Detroit City FC (U-23) vs Lansing Common

July 18, 2021
Midwest Premiere League Regular Season Match
Keyworth Stadium, Hamtramck, MI

Detroit City FC 3, Lansing Common 2
DCFC: Zion Beaton (Brady Walker) 36′
LANS: Julian Birge 42′
LANS: Leutrim Shefkiu (Shady Omar) 50′
DCFC: Zion Beaton (Keith Larson) 51′
DCFC: Keith Larson (Zion Beaton) 57′

99 seconds.

Detroit City FC came into their penultimate match holding first place with an 11-win, 1-loss record – the only blemish being on Independence Day in Lansing less than 24-hours after the NISA Championship match.  One match remained on the schedule after this afternoon, at BIH Grand Rapids on Wednesday the 21st.

Lansing Common’s record held 7 wins, 1 loss, and 2 draws for 23 points.  A victory this afternoon against City would put them seven points behind with three matches remaining.  They would need to win out their final three matches and a City draw or lose in Grand Rapids to claim the East Division title.

For 99 seconds, Lansing had hope.

This was such an important match that Smokey the Bot made an appearance in the section of the stadium that is closed to supporters at reserve squad games.  Smoke was necessary.

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Some of the fine game-day staff warmed up on this summer scorcher Sunday afternoon.

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LANSING COMMON
Starting XI

Zac Kelly – GK
Kyle Scott – D
Aidan O’Connor – D
Josh Adam – D
Dante Morrissette – D
Leutrim Shefkiu – M
Marco Bernardini – M
Julian Birge – M
Esteban Russell – M
Ty Usiak – F
Shady Omar – F

DETROIT CITY FC
Starting XI

Sean Ellis – GK
James Lee – D
Josh Wates – D
Brady Walker – D
Lachlan Hepburn – D
Ryan Dobson – M
Sam Harshe – M
Kellan Landefeld – M
Keith Larson – F
Waseem Muthana – F
Zion Beaton – F

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The first twelve minutes were physical and chippy, with the referee letting a lot go.  But in the 12th minute, Julian Birge from Lansing leapt into Kellan Landefeld, taking down the City defender near the center stripe.  The first yellow card was shown to the Lansing Common midfielder.  The physical game seemed to cease and City then went to work.

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Scoring opportunities were carved through the Lansing defense, but could not find the frame of the goal until the 36th minute.  Keith Larson sent the ball wide to Brady Walker.  Walker ran forward then served up a cross into the box.  Zion Beaton leapt and headed it into the back of the goal to give City the one-nil lead.

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Four minutes later, Beaton found another opening but his shot found the crossbar.

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In the 41st minute, Lansing pressed and Ty Usiak cut in from the near side toward the goal, resulting in a corner kick.  From the corner, the ball found Julian Birge who redirected it on goal and past keeper Sean Ellis to level the score.  That is how the first forty-five minutes finished despite a late play by City when Keith Larson sent the ball into the box and onto the run of Kellan Landefeld.  Landefeld executed a sweet back-heel pass to Zion Beaton.  Beaton fired it on goal but Zac Kelly, the Lansing keeper, made the save.

In the opening minutes of the second half, both teams moved the ball around well.

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It was a miscue in the City defense that Shady Omar and Leutrim Shefkiu capitalized on.  The nearest defender closed in on Omar, but the pass was made to Shefkiu who fired it past Sean Ellis to give Lansing a 2-1 lead in the 50th minute.

The 49:04 mark on the Keyworth Stadium clock.

Lansing was ecstatic, as the three-points were in their account.  Could Lansing hold it for the remaining 40 minutes?

Shortly after the restart, City took control of the ball in the midfield.  Waseem Muthana sent the ball behind a Lansing defender and into the path of Keith Larson.  The surrounding of Lansing defenders and the onrushing keeper left Larson with only one option – a pass across the face of the goal to Zion Beaton.  Timely released, Beaton deposited the ball into the wide open net to erase the Lansing lead.  The goal was scored at the 51st minute.

The 50:43 mark on the Keyworth Stadium clock.

Lansing’s hope of defeating Detroit and topping the table lasted 99 seconds.

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Could Lansing still have hope?  Surely they could score one more in the next 39 minutes.

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In the 57th minute, Zion Beaton dropped the ball behind the Lansing defense and Keith Larson ran onto it again.  This time, the defenders were more spread out and Larson was on the front foot.  There was no one to pass to and no one to need to pass to.  Larson found the net and Lansing found themselves in need of two goals to win.

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Like the oppressive summer afternoon heat,  Detroit City did not let up on Lansing.  In the final five minutes, Lansing found a few chances, trying to equalize and salvage a point, but today would not be that day.

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The final three chirps of the referee’s whistle alerted the soccer world that Detroit City FC U-23s were the champions of the Midwest Premiere League East Division.  That would be Trophy #4 for the 2021 Detroit City FC showcase.

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Player of the Match:  Zion Beaton

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One more match on the road to Kentwood to play BIH Grand Rapids on Wednesday July 21st.  On the way home from there, the Women’s UWS2 team would wind up their season the next day in Wixom against North Oakland FC to wrap up both Reserve Teams’ outstanding seasons.

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