2017 Roster Overview

Read More Detroit City FC players Jeff Adkins, Dave Edwardson, and Seb Harris
Photo by Dion Degennaro

Barring any late additions, Detroit City’s 2017 roster has been set and can now be examined in detail. I always use the season preview series of posts to discuss each position group and individual player, so this post will look more at the team as a whole. The full, current roster can be found HERE.

Position Battles

With the year-to-year roster turnover that occurs naturally in an amateur league, there is plenty of competition at every position on an annual basis. With that said, these are the three areas of City’s squad where that competition should be most pronounced.

(1) Striker

One of the biggest struggles for last year’s team was finding a consistent, go-to goalscorer. Some players showed flashes but none could produce game-in, game-out, over the course of the full season. Ben Pirmann has addressed this by bringing in six newcomers to compete at the position. Shawn Lawson returns after two years away from the club, and his talent plus that added experience and development make him my preliminary favorite to start. Among his chief competitors is the most intriguing prospect on the roster at any position, Roddy Green. Coming off his freshman season at Saginaw Valley in which he scored 7 goals, Green combines good size (6’1”) with blazing speed, and may have the most upside of any striker on the team.

(2) Goalkeeper

Equally troublesome as striker, goalkeeper turned into a revolving door in 2016, partially due to inconsistency, and also because of player availability issues. One of the top items on my wishlist for this upcoming season was a true, full-time, #1 keeper. This wish appears to have been fulfilled with the addition of Providence’s Colin Miller. I also liked what I saw from Nate Steinwascher in his limited action last year, though (particularly his performance against Louisville City in the U.S. Open Cup), so I believe the starting spot is still up for grabs. Regardless of who emerges, this has the potential to be a very good 1-2 combination.

(3) Centerback

Somewhat surprisingly, last year’s breakout player Omar Sinclair is not on the roster for 2017. Competing for the vacant starting role will be three seasoned college players, Zach Bock (WMU), Stephen Carroll (Davenport), and Owain Hoskins (St. Edwards – TX). Bock is the most decorated – 2016 First Team All-MAC – but Carroll and Hoskins bring more size to the position and have legitimate chances of pairing with Seb Harris once the season begins.

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Number Crunchin’: 2016 Attendance

Photo by Detroit City FC
Photo by Detroit City FC

Your annual look at Detroit City FC’s home attendance numbers.

Links to previous editions:     2013     2014     2015

Data Sources:

Detroit City FC attendance numbers are announced at games and posted to the club’s official Twitter account.

NASL numbers: Soccer Stadium Digest

USL-Pro numbers: Wiki page/kenn.com


Previous home attendance averages (competitive matches only):

2012: 1295  CLICK HERE for game-by-game table
2013: 1715  CLICK HERE for game-by-game table
2014: 2857  CLICK HERE for game-by-game table
2015: 3528  CLICK HERE for game-by-game table

Final numbers for 2016:


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Resurget Cineribus

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Photo by Konrad Maziarz
Photo by Konrad Maziarz
Photo by Konrad Maziarz

Detroit City’s 2016 season has come to an end, the last wisps of colored smoke have dissipated, and the last supporter has just now been served his beer at Fowling Warehouse.* Time to take a look at the good, the bad, and what City must do to bounce back in 2017.

What Went Right:

I mentioned this in a recent post but allow me to expound on it. Despite the match results this season, City played some of its prettiest and most skillful soccer ever. Whereas the teams that played at Cass Tech tended to rely mainly on long aerial passes to get the ball to speedy strikers such as Will Mellors-Blair, this year’s edition showed more of an ability to execute quick, short passes and maintain possession in the opponent’s half of the field. As the record showed, they weren’t quite able to put all the pieces together, but you could see a definite attempt by Ben Pirmann to grow and evolve the team’s style of play. The hope is that next year they’ll be able to master the lesson.

Another bright spot was the emergence of several young players who could play vital roles in the years to come. First and foremost was Omar Sinclair, who appeared in all 12 league matches and led the team in minutes played (903).

