June 24, 2012
Detroit City FC 1:1 AFC Cleveland
A new record crowd of 1,743 were on hand to see Detroit take on rust belt rival Cleveland at home. This match swung from one side to the other throughout. Much of the possession was contested throughout midfield, and turnovers were the norm in the run of play. City threatened numerous times in the form of Cyrus Saydee and Stefan St. Louis, but were unsuccessful in converting their chances.
Le Rouge were lucky to get a goal off a bit of sloppy defending, with Keith Lough finding Stefan St. Louis for the finish in the 23rd minute. Le Rouge produced a number of shots in the first half, but would go into the locker room at halftime in the lead 1-0.
The second half saw a shift in Cleveland's tactics, going to 3 at the back and 4 in midfield. This effectively clogged ball movement in the middle, forcing Detroit to rely on wing play and switches. The closest chance near the end of the match was Keith Lough's try from above the 6 yard box. Having broken down the right wing, and around the fullback, Cleveland's keeper rushed out to gather the ball. Lough tucked the ball across the box from near the rear touch line, hopped the keeper, and lashed one towards the net, only to have it cleared off the line by a Cleveland defender. A minute later, Cleveland broke down the right flank and slotted one low past the keeper in the 86th minute. Goal scorer Thomas Schmitt ran over to the Detroit fans and taunted them, and was predictably met with missiles.
The match would end drawn at 1, and Cleveland were presented with the Rust Belt Derby trophy at the conclusion. The result is somewhat disappointing, in that Detroit could've scored at least 1 more goal with the chances they had. Le Rouge needed a win to match Cleveland's 7 points in order to win the Derby. The draw kept them in 2nd place with 5 points, with Cleveland in 1st on 8. It was a bittersweet moment for the inaugural season of not only Detroit City but also the Rust Belt Derby, losing it in the last match at home. But what is football without the passion and the drama.
City remain in first place of the Great Lakes Conference, 3 points above Cleveland who are a game behind.