Detroit City FC (M) vs Birmingham Legion FC

April 15, 2022
USL Championship League Match
Keyworth Stadium, Hamtramck, MI

Death, Taxes, and Nate Steinwascher

April 15th.  Tax Day.  Tonight, Birmingham Legion FC would visit Keyworth Stadium.  On this chilly, rainy Friday evening, the match was a nationally televised broadcast on ESPN Deportes.

In 2017, USL granted a franchise to Birmingham, Alabama, to begin play in 2019.  The team made the playoffs all three years of its existence, and Tom Soehn, has been the team’s head coach through its existence in the USL.  The buzz from the Legion was their recent signing of Juan Agudelo.  The 29-year-old forward had  earned 28 caps with the US Men’s National Team, as well as represented the US at the u-17, u-20, and u-23 level.  He played in 280 matches in MLS with New York Red Bulls, Chivas USA, New England Revolution, Inter Miami, and Minnesota United.

With the taxes due, Detroit’s ledger would be in the capable hands of Nate Steinwascher.

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Nate is a graduate of the University of Detroit Mercy and has earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting, a Master of Business Administration and is a Certified Public Accountant.  He was also a stand-out keeper for the Titans, earning the Horizon League Goalkeeper and Defensive Player of the Year awards.  Along with a brief stint helping Grythyttans IF in Sweden to promotion, Nate has been with City for six seasons, including the 2021 NISA year shutting down the league with a 0.45 goals against average and 19 shutouts while posting 23 wins, 5 draws, and a single loss.

BIRMINGHAM LEGION FC
Starting XI

Matt Vandekel – GK
Phanuel Kavita – D
Alex Crognale – D
Thomas Vancaeyezeele – D
Jonny Dean – D
Anderson Asiedou – M
Mikey Lopez – M
Enzo Martinez – M
Marlon Santos – F
Juan Agudelo – F
Propser Kasim – F

DETROIT CITY FC
Starting XI

Nate Steinwascher – GK
Matt Lewis – D
Stephen Carroll – D
Devon Amoo-Mensah – D
Rhys Williams – D
Deklan Wynne – D
Maxi Rodriguez – M
Abdoulaye Diop – M
Antoine Hoppenot – F
Connor Rutz – F
Pato Botello-Faz – F

Officiating tonight’s contest was veteran referee Matt Franz who has officiated 46 previous USL Championship matches since 2018, 6 NWSL matches in 2021, and 2 US Open Cup Matches (2018, 2019).  In the USL Championship, he has shown 174 yellow cards, 5 second yellow cards, and 11 red cards.  His assistants this evening were Art Arustamyan and Christian Little.  Austin Saini was the Fourth Official.

The first ten minutes were controlled by Birmingham, but City created the first opportunity.  Rhys Williams chipped a ball into the box that Pato headed just wide in the 12th minute.  Even though City held 54% of the possession in the first half, Birmingham controlled the play and, like the weather, things got a little nasty.  In the 20th minute Pato was shown a yellow card for a tackle on Mikey Lopez and six minutes later Enzo Martinez was carded for a take-down of Rhys Williams.  Birmingham outshot City 8-2.  Though none of City’s shot found the target, Nate kept us in the first half, stopping the two Birmingham shots on goal.

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In the second half the weather did not improve, but the play did.  In the 51st minute, Matt Lewis fired a long shot from distance, forcing Matt Van Oekel dive to his right and palm the ball away from goal.

Five minutes later, it was Juan Agudelo and Anderson Asiedu scampering toward goal.  Asiedu received the ball from Jonny Dean, tapped it over to Agudelo, who then chipped it forward.  The ball fell into the path of Asiedu right in front of goal, bounced and the midfielder from Ghana headed it.  Nate kept the ledger balanced by pushing it over the crossbar.

The next opportunity for Birmingham came in the 62nd minute when Marlon Santos was found alone on the left side of goal.  His shot deflected off Rhys Williams’ block, taking the steam out of it, allowing Nate to gather it in.

A minute later, Nate controlled the ball with his feet in the box.  Looking downfield, he sent a long kick to the right that sailed just over the center stripe and found Pato.  Pato continued its flight by heading it further downfield into the path of Maxi Rodriguez.  Maxi beat the defender to it then passed it across the box, beyond the reach of the keeper and two defenders.  Antoine Hoppenot used the slick surface to slide onto it and place it into the net.  For a few moments Keyworth was warm with cheers and smoke.

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Though Birmingham had 27 minutes to try to find a debit to offset their credit, they almost did in the 83rd minute.  Four quick passes up field, the fourth being a targeted ball into space for Jonny Dean to run onto and go in alone on the City goal.  Nate came out, made himself bigger than the larger-than-life player he has become this early in the season, and stopped the winger.

City made one substitute this evening, bringing in Francis Atuahene in for Antoine Hoppenot in the 75th minute. Birmingham made three second-half subs:  Mackey Diop for Juan Agudelo in the 66th minute, Bruno Laba for Marlon Santos in the 73rd minute, and Ryan James for Thomas Vancaeyezeele in the 84th minute.

And Referee Matt Franz showed a yellow card to Phanuel Kavita, the Birmingham captain in the fifth minute of added time.

Detroit collected their 3-points from Birmingham this Tax Day.

Player of the Match:  Rhys Williams.  Though not figuring into the scoring, Rhys’ defensive play tonight was outstanding.  He won 14 of 20 duels, 7 of 8 tackles, had 4 interceptions and 15 recoveries.  Both Rhys and Nate earned USL Championship Team of the Week honors for their performances this evening.

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STATS

Detroit City FC 1, Birmingham Legion FC 0
DCFC:  Antoine Hoppenot (Maxi Rodriguez) 63′

ATTENDANCE:  4,505

Possession: DCFC 50.0%, BIR 50%
Offsides:  DCFC 1, BIR 2
Corners:  DCFC 3, BIR 7
Passes:  DCFC 398, BIR 396
Passing Accuracy: DCFC 63.3%, BIR 66.4%
Shots:  DCFC 7, BIR 16
Shots on Target: DCFC 2, BIR 5
Blocked Shots:  DCFC 2, BIR 4
Fouls: DCFC 10, BIR 12
Yellow Cards:  DCFC 1 (Botello-Faz), BIR 2 (Enzo-Martinez, Kavita)
Red Cards:  DCFC 0, BIR 0

KEEPER KIT RECORD (Both USL Championship and Open Cup)

Another win for blue.

  • Purple Kit:  1 draw
  • Yellow Kit: 2 wins, 2 clean sheets
  • Blue Kit: 2 wins, 1 draw, 1 loss, 2 clean sheets

IN OTHER USL CHAMPIONSHIP MATCHES TODAY:

New York Red Bulls II 0, Rio Grande Valley FC 1

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