Previewing Detroit City FC v Columbus Crew; USFL opens season

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Fletcher Sharpe
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On today’s show we talk about the Detroit City FC beating Birmingham Legion 1-0; we preview MLS coming to town with the Columbus Crew coming to Keyworth as part of the Open Cup on Tuesday night; and we talk some USFL. Are you watching?

Daily Detroit’s podcasts are meant to be heard. That means there are emphasis, tone and audio elements that a transcript can’t capture. Our transcripts are generated using a combination of automated software and human transcribers, and may contain errors, so please check the audio before quoting it.

Jer Staes 0:10
Hello, and welcome to your Daily Detroit. It is Monday, April 18 2022. And with me Fletcher Sharpe, how are you?

Fletcher Sharpe 0:18
I’m alright, better now that I’m out of the elements.

Jer Staes 0:21
I think people could see from the social videos. I think half the views. Were just watching us suffer.

Fletcher Sharpe 0:28
Yeah, people seem to really enjoy that. But if you don’t suffer for your art, then I guess it’s not really art.

Jer Staes 0:33
Let’s just jump into a bunch of sports news as we do every Monday, a lot of the show is going to be Detroit City FC, and then we’re going to touch on a little USFL at the end. Let’s do a more in depth recap about what happened against Birmingham Legion. That one zero win. I gotta tell you, I loved that goal from Stein washer all the way up to the all the way up to the top. I mean, that was a thing of beauty. And I’m just still hyped about it. I’m also still hyped about that ESPN Deportes called.

Fletcher Sharpe 1:15
This is one of the few games where Trevor James came out very, very tepid, and I understand entirely why. Because he had 20 mile per hour winds in his face. And since their game is predicated on hitting long passes on the counter attack, especially aerial ones 20 mile per hour winds are going to nullify exactly how you play the first half I saw through ball they hit in the air to Pato to where he actually chance to run on to Birmingham’s net, because the wind took the ball had to stop and try to settle it down, which allowed the defense to recover and then they did was able to reset.

Fletcher Sharpe 1:48
Conversely, when Birmingham added in the first half, their balls went a lot further towards our box to cause a bit more issue defensively. Switch to the second half dcfc as a wind at their back, maybe not as strong as in the first half. But that’s kind of what helped on their goal. And watch I got the ball out, got a nice quick kick to Pato who flicked it ahead to Maxie who got on his horse sprinted real hard after the ball and got a nice sliding cross in to hoping Oh, who had a sliding one time touch. I saw it in person. And was like that look really cool. That was actually one of the moments where like, one touch pass and Counter Strike ball at its finest. But then to see it actually on television. It reminded me a lot of the Cincinnati goal with how the ball just got touched one time by every single person and found somebody until it got to the last person who put in the net, just was very quick. Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang into the net. And like that’s its Counter Strike ball. It’s at its finest. It’s just you get the ball, quickly force it up, quickly forth at attempt and strike while the defense is not paying attention.

Jer Staes 2:52
Something I learned after the game was that this was the second time Hoppenot in a couple of years was part of breaking Birmingham legions heart, because apparently he was part of a big play with Lou city. And, you know, I guess he’s kind of earned a little bit of a reputation with Legion for being a real pain on their side.

Fletcher Sharpe 3:12
Yeah, and even when he was with Lou city here and the reputation for scoring a lot of heartbreaking goals. So I’m sure there’s a few more people on that list of who don’t want to see him in front of the net late in the game.

Jer Staes 3:22
Yeah, for sure. For sure. So what did we kind of learn out of that match that we can take into Columbus Crew on Tuesday?

Fletcher Sharpe 3:29
Well, we learned that they can withstand some pressure, because Birmingham was putting it on him early one Iguodala had a few chances early on, he’s one of them, he squandered the other one, he wasn’t able to get to the ball took a little bit of a knock bumping into Amoo-Mensah, but seemed to be all right, just yet. We learned they can withstand pressure, they’re going to need to because Columbus, being the more technically gifted team is probably going to try to set up and apply as much pressure as possible early on, and to try to probably have to counter attack the way that they did say most of the season.

