DCFC Notebook: Heads held high after Louisville loss and the lowdown on Loudoun

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Fletcher Sharpe

Losing stinks. I’m sure the players are disappointed with the U.S. Open Cup loss, but Detroit City FC (5-2-2) played well enough to lock heads through 30 minutes of extra time and penalty kicks. Save for winning it, this is the next best thing. 

Tuesday’s match showed that they can stand next to Louisville City FC (7-0-3), which was my biggest concern all season as they’re currently atop the Eastern conference.

Does this game mean that Detroit will tie Louisville when they play the next two times? No. 

But it does mean — when both squads are entirely healthy with Matt Lewis and Brad Dunwell back — that I expect the matches to be close. That’s great for fans and what’s sure to be a solid USL Championship rivalry. 

But now that DCFC is out of the U.S. Open Cup we can focus on rest and the prepping for the next USL Championship home opponent, Loudoun United.

Loudoun is bad

The farm club of Major League Soccer’s DC United, Loudoun is not very good. 

It’s not their fault entirely. They’ve created an average number of chances for their team with 92 total shots taken, but currently sit tied for 23rd in goals scored with seven, led by wingback Sami Guediri who has two.

It wouldn’t be that much of an issue if they weren’t also near the bottom in goals allowed, giving up double the number they’ve scored (14). 

They’ve also shown the ability to lose their heads with three red cards this season, with the latest one being against Sterling Heights native and former AFC Ann Arbor player Azaad “AZ” Liadi. He’ll miss this match against Detroit as a result.

As long as Detroit plays the way they have all season, leading the league in discipline with only 15 yellow cards and no red so far, they should easily win the mental edge. 

Memory of a goldfish, focus of a falcon

The loss to Tulsa over the weekend was concerning not from the standpoint of why they lost, but how they lost. 

They were outworked. Tulsa is not an untalented team, they just can’t defend very well. 

Struggling to score against a team who currently sits third in goals allowed is worrisome, even if starters were sitting. All three goals came from a defensive mistake (whether it was a missed header, or a misplayed pass, or a slip), with the most concerning one being the second. On that one,  JJ Williams outworked the defense to find a wide open Rodrigo Da Costa who slammed his shot into Detroit’s net.

Detroit missed their metronome in the middle in Maxi. That’s not a slight at Michael Bryant or Laye Diop — they’re just entirely different kinds of players.

Loudoun is a similar type of team. While not prolific in front of the net, they feast on counter attacks, setting up most of their chances when their opponents have made a mistake. Detroit will have to remain as focused as possible to limit these chances. 

Reloading 

It is encouraging to see that Maxi Rodriguez and Antoine Hoppenot were able to start. Mix that with Pato Botello-Faz’s late contributions, and those are all good signs.

It means Maxi and Antoine were held out to be fresh for their cup match, and should be okay with more time for this weekend. 

The injury I’m watching is Matt Lewis. As expected, he sat Tuesday night. I hope he trains this week before the match. If he can go during practice, there is a chance the injury is not as bad as everyone fears. If not, that’ll be a big blow to the squad, and it will call for Indy Eleven loanee Karl Ouimette to step up. 

Predictions

I got the score right in Tulsa, but the wrong way. Hoping for a different shake of the magic eight ball here. Detroit should be looking to come out and prove that the Tulsa match was a fluke against a Loudoun team that frankly shouldn’t pose a threat to the back line. 

As long as Detroit remains composed and doesn’t try to change much of Trevor James’ philosophy of outside to inside attacking, this should be a good night in Keyworth and three points to add to the table. 3-0 to Detroit City FC.

Game details: 7:30pm Saturday at Keyworth Stadium, Hamtramck

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