Detroit City FC (M) at San Antonio FC

March 12, 2022
USL Championship League Match
Toyota Field, San Antonio, TX

We. Are. Here.

On November 9, 2021, Detroit City FC announced their move to the USL Championship.  It seemed surreal.  Ten years ago, Detroit City FC began their first season in the National Premiere Soccer League (NPSL), an amateur, 4th tier soccer league in the US Soccer pyramid.  On that evening at Cass Tech High School, did anyone really believe we’d be here a decade later?

After three months of buzz and player announcements and a kit reveal event, the day had come.

Today, it became real.

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The roster of 17 players arrived at the stadium, with a mix of familiar and new faces.  Nate Steinwascher, Steve Carroll, Connor Rutz, Matt Lewis, Patricio Botello Faz, Maxi Rodriguez, and Bosh Tanyi, the NISA champions who earned the star above the crest, brought the core Detroit City FC ethic.  Abdoulaye Diop, who played for City in 2019 in Trevor James’ first season and our last in the NPSL, returned.  Former NISA opponents Michael Bryant (Cal United Strikers), Rhys Williams (Stumptown AC) and Devon Amoo-Mensah (the other Michigan-based NISA team) signed, causing one soccer pundit to refer to us as the “NISA All Stars.” We quickly embraced the moniker.  To provide experience and depth from the higher levels of soccer, Antoine Hoppenot (Louisville City FC), Francis Atuahene (Memphis 901), Billy Forbes (The Miami FC/Turks and Caicos Islands National Team), Deklan Wynne (OKC Energy/New Zealand National Team), Ryan Shellow (FC Tucson), and Brad Dunwell (Rio Grande Valley FC) were signed.

These 17 players, along with the gaffer Trevor James, Assistant General Manager & Director of Player Well-Being Tiffany Ebert James, Goalkeeper Coach Eric Perilla, Head of Physical Development Sam Joyce, Manager of Soccer Operations Chris Stanton, and Athletic Trainer Maureen Lilla, disembarked from the bus on a chilly Texas evening for the club’s first USL Championship league match.

Our first opponent would be San Antonio FC.  Considered one of the top five favorites to win the 2022 USL Championship and playing on their home pitch, San Antonio would be a tough test.

City players with San Antonio connections were Maxi Rodriguez, who was born in San Antonio and played for San Antonio FC in 2017 and 2018, making 32 appearances and scoring one goal; Billy Forbes who played for San Antonio Scorpions in the NASL in 2014 and 2015, recording 10 goals in 53 appearances, then returned in 2017 and 2019 to play for San Antonio FC scoring 13 goals in 59 appearances; and for Pato Botello-Faz, San Antonio had been his home since the age of sixteen when he moved from Monterrey, Mexico.

SAN ANTONIO FC
Starting XI

Christian Bonilla – GK
Mitchell Taintor – D
Fabian Garcia – D
Carter Manley – D
Shannon Gomez – D
Connor Maloney – D
Victor “PC” Giro – M
Mohammed Abu – M
Deshane Beckford – M
Justin Dhillon – F
Alansane Ates Diouf – F

DETROIT CITY FC
Starting XI

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Front Row – Left to Right

Brad Dunwell – Midfield
Francis Atuahene – Forward
Rhys Williams – Defender
Antoine Hoppenot – Forward
Deklan Wynne – Midfield

Back Row – Left to Right

Pato Botello Faz – Forward
Matt Lewis – Defender
Devon Amoo-Mensah – Defender
Maxi Rodriguez – Midfield
Nate Steinwascher – Goalkeeper
Stephen Carroll – Defender/Captain

Tonight’s referee was Elvis Osmanovic.  Osmanovic had been the head referee in 65 USL Championship matches since 2018, one US Open Cup in 2018, and 3 NWSL matches in 2021.

With about 100 City supporters in attendance, the match kicked off.  It was a chippy opening with six fouls given in the first ten minutes, including the first yellow card issued at the ten minute mark. Antoine Hoppenot moved the ball forward down the right side from City’s defensive end.  He made his way toward the corner, but a defender clipped the ball toward the corner.  Antoine dove in to reclaim the ball, and the defender went down.  Another San Antonian entered the scene and gave the City forward a push, which caused him to push back.  A yellow card was issued to Antoine.

City generated an early chance when, in the 13th minute, Rhys Williams fired a shot at goal that SAFC keeper Christian Bonilla was forced to save.

