Hello from Tennessee where Detroit City FC will battle Memphis 901 FC this evening at 8 p.m. Motor City time.

Today’s newsletter is going to focus mostly on Le Rouge because — at least to me — this is special and deserves to be covered just as if the Pistons or Tigers were in the playoffs. This is Detroit’s best performing pro sports team.

But first, a quick sidebar before we get to the match coverage. Memphis is one heck of a town.

When we hit Beale Street last night after getting in at about 10 p.m. the first artist we heard as we hit the strip was Marvin Gaye. And if you’re not familiar with the impact of places like Stax on the R&B and soul sound, it’s time to learn. Plus, there’s important places to see like the National Civil Rights Museum, too (that was a previous trip for me and also a must-go).

Beale Street in Memphis, TN Friday night.

To the match at hand

(And thanks to your Metro Detroit Edward Jones Financial Advisors for making this newsletter edition and trip happen)

The betting line isn’t favorable to Detroit City. Last I looked, the oddsmakers put DCFC at +440 which isn’t good. In case you don’t know, in soccer three-way lines that means that if you put $100 down on Detroit City to win, the total payout would be $540. A victory for Memphis 901 FC is -185 and a draw +285.

But that’s not the whole story. You can look at numbers, but nothing is settled until you hit the pitch.

Analysts that favor Le Rouge:

  • Two of three analysts during the official USL Championship playoff preview show picked DCFC over Memphis. Devon Kerr continues his run of Le Rouge skepticism; Joe Malfa and Gary Bailey picked DCFC. Bailey makes the solid point about what Antoine Hoppenot brings to the table and the contributions of GK and Black Arrow winner Nate Steinwascher. [USL Championship]
  • The bracket by Kaylor Hodges who covers Birmingham Legion puts DCFC over Memphis, but not making it past the next round. [Hammering Down]
  • If you listened to the DCFC Talk podcast episode this week, I picked Detroit 1-0.

On the other side:

  • John Morrissey of USL Tactics and Backheeled favors Memphis 2-0. His analysis is always worth a read, but he says “Memphis is too much of a hydra for Detroit to handle. In a different matchup, I think Le Rouge could make a run, but Ben Pirmann's team is a real contender.” [USL Tactics]
  • FiveThirtyEight gives Detroit City FC a 31% chance of making the next playoff round. [538]
  • Fletcher Sharpe is predicting a 2-1 Area Code victory, but shares how the team can prove him wrong on our podcast. Ben Pirmann knows DCFC well as a former coach and the 901 offense is strong, including Phillip Goodrum and Aaron Molloy.

Dispatches from opposition territory:

The Memphis Flyer recapped the Tulsa match and mentioned Golden Boot runner-up Goodrum getting pulled at the half. If you’re new to the sport, Golden Boot is the award for most goals scored. That said, saving your best offensive tool is a good idea. [Memphis Flyer]

Here’s a preview sharing that this is the first home playoff game for Memphis 901 FC in their history. [Commercial Appeal]

My take:

I think Detroit City FC has a real shot at this if their defense can keep things under control and buy time for the offense to get in gear. My biggest criticism of the team is the lack of offense. But Antoine Hoppenot is one of the best setup men in the league who likes to spread the ball around, and all it takes is one of our talented front men to have a hot night.

Plus, I never underestimate head coach Trevor James. He’s among the best strategists working on this side of the Atlantic. We have this weird ability to be competitive and win games we shouldn’t and as far as season record, we have just as many losses as Memphis. The difference is the number of draws.

How to watch:

Game starts tonight (Saturday) at 8 p.m. Detroit time on ESPN+. There’s also a viewing party in Detroit at the City Clubhouse on Detroit’s near east side.

I’ll be doing video on the field updates on our Twitter and Instagram stories before, at the half, and after the match on those platforms and TikTok.

Unfortunately my colleague Fletcher Sharpe had to stay in Michigan for a personal thing but he’ll be watching the match too and you can follow him on Twitter here.

Please consider supporting those who support us. Thanks again to our sponsor, your Metro Detroit Edward Jones Financial Advisors.

low angle photo of palm trees
Photo by Danielle Cerullo on Unsplash

What to know

Here are a few things to know around town. Not as comprehensive as usual as I’m on the road, but here goes.

» The Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory on Belle Isle is going to close through 2024 for repairs. $10 million will be spent on the glass and dome. [Metro Times]

This is one of my favorite places to warm up in the depth of winter, so a bummer. But I get it. Here’s some history if you’re into that sort of thing. It’s needed some TLC for awhile. [Historic Detroit]

» WeWork is walking away from their Techtown location. It won a design award, but did not win over customers. [Crain’s Detroit]

We discuss this on the Friday podcast, as Devon often worked at that location.

» The beloved Detroit Institute of Bagels is returning to the spot that Ochre vacated in Core City. [DIB Instagram] [Eater Detroit]

» Retail robberies: The Shoe Doctor over on Livernois has been hit twice in three days [WXYZ] and Bird Bee in downtown Detroit’s Capitol Park has been hit twice. [Instagram]

» General Motors employees are supposed to return to the office three days a week starting January 30. [Detroit News]

Call me skeptical. Especially after talking to a number of workers and our poll results. If you work on a computer, it really seems people do not want to come back to the office.

Thanks to vlemx4u and someone who chose to remain anonymous for supporting us by buying a coffee. If you’d like to join them (no pressure, but the gift sure does help):

If this is your first time here, consider signing up for future notes.

Alright, we gotta get ready for the match. Gates open at AutoZone Park in four hours or so. Thanks so much for reading.


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