Jer Staes 4:00
Yeah, and Nate Steinwascher just continues to be a larger and larger figure for the team.

Fletcher Sharpe 4:06
Yeah, he was my man of the match. I know they gave it to (Antoine) Hoppenot, cuz he scored the goal. But if it wasn’t for Nate Steinwascher, they probably would have been down to one three to one. So he made some really, really big saves to keep them in it. And I know people are talking about he’s the best goalie in the league before the season started. But truthfully, he’s showing himself to be one of the best goalies in the league very early on. I know he’s going to face some more competition from other teams, but right now you can only take with what’s in front of you. And he’s been playing lights out. He’s big reason why, unlike for my opinion, NISA where the defense just kept him really clean, so we don’t face as many shots. He’s earning his best keeper title. Now in my opinion, he’s the best keeper by far strictly because he’s facing the most shots and making the most saves not just because he has the best defense in front of him.

Jer Staes 4:53
Now when we talk about the USL Championship, I gotta say I think a lot of people were surprised or are surprised with how well Detroit City FC is doing, if you look at the standings, they kiss third place for a second. I think they’re now solidly in fourth. Is that something that you are surprised by? Is Detroit City FC over performing in your opinion from where you thought would be? It seems like they’re definitely over performing where the rest of the league thought they’d be.

Fletcher Sharpe 5:21
If I was making my predictions early. I would not see them in fourth. But after watching them play their games, I can say honestly, they should not be in fourth, which is a weird feeling to say. They should have got the tie against San Antonio, if it wasn’t for a, like three seconds of just turning your brain off. They finished game zero to zero. They should have beat Memphis shoulda beat Pittsburgh, honestly. So like it feels like they should have had more points. And that’s really a really kind of a nuts thing to think about that this expansion team was coming in people were picking them to finish outside of the playoff spot, maybe has a dark horse, fringe playoff team and like literally in the beginning of the season, still the beginning. Obviously they’re firmly in fourth. Honestly, if they win their next gaming, it’s hard for it should be in third because they have a game in hand on Tampa Bay who sits above them crazy to think that this team full of quote unquote Nisa all stars and rejects is playing with they’re playing. They’re playing like a team has been together for a while and know that the core of dcfc is still there from last year. But the SM players who weren’t there before who they’re adding in, they’re just filling in with a plum. So it’s it’s nuts, especially given the fact that their rosters as small as it is,

Jer Staes 6:31
Oh for sure. And I was I was talking with someone online and realized that, you know, only three players are leftover from 2019. So there is cohesiveness. And there is kind of a core there. But it’s not like this is a team that’s been together for five or six years.

Fletcher Sharpe 6:45
No, I mean, like just from the NISA core

Jer Staes 6:48
Fair, fair.

Fletcher Sharpe 6:49
I know it’s only been one or two years, but playing together professionally. Especially when you’re kind of bossing the midfield you get to build cohesiveness faster than you would if you were like getting beat. Because you actually have the ball at your feet. So you’re able to try stuff, especially when in a league like Nisa not to crap on it. But in a league like Nissa, where you can legitimately have 80% of possession for like five games in a row and like no one’s gonna blink an eye because you’re just that much better than them, you can afford to try more riskier things afford to try maybe maybe a zestier move in the middle. But just to build more cohesiveness you’re able to like, work better with people, as opposed to spending two, three years playing professionally in elite in a team where you’re not the best team people are pressing you you don’t have possession of the ball. So dcfc was able to build some continuity with possession and they finished another yet another game where they win the possession battle. Maybe the shots aren’t there yet. But if you’re going to play counter attack ball, then your shots need to be more clinical, less new, numerous. I think there’s enough there to where they still have a core that’s bigger, but to see Devin Amoo-Mensah, Rhys Williams, Declan Wynne, just like fill in and fill in as if they’ve been there for so long. Like Devin Omu Mensa feels like a player who has been a part of dcfc for like five years and it’s not just because we’ve watched them play with the stars like he’s he’s fit in like better than any third Senator bag I can think of to pair with. And that’s just crazy to me. The wing players have been playing amazing in terms of stretching out the width for this team as if they know Trevor James is system forever, and they literally were just introduced to it this year.

