case of players who play multiple positions, I’ve listed them at their primary spot (or at least what I think it is based on the information available).

Note 3: Official DCFC Roster page is here.


Lawson, Todd, Green

It’s no fun to start off the position previews on a down note, but the unfortunate reality is that forward was a weak spot for Detroit City in 2016. Javi Bautista and Tyler Channell weren’t able to build on the promise they showed in 2015 and no other striker was able to step up and become a go-to option. Case in point, City’s leading goal scorer for the year turned out to be Tommy Catalano, nominally an attacking midfielder.

To address the need for offense Ben Pirmann went to work and restocked the position with a bevy of new players, but I’ll start off with the lone returner. Tyler Moorman is primarily a forward, but he saw time at nearly every field position last year and is undoubtedly the team’s most versatile player. His signature match came away to Ann Arbor where he started at right back and helped keep prolific scorer Dario Suarez quiet, then moved up to forward and scored the winning goal in a 3-1 comeback. As the tallest atacker on the roster (6’3”), he should see plenty of time in situations that call for a target man up top, and I also expect him to reprise his role as the team’s Swiss Army Knife.

When last we left Shawn Lawson, he was snapping ankles and humiliating defenders en route to scoring the 2014 NPSL Goal of the Year:

After spending 2013 and 2014 with DCFC, Lawson turned out for the Des Moines Menace (2015), Michigan Stars (2016), and Jamaican U-23 national team. He brings some much needed finishing ability to the roster, as well as plenty of creativity.

He showed several flashes of brilliance in his first stint with City, so I’m excited to see what he can do now that he has a few more years of experience under his belt. I’ve penciled him in as my Matchday #1 starter, but he’ll face plenty of competition from Moorman and several talented newcomers.

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Season Preview 2017: Delirium

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Photo by Jon DeBoer
Photo by Jon DeBoer

I stood alone on a pristine green field. A cloud of smoke hung heavy in the cool night air and I smelled the freshly cut grass beneath my feet. Off in the distance, a deer with an impressive set of antlers spotted me and bolted away as fast as he could. As the wind blew, I caught an echo of voices…

“Who are ya? Who are ya? Who are ya?

I turned to my left and circled around expecting to see a crowd of people, but no one was there.

Then, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed something moving toward me. A chill went up my spine as I saw a blurry, shifting mass. It reminded me of a badly out of focus photo, but it was constantly fluctuating and seemed to be taking the vague shape of a person.

It first appeared as a Spartan warrior, then became a giant version of his helmet. Next it appeared as a five-pointed star, and then finally returned to its original shapeless form.

I don’t know why it was there, but I got the vague feeling that it wanted to fight me. After a few minutes of nothing happening, I decided to walk away. The mass followed and I could tell that it was trying to shape itself in my image but was failing horribly.

I ran, reaching a wooded area with tall trees. Dead leaves crunched underfoot as I moved deeper into the forest. I was alone once again.

Except, that is, for the animals that called this place home. In the moonlight I could see a squirrel climbing down from its nest.

When it caught sight of me, rather than running away it came right up, slowly growing and growing as it got closer. It stood up on its hind legs. With the voice of a prepubescent boy it began to speak.

“You suck,” it said.

I responded with the universal statement of the bewildered.

“Um, what?”

“I said you suck. Your team missed the playoffs, your stadium is a pile of rubble, and your city is dead.”

Reflexively, I responded. “Well it’s true we had a down year but we’ll bounce back… Wait! You’re a squirrel. Why am I arguing with a freakin’ squirrel?”

It continued, undeterred. “You don’t even watch the games. You just go to act tough and get your picture taken. Your team can’t defend the counter. Your club will be gone in a few years.”

On he went, staring at me with his beady little eyes. Suddenly he lunged at me, baring his sharp teeth.

A mighty ax appeared in my hand and I rose up to defend myself. The shining steel shone in the moonlight as I swung it downward, cleaving the rodent in two. Its halves transformed into little whiffs of black smoke and vanished.

When the smoke cleared I noticed that I was in a clearing with a line of trees on either side and an island of them in the middle. I heard the rumble of hundreds of footfalls as a grand army of blue and white marched from right to left across the field. On and on and on they went in a seemingly endless mass.

I stepped forward, and as they took no notice of me, I walked alongside to get a better idea of their numbers. Much to my surprise, they were marching in a circle around the island of trees. From my previous vantage point, this had given the illusion that their host was many thousands strong. I now realized that the actual number was much lower. I’m not sure who they were trying to fool, but I knew their ruse wouldn’t be effective for very long.

Suddenly, I felt myself falling. Down and down I went, the previous visions flooding my mind, twisted and distorted.

With a flash of light I found myself on a field much the same as the first, yet here the midday sun blazed down and I felt a stifling heat. The setting seemed idyllic. Up above, strips of clouds lined the sky – rows of light blue and white stretching to the horizon.

Taking a step forward, though, I realized that the ground was littered with corpses. Some were fresh, others just skeletons that appeared to have been there for years. All wore shirts of darkened red.

I bent down to get a better look at the poor fellow closest to me. An eerie feeling crept over me and my heart began to race.

His eyes opened.

Shocked and horrified, I recoiled and stumbled, falling backwards. Everything went black.


I awoke in a cold sweat, gasping for breath, my heart still pounding. Sitting up in the darkness, my mind was filled with the images I’d seen. They seemed so real, but they couldn’t have been… Could they?

I reached for the rouge and gold scarf hanging from the bedpost and pulled myself out of bed. Those things must’ve been products of a fever dream, terrors of some forgotten past that never really was.

I walked to the window and drew the curtain. It was early and quiet. The first light of day turned the horizon into a swath of purples and blues as it began to chase the darkness away. Wrapping the soft scarf around my neck, I caught the scent of sulfur in the air. My pulse returned to normal and I felt a growing warmth within.

A new day had come.