Photo by Dion Degennaro
Photo by Dion Degennaro

A starting centerback position is his to lose heading into 2017. At the attacking end, Spiro Pliakos and Alec Lasinski both showed exciting potential, Pliakos as a slick-dribbling winger, and Lasinski as an attacking midfielder with a style similar to Tommy Catalano. One more name to remember is Andrew Dalou, yet another winger/attacking mid who did well in limited action late in the season. All four of these players will be entering their sophomore seasons in college and should only improve as they gain more experience and mature physically.

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Life After Death

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Photo by Jon DeBoer

Friday, July 1st, 2016 – Detroit City FC 0 Grand Rapids FC 0
Sunday, July 3rd, 2016 – Detroit City FC 3 AFC Ann Arbor 1

Photo by Jon DeBoer
Photo by Jon DeBoer

After Evan Louro’s heroics and Brett Nason’s successful penalty kick gave Detroit City its most significant victory in club history, the sky seemed the limit for 2016. Little by little, though, frustrating draws and humbling losses started piling up, dragging that initial elation all the way back down to earth, and giving even the most positive supporters a sinking feeling that chances for a playoff appearance had probably slipped away.

This season’s been, for lack of a better term, a slog. Every draw, except perhaps the home opener against Ann Arbor, has felt like a loss. City’s been bleeding points away while trying to keep pace with first and second-year upstarts shooting past them up the table.

One of the most frustrating things has been that while positive results have been difficult to come by, City’s played some of its best, most attractive soccer ever. The teams that played at Cass were mostly generic 4-4-2 long ball-launching outfits, necessitated by the narrow field and greatly aided by a string of strikers (Knox Cameron, Zach Myers, Will Mellors-Blair) who were adept at finishing their chances.

This year’s edition has evolved past that, featuring much more quick, short passing and a greater emphasis on maintaining possession. More specifically, much of the interchanging and combination play between Jeff Adkins, Danny Deakin, Cyrus Saydee, and Tommy Catalano has been beautiful to watch. And despite not having a true go-to striker, City has scored the most goals in its conference by a healthy margin.

In Friday’s rematch with Grand Rapids, they played with passion and resolve – the second half was arguably their best 45 minutes of the year – and it was baffling as to how they didn’t score a goal. The match was City’s 2016 in microcosm: high hopes, missed opportunities, unfulfilled promise.

After that result, weeks and weeks of “must-wins” gave way to a real, actual “MUST-WIN!!!”

Sunday is going to be mission impossible, half these guys are injured and dead; and now Ann Arbor is sitting with their feet up tonight, having a cocktail. Ben Pirmann, speaking to FTLOF after the draw with GRFC


A little more than midway through the match at Ann Arbor, Detroit City’s 2016 season died. The time of death was 56 minutes and the cause was Willie Bayemi, his goal the result of heavy pressure and a misplay from Seb Harris deep in his own end.

It felt just like all the others. Like the Stars’ equalizer, like Ann Arbor’s PK at the home opener, like Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids and Lansing all over again. Blow after blow after blow, and this one had done us in for good. To top it off, right in front of the family and friends of the deceased, someone came to dance around the body while it was still warm.

Cmej1ujWAAAs-Sf.jpg large

As the minutes ticked away and the gravity of the situation began to set in, the smallest man on the field picked up the defibrillator paddles and zapped life back into his club:

Like many of his teammates, Cyrus Saydee’s had a bit of an up-and-down season. He looked a little rusty at the beginning of the year, has elevated his play recently, but experienced a low point when his penalty kick against Grand Rapids was saved. To his credit, though, he fought through that setback and turned in a masterful performance on Sunday. His second goal, one of the more bizarre ones I’ve ever seen…

…sent the away support into absolute hysterics. The outburst of emotion wasn’t just the result of that particular set of events, but a release of all the frustration and angst that had slowly built up since City blew a 2-0 halftime lead at Michigan Stars on the opening night of the regular season.

