2018. The summer of the World Cup, where thirty-one nations traveled to Russia to compete in the biggest international sporting event in the world.
But not the United States.
In Detroit, we didn’t let the U.S. National team’s failure prevent us in participating with the international community. Instead, we hosted teams from four nations (Germany, Mexico, Canada, and Italy).
- FC St. Pauli – the legendary 2 Bundesliga team from Hamburg, Germany, known not only for its football but also its political stances in aiding refugees and against racism and homophobia.
- Club Necaxa – the Liga MX team from Aguascalientes, Mexico, about a 2,100 mile drive from Keyworth Stadium (just over 300 miles northwest of Mexico City), and winner of the 2018 Copa MX.
- Windsor TFC – our annual friendly against the League1 Ontario (3rd Division) Canadian team from across the Detroit River.
- Frosinone Calcio – the newly-promoted Serie A team from Frosinone, Italy, about 50 miles southeast of Rome. This match broke the Detroit City FC attendance record as 7,887 Detroit and Frosinone fans from Windsor filled Keyworth on a damp Tuesday evening.
Furthermore, we introduced ourselves to two teams beyond the Michigan and NPSL Great Lakes Region borders.
- Chattanooga FC – a pre-season, home-and-home series was arranged between the NPSL’s best teams and supporters groups (Northern Guard Supporters and the Chattahooligans).
- Harpo’s FC – the Boulder, Colorado team from the amateur United States Specialty Sports Association.
Being crowned the NPSL Midwest Region Champions last season placed us in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup again, with a first-round match-up against a team we love to hate – the Michigan Bucks. With a 1-1 record against the Bucks in Open Cup matches, this would the first at Keyworth Stadium, where once again, City played even with the Bucks through 120-minutes, and beating them in penalty kicks.
Our reward was to visit FC Cincinnati. The USL team was making a bid to become an MLS team, but could only reserve the Rouge Rovers enough tickets for an FC Indiana crowd. City held the USL team at bay for 90-minutes, but the legs gave out in the thirty-minutes of extra time. Still, the 4th-tier team played hard against the 2nd-tier pros, as has been the case every time City enters the competition.
The season of friendlies, unfortunately, included being a wee-bit too friendly in the NPSL regular season, allowing two other teams to advance into the playoffs. Still, in seven seasons, none of them have been unsuccessful.
Enjoy the game-by-game pages of the 2018 season through the lens of my camera once more.
- April 21, 2018: at Chattanooga FC (Friendly)
- April 28, 2018: Chattanooga FC (Friendly)
- May 5, 2018: Harpo’s FC (Friendly)
- May 9, 2018: Michigan Bucks (PDL) (Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup)
- May 13, 2018: at AFC Ann Arbor (NPSL Regular Season)
- May 16, 2018: at FC Cincinnati (USL) (Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup)
- May 19, 2018: FC St. Pauli (International Friendly)
- May 25, 2018: FC Columbus (NPSL Regular Season)
- May 27, 2018: at FC Indiana (NPSL Regular Season)
- June 1, 2018: FC Indiana (NPSL Regular Season)
- June 8, 2018: at FC Columbus (NPSL Regular Season)
- June 10, 2018: AFC Ann Arbor (NPSL Regular Season)
- June 15, 2018: at Milwaukee Torrent (NPSL Regular Season)
- June 17, 2018: Grand Rapids FC (NPSL Regular Season)
- June 23, 2018: Kalamazoo FC (NPSL Regular Season)
- June 29, 2018: at Grand Rapids FC (NPSL Regular Season)
- July 1, 2018: Milwaukee Torrent (NPSL Regular Season)
- July 10, 2018: Club Necaxa (International Friendly)
- July 24, 2018: Windsor TFC (Friendly)
- July 31, 2018: Frosinone Calcio (International Friendly)