MatchDay Memory–Memorial Day Weekend

For Memorial Day Weekend, my family and I headed to Detroit for a weekend full of soccer and here are some of the highlights from our trip.

On Friday night Lansing United travelled to Cass Tech for their first away game of the season against Detroit City FC.  The first half was dominated by Lansing United, and I was surprised by how well they possessed the ball and kept DCFC on the back foot.  Zach Myers was a peripheral figure in the opening half but Cyrus Sadee and #8 (Shaun Cloud Lawson?) had a nice chemistry and definitely kept the backline of Lansing United honest.  10 minutes into the match Le Rouge won a PK that I felt was marginal.  In the context of the game, the ref hadn’t blown the whistle for until that point and then gave a foul with the Detroit player moving away from the goal and still a lot to do.  But as a fellow fan pointed out a foul is a foul, regardless of when and where, and Josh Rogers converted the spot kick to put the hosts up 1-0.

The game was more balanced in the second half.  Looks like LANU changed their formation a little bit.  Got Kreutz closer to Brown up top and maybe went to three in the back.  The speed and aggressiveness of the forwards troubled DCFC but the players lacked that final touch.  Chances were sparse with a lot of the game played between the penalty areas.  There was a moment of handbags towards the end of the match that saw Ben Lamb eventually sent off.  After that it looked like the visitors were done but they kept pressing, with Brown missing a chance just seconds before the end.

Couple of other notes.  Thought Greg Timmer had quite a good game.  Strong in the tackle, good possession play, I really enjoyed watching him.  Love watching Leigh Rumbold and Ben Lamb get stuck in as well.  A great battle between Brown and Rogers throughout the match, with neither player giving an inch.  Still concerned about how the team will score goals and was surprised that Julian Myers wasn’t inserted earlier.  Many kudos to the Sons of Ransom who stayed loud and proud throughout.  These guys have really stepped up and came prepared with drums and flags and chants.

Pic courtesy of Detroit News match recap

A record crowd of over 3000 saw a game with a little bit of everything. Chants of Little Brother, several cards, a PK, tough challenges, some fancy footwork from both sides and a nightmare from the referee.  DCFC is off to another strong start and am interested to see how the two teams progress before the July 13 rematch.

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For Saturday’s Champions League Final, my family checked out the Eastern Market in the hours before the game.  We spent the morning walking around checking out this massive event.  So many stands and so many people.  Eventually I ended up at Thomas Magee’s to join the Motor City Supporters Watch Party.

In the lead up to the game, there was concern about injuries.  Arda Turan didn’t even make the bench, while Diego Costa and CR7 both started.  I imagine Ronaldo had been rested down the stretch just for this match.  As for Costa, not sure if Simeone went for a Willis Reed moment or what and have to second guess the decision a little as Simeone was forced to use a sub only 10 minutes into the match, which would impact Atleti later.

I missed most of the first half talking to a couple sitting next to me at the bar discussing my devotion to soccer, the future of American sports, the revitalization of Detroit and the notion of the fifth migration.  Here’s a little tidbit I found on the internet about this concept.

The Journal of the American Planning Association contains an article from Robert Fishman articulating his concept of the “Fifth Migration”.  Here is an excerpt:

In the 1920s, Lewis Mumford correctly predicted that the rest of the century would be dominated by a “Fourth Migration” from the central cities to their suburbs. In this article I argue that we are now at the beginning of a fifth migration that will reurbanize precisely those inner-city districts that were previously depopulated. I identify four sources for this trend: downtown reurbanism; immigrant reurbanism; Black reurbanism; and White middle-class reurbanism, and point out the challenges involved in planning the fifth migration.

Some food for thought.  Anyway, to make matters worse, I had to go to the bathroom for the opening goal, which unfortunately is standard operating procedure for me.

For the second half, I was able to sit in the MCS section and had a great time trading barbs about the Lan U/DCFC game, commenting about the match and discussing each supporters group.

In the end, history repeated itself. In 1974, Atleti was moments away from claiming the European Cup when Bayern equalized and crushed them in the replay.  In 2014, Atleti again was just minutes from the title when Sergio Ramos headed in a goal and sent the match to extra time.  From there it was all Real Madrid and Los Merengues scored three goals against a team dead on their feet.  One of those goals came from Bale, who redeemed himself after missing several clear chances in normal time.  Great footwork from di Maria forced a save from Courtois that Bale headed home.  As for the Ronaldo strip show, not sure that was necessary.  Besides Balotelli had already done that move.  To be fair, this trophy confirms his place in history—a second European Cup and a stunning amount of goals in this European campaign.

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Finally, Sunday saw Lansing United travel to Dearborn Heights to battle Michigan Stars FC, who were playing their home opener.  The hosts were off to rough start this season, losing their opening three matches by a combined score of 10-1.

Eric Rudland made a couple of changes to the lineup due to fitness and suspensions and this game was much more balanced than the previous game in Lansing.  Matt Brown, who had a hat trick in the previous encounter scored a free kick 10 minutes before half, choosing to go under the wall instead of over and United went into the break up 1-0.  However the Stars made a couple of personnel changes and took the game to the visitors in the second half, really pinning United back.  Their #7 (Ardit Dushkaj) was quite tricky and created all kinds of havoc for the Lansing defense, but the goal came from a perfect ball from Danny Dragoi who clipped the ball to the far post to Mohamad “Moody” Saad.  His finish levelled the scores and set up a tense finish, full of cards and half chances.   Lansing United finally punished the hosts on a long set piece, of which they must have had half a dozen throughout the match.  The initial clearance wasn’t made and Tyler Moorman flicked in the rebound for the winner.

Picture courtesy of Lansing United

Big props to the Junior Sons of Ransom who led the travelling support in chants of I Believe, Lansing United and Come On United Score a Goal.  It really was a sight to see.

Media preview

Picture courtesy of Lansing United

Lansing United had an impressive weekend and now head to Pennsylvania this weekend for two games.

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All in all a great weekend for me and my family, with fantastic games and wonderful weather.  Hopefully my next post will be a recap of my trip to Texas to see the Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas.

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