September 30, 2020
2020 NISA Fall Tournament Semi-Finals
Keyworth Stadium, Hamtramck, MI
Detroit City FC 1, Los Angeles Force 0
DCFC Max Todd (Connor Rutz) 29′
On February 28, 2020, Detroit City FC played its first professional match in Los Angeles against the Force. A few weeks later, the NISA Spring Season was suspended, then cancelled due to COVID. Detroit won the match, 2-0.
Only four players on the Force from that February match were on the team’s roster – James Alewine, Gabriel Silva, Jimmy Villalobos, and Armando Quezada. Only Villalobos had seen minutes on the pitch. This made the February match irrelevant to compare to this LA Force squad. Like City, LA lost their first match of the tournament, and like City, they won the next two to place them in the semi-finals.
Detroit entered the match with a line-up that almost mirrored the starting eleven from the must-win match against the Oakland Roots, with two exceptions. Instead of Cyrus Saydee and Ibrahim Conte, Coach James inserted Connor Rutz and Sebastian Capozucchi.
Detroit City FC
Jean Antoine – Keeper
Steve Carroll – Defender
Tendai Jirira – Defender
Kevin Venegas – Defender
Jimmy Filerman – Midfielder
Bakie Goodman – Midfielder
Connor Rutz – Midfielder
Michael Kafari – Midfielder
Sebastian Capozucchi – Midfielder
Max Todd – Forward
Yazeed Matthews – Forward
For Los Angeles, they started the same eleven that started the previous match against the Cosmos.
Los Angeles Force
Hugo Gomez – Keeper
Erick Villatoro – Defender
Gregory Salazar – Defender
Abraham Torres – Defender
Spencer Moeller – Defender
Josue Espana – Midfielder
Jimmy Villalobos – Midfielder
Cyro Reis de Oliveira – Midfielder
Paolo Cardozo – Midfielder
Danny Trejo – Forward
Christian Gordillo Moreno – Forward
In the 6th minute, Max Todd drew a penalty by being taken down in the box. However Hugo Gomez made the save for his second PK save in as many games.
In the 32nd minute, Detroit City earned a corner kick. The ball floated into the box, where Sebastian Capozucchi got a foot on it, directing it to Connor Rutz. Rutz out-maneuvered a Force defender, then passed the ball in to Max Todd who re-directed it past Hugo Gomez.
City went into halftime with the one goal lead. Shortly after the second half began, Danny Trejo was subbed out for Christopher Ribert. In the 58th minute, City made a double swap, bringing in Shawn Claud Lawson and Ryan Peterson for Yazeed Matthews and Max Todd. Cyrus Saydee entered the match for Connor Rutz in the 63rd minute. In the 83rd minute, LA made a final substitution bringing in Jonatan Valle for Josue Espana, and City’s final sub was Evans Frimpong for Bakie Goodman in stoppage time.
Los Angeles didn’t back down, but neither did City’s defense, and in the end, Jean Antoine’s first clean sheet as City’s keeper took Detroit into the finals.
It was odd seeing our goal on the Guest’s side of the scoreboard. LA was the top seed, but will heading home.
A repeat of the second match of Group A will be the NISA 2020 Fall Tournament Final. The best part is Detroit has already won. The winner of the tournament final will host the 2021 Spring Tournament Champion to determine NISA’s 2020-21 Season Champion. With the Oakland Roots moving on to another league, win or lose, Keyworth will be hosting the NISA 2020-21 Season Championship match.
Obviously, it’s better to go in as winners not as runner-ups to a team that moved elsewhere.
The full tournament can be found HERE.