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An unfortunate handball in the box in the 17th minute resulted in a penalty kick for San Antonio.  PC (Victor Giro) took to the spot, and Nate Steinwascher did what he does; he read the shooter, dove right, and punched the ball away from goal.

The physical play continued, and San Antonio was given two yellow cards within three minutes.  In the 23rd minute, Mohammed Abu took down Rhys Williams, earning himself a booking.  Then, in the 26th minute, Maxi Rodriguez started to break downfield, but Carter Manley pulled him down, giving Osmanovic no choice but to book him.

And there were opportunities.  In the 37th minute, Deshane Beckford took a shot toward the upper corner of the goal which Nate palmed away.  In the 40th minute, Rhys Williams came back for Detroit, firing a shot that was blocked and cleared behind the goal.  On the corner kick, the ball floated in for Devon Amoo-Mensah to get his head to, driving it on goal.  Bonilla made the save.

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The half would end without a score.  Nate had to make a diving save in the closing minutes to keep it that way, and the half closed out with another yellow card, this one issued to Brian Dunwell of Detroit after a collision with PC.  City took more shots (5 to SAFC’s 3), but both teams put 2 on frame. City held possession for 60.2% of the half, and committed 10 fouls to SAFC’s 9.

The second half saw an early chance by San Antonio.  Deshane Beckford slipped through a couple of defenders and got off a shot that Nate stopped.  Then the chess match began.  SAFC subbed David Loera in for Mohammed Abu in the 56th minute.  Twelve minutes later, Abdoulaye Diop entered the match for Detroit, replacing Brad Dunwell.

In the 68th minute, San Antonio was awarded a corner kick.  Delivered into the box, the ball was headed about until it found its way to PC at the top of the area.  PC slotted it back in for Justin Dhillon.  Dhillon cut in and chipped it over Nate to Fabian Garcia.  Garcia headed it into the open net, giving San Antonio the 1-nil lead.

In the 77th minute, City made a trio of substitutions with Billy Forbes, Michael Bryant, and Connor Rutz entering the match for Maxi Rodriguez, Pato Botello-Faz, and Frances Atuahene.  Billy Forbes had a point-blank shot blocked in front of the San Antonio goal in the 80th minute, but as City pressed to get a late equalizer, the game became chippy again.  In the 83rd minute, Justin Dhillon was yellow-carded after his antics with the ball as Antoine Hoppenot was trying to set up a free kick after PC had gone to ground while fouling a DC player.  During the five minutes of added time, Michael Bryant and Devin Amoo-Mensah were each yellow carded, and San Antonio killed some clock by subbing Jordan Ayimbila in for Deshane Beckford.

Player of the Match: Nate Steinwascher.
Nate was named to the USL Team of the Week for his performance this evening.

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City played well enough to earn at least a point in this match.  They did not look out of place in their USL Championship debut.  The statement was made.  We are here to compete.

STATS

San Antonio FC 1, Detroit City FC 0
SAFC Fabian Garcia (Justin Dhillon) 68′

ATTENDANCE:  6,033

BY THE NUMBERS:

Possession: SAFC 45.5%, DCFC 55.5%
Offsides:  SAFC 3, DCFC 0
Corners:  SAFC 7, DCFC 3
Passes:  SAFC 327, DCFC 392
Passing Accuracy:  SAFC 64.8%, 71.9%
Shots:  SAFC 9, DCFC 10
Shots on Target: SAFC 6, DCFC 2
Blocked Shots:  SAFC 1, DCFC 5
Fouls: SAFC 18, DCFC 19
Yellow Cards:  SAFC 3 (Abu, Manley, Dhillon) DCFC 4 (Hoppenot, Dunwell, Bryant, Amoo-Mensah)
Red Cards:  SAFC 0, DCFC 0

IN OTHER USL CHAMPIONSHIP MATCHES TODAY:

Loudoun United FC 1, Indy Eleven 0
Charleston Battery 1, FC Tulsa 0
Memphis 901 FC 0, Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC 3
Miami FC 2, New York Red Bulls II 0
Louisville City FC 1, Atlanta United II 0
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC 2, Orange County SC 1
Rio Grande Valley FC 1, Oakland Roots 0
Phoenix Rising FC 4, Monterey Bay FC 2
Sacramento Republic FC 3, El Paso Locomotive FC 1
San Diego Loyal SC 1, LA Galaxy II 1

Gallery

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