Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Rouge Report: Detroit City falls to Michigan Bucks 3-0 in US Open Cup

Michigan Bucks 3-0 Detroit City
That was a humbling match for Detroit City. They were outplayed by a clearly better team. Right from the get go, you could tell the Bucks were more skilled in the midfield, more responsible defensively, and better at finishing than Le Rouge.

The carnage began in the sixth minute when the City backline lost track of David Goldsmith in the box. Goldsmith was wide open to head home a cross for the first goal. Peri Merosevic took advantage of City turning the ball over in their own zone three minutes later. He slotted a shot beyond the diving keeper. The damage was complete at the half hour mark when University of Akron standout Brad Ruhaak nailed a screaming shot from 30 yards into the top corner of the goal.

City's flaws were evident right from the start. They couldn't keep possession. They had trouble wrestling the ball away from the Bucks in the midfield, and they were fairly overwhelmed in their own penalty area.

They did, however, have their chances to get on the board. Their golden opportunity came in the 18th minute when James Murphy had the Bucks' keeper completely beaten, but his shot at the undefended goal clanged off the post.

Come the second half, the Bucks were plenty okay being patient and letting City bring the play to them. They did press forward on the attack, but only had one chance near the end of the match when a nice passing play around flat footed Rouge defenders led to a shot off the post.

Detroit City can take comfort in the fact they will not see competition like this at any point during their NPSL season. Other than that simple fact, there were not many positives to take from their performance tonight. There were, however, plenty of lessons to be learned.

The number one would be they need to be more responsible in the midfield. They turned the ball over near the center of the pitch, or even in their own half, far too many times for any kind of sustained attack to develop. Their defenders were caught ball watching on the first goal, so that needs to change.

One of the few bright spots, I thought, was the play of captain Josh Rogers. The former Michigan State Spartan did well many times to clear the ball out of harm's way and clean up the mistakes of his midfield. His leadership was evident on the entire pitch, even though he was yellowed for running his mouth at the referee as the match neared its end.

The storyline coming into this match was the battle of differing ideologies on how to build a minor league soccer team. Do you do it with Dan Duggan's money and connections? Or with the DCFC ownership group's commitment to it's supporters and patient expansion. That question was not answered in this match, and it never was going to be.

So, Michigan Bucks won the match in a rout. That doesn't prove that Duggan's way of working beats the young adults from Detroit's methods. They had the better talent, so they won the game fair and square. That says nothing about the inner workings of the club from a business and marketing standpoint.

I will say that the Rouge and Gold supporters completely took over Ultimate Soccer Arena. The chanting of the Northern Guard was deafening throughout the indoor stadium, and it only got louder as the game approached its end.

It was like the scene at the end of "How The Grinch Stole Christmas." Not to call Dan Duggan and the Michigan Bucks The Grinch exactly, but they stole Detroit City's party from them. Despite this they kept on singing and dancing anyway. Much like the Whos welcomed Christmas even after the Grinch had stolen their tree. Defeat wasn't going to keep them down. They were out to prove that they were loyal to their club, in good times and in bad. No talk of a higher level professional team from Bucks' ownership will draw them away from their beloved Le Rouge. I think the best way to get that message across was to keep making a ruckus despite the lopsided defeat.

Their stealing of the show was officially proven when the non-hooligan fans wafted over to the rowdies to snap photos and take videos for social media instead of to the winning side.

Up next for Le Rouge is the NPSL opener against AFC Cleveland on Friday night. Let's hope that one goes a little smoother.

As for the Bucks, they advance to the second round of the US Open Cup to play Portland Timbers 2 next Wednesday, again at Ultimate Soccer Arena. Not going to lie, a part of me wants to head over there wearing my Timbers shirt and scarf.

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