Jer Staes 8:25
Alright, let’s start talking about that Columbus Crew game because that’s what everybody wants to know about. I think it’s gonna be an interesting match for a number of reasons. Number one, like and I do follow the crew a bit. It’s interesting to me where I’ve even seen people say online, you know, any other USL team, I’m not going to be as worried about but going up to Keyworth and going up into that atmosphere is a bit worrisome. And then I’d also throw out there and these are a couple of stats that I think are interesting. And of course feel free to back them down. But like the crew has not scored in the month of April. Their offense is just a Mnemic like watching their last few games. Their offense is not been good. And frankly, they have terrible luck defending set pieces and Detroit City FC like they are the set piece kings. You know, if there’s anything Detroit City FC reliably does well, it’s a set pace.

Fletcher Sharpe 9:14
I mean, I think that gives them a chance always whenever you are a set piece team, especially against a team that doesn’t really defend well. It gives you a chance to always be at a game. But my caveat for having a bigger chance for dcfc to win would be if Columbus had won their game against Orlando and they did not they were smothered to nothing and I say smothered because it was to nothing but it really could have been more Orlando was all over them from the jump. They wanted to make it point that they really wanted this game going into their US Open Cup match against Tampa Bay. So like they’re also fired up. We’re going to see a youthful lineup from Columbus obviously because this the US Open Cup match means something to them, but maybe not as much as say Detroit or another lower level team. But I’m sure they’re going to stack their bench It’s like they’re studs. Like it’s gonna be one of those where, Hey, we gotta get a goal. It’s been two to three games we have not scored, we’ve lost. We’re not playing well. You come home from a bad day of school, your little brother’s making fun of you. It’s like now we gotta go beat him up. So I’m pretty sure that’s how they’re thinking about it in their mind. So dcfc is defense and netstat monster better come prepared, because I’m sure they’re gonna face a lot of a lot of challenges out there.

Jer Staes 10:24
So what’s your sense right now on Monday morning, about dcfc Xbench. And our health situation, you know, against Birmingham. We had quite a few people out.

Fletcher Sharpe 10:35
Yeah, that worries me. No, Dunwell. No Billy. Forbes, especially when Dunwell has been such a big part of the midfield. Billy Forbes kind of on and off attacking wise. I’m sure it has something to do with injury, but you can tell he’s doesn’t have all of all of his burst back yet. So yeah, the bench is very thin. You have Atuahene you have Michael Bryant. And you have the goalkeeper Ryan Shellow and Bosh Tanyi. And that’s it. That’s your bench. Yeah, I I would be a little worried, especially if Brad’s unable to, to play Tuesday. Because at that point, your if the game goes late, goes the extra time. You don’t really have the legs to compete with a team like Columbus who’s going to have the full fledge like, okay, we can bring in someone extra here. Okay, we can bring in someone extra here, we have the legs, and it makes me worried. But then again, I didn’t think that they’d be able to get out a win against Birmingham. Late into the game. I honestly was thinking around the 55th 60th Minute like, you know what, three points is better than one but one’s better than zero. Like they should just take the draw. That’s when the counter strike happened. And then it’s like, you know what, they can do enough to hold on and take this when do I see them beat in Columbus? Realistically, probably not just due to exhaustion, not due to really the talent gap, I just see dcfc Finally, keeping it tight until the 60s 78th minute and then Columbus making some subs and that kind of putting more pressure that I don’t think the team can compensate for unfortunately.

Jer Staes 12:11
So what’s your score prediction?

Fletcher Sharpe 12:12
Two to one, one nothing, or they come out really upset.. and it’s four nothing.

Jer Staes 12:18
See, I’m gonna go the other side. I’m going to say that if it’s close, I think dcfc pulls it out. I think if it’s a blowout, that’s where dcfc is going to have trouble. But if it’s close, I think Detroit city it’s going to I think it might actually bounce in city’s favor.