A year ago, after the road win in Cincinnati, I wrote this:

One of the main reasons we watch sports is that, unless your team is utter trash, they can provide us with those precious moments of spontaneous joy. That’s why we subject ourselves to, for instance, driving through hours of highway construction and absurdly low speed limits with barely a sight to see. We know that at the end of the journey there’s a chance, however small, that we might see something special and feel THAT feeling once again.

So far this year, those moments of ecstasy have been few and far between, but Sunday gave us a hint that there still may be more to come.

Photo by Jon DeBoer
Photo by Jon DeBoer


Quick Notes

(1) Saydee was the man of the match, but Cody Lang made at least two or three incredibly difficult saves to keep City in the game. Tyler Moorman started at right back and went head-to-head with Ann Arbor’s top player – Dario Suarez – and held him mostly in check. After a substitution, Moorman then moved up to striker and scored the winning goal off of a corner:

(2) With Danny Deakin headed back to South Carolina, Spiro Pliakos will play a major role down the stretch. He came on for an injured Jeff Adkins at Ann Arbor and filled in well. If Adkins isn’t healthy by Sunday, he should get the start.

(3) Speaking of Sunday, injuries and departures are beginning to take their toll on the roster. Along with Deakin and Adkins, Dave Edwardson will miss the Lansing match due to yellow card accumulation. Center midfield has become a thin spot, so it will be interesting to see who starts next to Troy Watson. If George Chomakov is able to go, he’s the logical choice.

(4) Playoff Scenarios: get a detailed breakdown HERE. The short version: win out, root for Grand Rapids to beat Ann Arbor.


CityBits ’16: Dayton II

Saturday, June 25th, 2016 – Detroit City FC 5 Dayton Dynamo 0

Photo by Dion Degennaro
Photo by Dion Degennaro

(1) Saturday is the best day of the week, especially when it comes to City matches. More time for pre-game activities than Fridays, more time for post-game activities than Sundays, most electric crowds, typically the biggest crowds, etc. The Friday/Sunday weekend schedule is a necessity because of the NPSL’s format, but it’d be nice to have more Saturday matches in the future. Two of this blog’s major influences echo the sentiment: When Saturday Comes; Every Day Should Be Saturday.

(2) Jeff Adkins continued his fantastic season by singlehandedly torching/shredding/abusing/(your synonymous verb of choice here) Dayton’s entire right side. Sean Grogan of The Podcast Formerly Known As DCFCFC picked Adkins as his current leader for the Black Arrow Award (Team MVP) and I concur. He’s been a consistent attacking force down the wing all year long and some of his combination play with Danny Deakin and Cyrus Saydee has been brilliant.

(3) Cody Lang saw his first action since the Grand Rapids debacle and did well, making a couple nice saves. With the combination of Lang and Nate Steinwascher, the keeper situation should finally be set for the stretch run.

(4) Zach Schewee scored his first career league goal, a week after becoming the club’s all-time leader in matches and minutes played. His celebration was on point.

(5) Injury notes: Spiro Pliakos and Alex Isaevski both returned to the field after extended absences. Getting Isaevski back earlier than expected is a massive bonus. He was arguably the team’s second-best player in 2015 and is a great addition to have for the final third of the season. On the downside, George Chomakov went down with an apparent knee injury and was visibly upset about it – he’s missed the better part of two seasons with related issues and was beginning to carve out a starting spot in central midfield next to Dave Edwardson. Troy Watson is the logical replacement here.

(6) It goes without saying, but the upcoming weekend is huge. Like, season-defining huge. The Friday night match against Grand Rapids is an absolute must-win; GRFC is currently in 2nd place and anything less than 3 points would make it highly improbable for City to make the playoffs. On top of that, they must travel on Sunday to play 1st place Ann Arbor. A 4-point weekend is probably the bare minimum necessary to keep reasonable playoff hopes alive, but 6 points would allow City to continue controlling its own destiny.