ATTACKING MIDFIELD & WING
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.