Fletcher Sharpe 12:32
I mean, potentially, yeah, I mean, I’m not counting them out. But if it’s like Columbus scores early, Detroit scores early in Columbus scores and like the 35th minute or something, and we keep going from one to one and it’s 75 minutes in, I think Columbus will put on one of their star forwards one of their star midfielders to help unlock Detroit’s defense. And I think that’ll be too much for them. Unfortunately, I think it’ll be a good game.

Jer Staes 12:54
Oh, I think it’ll be a good game too. I think key to this is going to be LeRouge scoring first, if LeRouge can get ahead. I think that’s going to help out a lot. If if Columbus is having trouble with their offense, and they continue to if we can get that one goal. I think that puts us in a much better place. If Columbus scores first, I’m going to be a bit worried.

Fletcher Sharpe 13:12
Definitely, because the way Trevor James likes to play, again, is defensively to counter attack. If you have a goal, you’re able to counter attack more because you’re putting more pressure. If you’re chasing a goal, you’re countering less you’re trying to like force the issue and forcing the issue leaves you open to being countered yourself. And the worst goal to give up is the one when you’re trying to score one. Like it’s the most gut punching feeling. We got to press for a goal. And then you watch the ball rolling, realizing now you have to press for two goals with half the time left. It makes you get out of form. So yeah, I think if Detroit can score early, by the way Trevor James wants to play absorb pressure and encounter from it. They should be okay. If Columbus scores first and heaven help if Columbus scores twice first, the boat will be taken on water

Jer Staes 14:12
All right, before we go, you want to talk a little bit of USFL there are now the Michigan Panthers that play in front of you in a very TV focused kind of situation. This is all made for TV football, there isn’t really a crowd in the stadium. But it’s gotten a lot of hype like I turned on the news over the weekend. And you know it’s so funny to me because we are so in love with football in this town. And in this region and enemy in America that like the USFL is definitely like a second tier product. But there was a ton of coverage of it over the weekend. So let’s talk about it.

Fletcher Sharpe 14:42
I didn’t have much high hopes for them because it’s it’s football and I know how much this Midwest metro Detroit area loves its football even if it’s bad football, so I didn’t really have much hope for them being that good especially when it was announced Jeff Fisher is going to be their head coach because Jeff Fisher it sets us apart With a non for mediocrity, but I figured they might, you know, be all right. And then it was very quickly 70 Nothing. And I was like, Oh, I’m not missing anything at all. Especially when I found out their starting quarterback for the game was Paxton Lynch who most recently was booed out of Denver, which is super hard to do, because they love. If you’re a quarterback for Denver, unless you say something awful about, you know, the high mountain air like they will love you forever. And they booed Paxton Lynch at Denver. So that lets me know all I need to know about his talent level in terms of NFL skill. And then their backup was Shea Patterson, who most people recognize from University of Michigan. Yeah, he drew no offers out of the draft. So that wasn’t really encouraging. But I looked up again, and it was 17 to 12, they had a chance to win. And I was like, You know what, maybe we’ll get a metro Detroit area football when that’ll be pretty good. But unfortunately for them, against the Houston gamblers, they are unable to punch it in late, close to the goal line after four tries. They fall 17 to 12. So, as expected, it’s another Michigan based feline based mascot disappoints us in the end.

Jer Staes 16:10
I mean, I’m just gonna be honest with you, it’s really hard for me to get into because kind of the same reason I like dcfc is part of the reason why it’s hard for me to get into USFL. Like, at least with the Detroit Lions, although they lose and are terrible. They have a long history here. And they play here. Like it’s just hard for me to like get excited about a team that plays in a bubble in Birmingham. And I’m just being honest about it. Like I know people love football, and I get it and it’s just hard for me personally where I’m like, okay, so Michigan Panthers, what does that even mean? Where are they even in a blade, it feels so manufactured, that I feel like I’m eating like fake plastic strawberry when I turn it on the team.

