Detroit City FC (M) vs Michigan Stars

April 5, 2022
Lamar Hunt US Open Cup Second Round Match
Keyworth Stadium, Hamtramck, MI

Smoke, Darkness, and Smell

We open our US Open account as a USL Championship club against a Michigan-based team from NISA.

And we thought we were done with these guys when our final match in NISA was at their rental home and found their owner and his family berating and threatening our fans on the way through the exit after our victory.

Yes, there is a history and bad blood between our supporters and their ownership.  The bad blood could be between NGS and their supporters, but they have none.

Nonetheless, it was the draw for the Second Round of the US Open Cup.  Beating them to advance would just make it all that much sweeter.

The match not being a USL Championship match, the supporter section lit up Keyworth with more smoke than the USL would approve.

Starting XI

Tatenda Mkuruva – GK
Jacob Campbell – D
Vasilis Zogos – D
Matt Constant – D
Iakov Shmelev – D
Elias McCloud – M
Jonathan Firmino – M
Matthew Cornish – M
Steven Juncaj – F
Leon Maric – F
Nemanja Gvozdic – F

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Starting XI

Front Row, Left to Right

Pato Botello Faz  – F
Deklan Wynne – M
Francis Atuahene – F
Brad Dunwell – M
Connor Rutz – F

Back Row, Left to Right

Michael Bryant – M
Devon Amoo-Mensah – D
Matt Lewis – D
Maxi Rodriguez – M
Nate Steinwascher – GK
Stephen Carroll – D/Captain

Tonight’s referee was Conlon Campbell, making his professional refereeing debut.  His Assistant Referees were Collin Little and Ryan Homik.  Nicole Green was the Fourth Official.  At least that’s what has been officially reported.  However, Nicole Green was the on-field ref as photos in the Gallery will show.

It didn’t take long to get chippy.  In the 9th minute, Elias McCloud from the opponent was shown a yellow card for a hard challenge.  Then in the 29th minute, our opponent’s keeper, Tatenda Mkuruva had to leave the match due to vision issues.  He was replaced by Paul Lewis.  In the 35th minute, Jonathan Firmino was shown a yellow card for a hard foul on a City player.  With the half winding down, the possession and pressure applied by City finally paid off.  After earning a corner kick in the 45th minute, Maxi Rodriguez delivered the ball in to the path of Connor Rutz who headed it past Paul Lewis to give City a 1-nil lead.

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Before the smoke could clear, City earned another corner.  This time Maxi Rodiguez’s shot found Matt Lewis who headed it past Paul Lewis to double the lead.

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Matt Lewis has been a key part of Detroit City FC’s defense since he was loaned to us from the New York Cosmos in 2020.  City entered its first season in NISA and Matt scored our first goal in the league on February 28, 2020 in Los Angeles against the Force.  But the COVID pandemic would erase the remainder of the season.

Matt played his college ball at Fordham University in New York City, then signed as a home-grown player with Sporting Kansas City of MLS on January 22, 2018 and was assigned to Swope Park Rangers, the club’s USL affiliate.  After two seasons, he moved on to the New York Cosmos B in the NPSL, where he got his first taste of Keyworth Stadium smoke in the NPSL Members Cup match on September 21, 2019.  When NISA resumed with the 2020 Fall Tournament held at Keyworth, the Cosmos recalled his loan and he started all three matches for the Cosmos.  With the exception of a brief loan to El Paso Locomotive, he’s been with City ever since.  The pairing of Stephen Carroll and Matt as backs with Nate Steinwascher in goal, has created a defensive fortress in front of the City net since 2021.

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When the second half began, both teams made substitutions.  Antoine Hoppenot subbed in for Francis Atuahene for City.  Andres Chalbaud subbed in for Jacob Campbell for the visitors.   After ten minutes, the opponents made two more subs:  D.J. Dean replaced Elias McCloud and Anthony Bowie replaced Nemanja Gvozdic.  Then in the 58th minute, Edi Mujan replaced Jonathan Firmino.  All the changes did little to relieve City’s domination.  From a free kick into the box in the 62nd minute, the ball found its way to Connor Rutz who headed it to Matt Lewis.  Matt buried it into the goal for his second of the night and City’s third.

City scores, NGS shouts, then smokes them out.


In the 71st minute, Cyrus Tran subbed in for Leon Maric for the visitors.  Anthony Bowie earned a yellow card for a hard tackle in the 85th minute.  For City, a double substitution was made as Rhys Williams replaced Deklan Wynne and Abdoulaye Diop replaced Maxi Rodriguez in the 71st minute.  Then Bosh Tanyi came in for Pato in the 77th minute, and got a good look at goal that went just wide in the 80th minute.

Player of the Match:  Matt Lewis

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There was little doubt going into this match who would advance to the 3rd Round.  City dominated their opponent, having 67% of the possession, 14 shots with 6 on target, and forced 11 corner kick opportunities.  The opponent had 3 shots that failed to find the target, and led in yellow cards with 3.  City wasn’t show either a yellow or red card.  The teams were level with 9 fouls each.


Detroit City FC 3, Michigan Stars (NISA) 0
DCFC: Connor Rutz (Maxi Rodriguez) 45′
DCFC: Matt Lewis (Maxi Rodriguez) 45+’
DCFC: Matt Lewis (Connor Rutz) 62′


Possession: DCFC 67%, MICH 33%
Offsides:  DCFC 3, MICH 1
Corners:  DCFC 11, MICH 2
Passes:  DCFC 552, MICH 272
Passing Accuracy:  DCFC 83%, MICH 62%
Shots:  DCFC 14, MICH 3
Shots on Target: DCFC 6, MICH 0
Fouls: DCFC 9, MICH 9
Yellow Cards:  DCFC 0, MICH 3 (McCloud, Firmino, Bowie)
Red Cards:  DCFC 0, PR 0


Should we include the US Open Cup matches in the keeper kit tally?  Why not?  First win in blue.

  • Purple Kit:  1 draw
  • Yellow Kit: 1 win
  • Blue Kit: 1 win, 1 draw, 1 loss.


North Carolina Fusion U-23 (USL-2) 4, Charlotte Independence (USL-1) 2
Maryland Bobcats (NISA) 0, Pittsburgh Riverhounds (USL-C) 2
St. Louis City 2 (MLSNP) 2, Indy Eleven (USL-C) 0
The Villages SC (USL-2) 0, Tampa Bay Rowdies (USL-C) 6
Des Moines Menace (USL-2) 1, Union Omaha (USL-1) 2
Tulsa Athletic (NPSL) 1, FC Tulsa (USL-C) 2
D’Feeters Kicks SC (RL) 1, San Antonio FC (USL-C) 3
Las Vegas Legends FC (NPSL) 0, New Mexico United (USL-C) 5
El Paso Locomotiv FC (USL-C) 1, Central Valley Fuego FC (USL-1) 4
LA Force (NISA) 2, Orange County FC (USL-C) 5

To cap off the match, at 2:30 PM the next day, the following was tweeted from our opponent’s Twitter account:


So many of us thought it was a parody post, but no.  This post was legit, which brought comic relief to Twitter that afternoon.

On to the next.  On April 8th, the draw was made for the Third Round.  City would host Columbus Crew SC of MLS.

Forward we go.



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