Fletcher Sharpe 16:47
I mean, I’m sure they’re following you, and they get a few more teams, you’re gonna allow people to travel from stadium to stadium, but even then just like, it’s gonna be, they’re gonna draw like 90 people, like, I don’t want to who’s gonna want to really go to this game and be like, I want to watch players. And this is not a slight against the league in terms of like developing talent, I think it’s really great. I think it’s awesome. And this is not a knock against Second Division sports, because I love second division, third division, Fourth Division sports. But the difference between the team like dcfc a team like the Michigan Panthers, is dcfc is its own entity, like to have players who play for them, who might be trying to get looks at you know, other clubs that are maybe above them or different areas of the country. But like still, they are all part of dcfc They are playing for dcfc. The sole purpose of the USFL is as a feeder League for the NFL. So it’s like if there’s a star talented player here, he’s gonna play for a few games get noticed, then leave. So the goal is like to incubate players, rehab players who might have had a bad career to start show they actually have some talent and get them out of here. So I don’t really know who’s going to want to see product like that knowing full well, if a kid is really good, you’re going to see him for two weeks, and he’s going to be gone. He’s just going to be gone. Or you’re going to watch a bunch of people whose names you heard in college football, like once, three years ago, for like, eight nine games, so you’re really gonna want to pay to see I can’t imagine more than 50 people being like, I would love to see that. And I think 20 of them get it. We’re gonna get in for free. So I don’t know.

Jer Staes 18:21
All right. So here’s what I want to do. Daily. detroit@gmail.com Do you want us to talk more USFL Are you watching USFL? I wanted in the mailbag. I want to I want to get a dialogue going. Are you going to are you going to go to a USFL game if they’re in when they start playing in the state of Michigan. I want to hear all about it. Now, just as a reminder for everyone, on Tuesday, we will be out at Keyworth rain or shine. And I feel like we’re gonna get ourselves another bump draw on the weather Fletcher.

Fletcher Sharpe 18:49
I don’t think it’s gonna be rain or shine. I’m hearing it’s gonna be snow. So that is horrible. That’s it’s literally I was talking to some people for dcfc When we were at the match, and I think it’s like, I’m not wanting to believe in astrology and Mother Gaia or anything of the sort. But someone’s playing tricks where it’s like, hey, guess what, Monday 60 degrees Tuesday? 70 degrees Wednesday 75. Thursday 70. Friday 38 and flurries because I don’t care about you. Like why is it every single week it’s game day. It’s perfect weather literally up until the day of and it’s like now you’re gonna drop 30 degrees and add in 15 mile power plus winds and also cuz I don’t like you it’s just gonna be cold for no reason. And then tomorrow it’s gonna go back to being bearable temperature. I don’t know what it is. But I I think someone’s like, Hey, we’re gonna make the games hard. We’re gonna make the as hard because we can. So

Jer Staes 19:41
well, I’m looking forward to seeing the crowd out there. And I say like if you’re going to see a Detroit City FC Game and this first half of the season, playing in MLS team, it’s gonna be magical. I think it’s going to be worth bundling up for

Fletcher Sharpe 19:51
definitely. And I think even though I’m complaining about the weather, I think the weather will add to the bit of mystique and I think the weather will probably give them a bit of a chance given the fact that they can play in Keyworth with bad weather. And while Columbus is a part of the Midwest, I don’t think that they’ve never played in Keyworth before and it’s a whole different beast than than their lower.com field.

Jer Staes 20:10
Oh 100% Like having been to lower.com That field is sunk under a little bit has very tall stands. You just don’t have the same wind issues that you do in a place like keywords you know,

Fletcher Sharpe 20:21
it’s also a lot nearer it’s also a lot wider than Keyworth is so they’re gonna deal with spacing as an issue. So I these are all things that will help Detroit today against Columbus but it’s not going to turn the tide in my opinion

Jer Staes 20:41
All right, well, we’ll see what happens and we will see you tomorrow, Tuesday at Keyworth and Fletcher sharp, always good to talk with you.

Fletcher Sharpe 20:49
It’s always good to be on

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