Detroit City FC (W) at Flint City AFC

May 29, 2022
USL-W Regular Season Match
Atwood Stadium, Flint, MI

Deer Season

Game Three of the four-match road trip was on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend in Flint.  Missing from the bench was Coach Sam Piraine and Assistant Coach Danny Dragoi, as they were coaching Detroit City FC youth teams in the Canton Cup.  Keeper Coach Eric Perilla and Director of Youth Development Tyler McManus guided the team.  This afternoon was sunny and hot, with the sun high above the unshaded playing field.  The pitch at Atwood Stadium has more lines on it than a theme park in the middle of a summer day.

Flint City AFC is the Women’s Team of the Flint City Bucks of USL 2.  We knew them prior to their 2019 move to Flint as the Michigan Bucks.  There are fond memories of City’s US Open Cup elimination of the talented yet support-less team in 2016 and 2018 and who sought to bring MLS to Detroit (without a stadium or fans, no less) with, surprisingly, no success.  Having acquired the women’s franchise Corktown AFC on January 5, 2022, the women’s team is operated through a partnership between the Bucks and Corktown AFC founder and owner Eddie Hudson.  Our women now have the opportunity to renew the rivalry with the Bucks and their UWS challenger, Corktown AFC, and bask in the glory of victory against both.

Starting XI

Sophia Homan – GK
Lexy Smith
Caitlin O’Malley
Jenna Blackburn
Grace Menser
Abby Werthman
Olivia Rush
Zoe Hudson
Alli Leonard
Sammi Lopez
Grace Simon

Starting XI

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Front Row, Left to Right.

Brynn Gardner – Forward
Gabby Tremonti – Defender
Deighton Wamer – Goalkeeper
Faith Webber – Midfielder
Kenna White – Forward

Back Row, Left to Right.

Ellie Pool – Forward
Alia Frederick – Midfielder
Madison Duncan – Midfielder
Ally Childers – Midfielder
Shannon McCarthy – Midfielder
Elisa Baeron – Defender, Captain

City came out gunning, creating a dangerous chance in the first minute.  The pressure didn’t stop, and they were rewarded in the 8th minute with the first goal of the match.  Shannon McCarthy took the throw-in on the right side of the pitch, tossing it down the line.  Kenna White caught up to it, then brought it back a couple of steps before chipping it toward the box.  The ball bounced to Brynn Gardner who then one-touched it to Ellie Pool.  Ellie allowed Madison Duncan and a Flint defender to pass by to her left, and she stepped right and fired it into the upper right hand corner of the goal, beyond Sophia Homan, the Flint keeper’s reach.  This is the fourth of five matches where City scored the first goal of the match.

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In the 13th minute, Ellie Pool lashed another shot just wide of the goal.  Four minutes later, Faith Webber passed forward to Brynn Gardner, who rolled the ball downfield for Kenna White to run onto.  Kenna braked, allowed the Flint defender to pass her, then cut in on goal where a defender and the keeper combined on the stop.

But as has been the case in each of the four matches where City opened the scoring, their opponent leveled.  This time, in the 21st minute, an errant header attempt to clear the defensive end found its way to Abby Werthman in the middle of the pitch.  She pushed it through to Jenna Blackburn who squeezed a low shot between two City defenders and beyond Deighton Wamer’s reach as she dove to her right.

But City kept pushing forward.  From a 25th-minute throw-in, Sophia Homan punched the ball away from the Flint goal.  The ball fell to the foot of Brynn Gardner.  Her shot rang hard off the crossbar.  In the 34th minute, Ally Childers’ pass sent Brynn Gardner toward goal, but she chipped her shot over the goal.  Three minutes later, Gabby Tremonti, the University of Dayton junior who played for City’s UWS2 team last season, earning UWS2 All-Great Lakes Team honors, cleared to Kenna White.  Kenna sent the ball down the right wing to Madison Duncan.  Madison, last year’s team MVP who has played professionally in the Czech First League for 1. FC Slovacko, delivered the ball toward the goal where Ellie Pool got in and headed the ball off a defender and into the goal.  However, it was ruled offside.  As hard as they worked, and as much as Kenna White, Brynn Gardner, Shannon McCarthy, and Madison Duncan owned the right side of the pitch, and Ally Childers, Alia Frederick, and Ellie Pool dominated the left, the go-ahead goal remained elusive and the teams went into the locker rooms at halftime deadlocked at 1-1.

When the second half began, City made a change.  Faith Weber made way for 16-year-old Niomi Girmaldo.

Ellie Pool continued to threaten the Flint defenders, attacking early and getting a couple of shots within the first couple minutes.  Though City continued to dominate, Flint would occasionally sneak in a chance.  In the 64th minute, a cross from the left side was dropping between Deighton Wamer and Flint forward Alli Leonard.  Leonard’s head made contact with the ball and Deighton’s mitt.  The ball went wide and Leonard went down.  Later, another Flint forward was sent through who collided with Deighton after making the save.

Another substitution for Detroit was made in the 66th minute.  Margaret Berry came in for Ally Childers. Margaret is one of the remaining players from the inaugural 2020 season.  She started both matches in the 2020 UWS Stadium Showcase and four matches during the 2021 UWS season.  She scored a brilliant goal at Lansing United on May 23, 2021 – a long lofty ball that fell beyond the reach of the keeper.  In her four years at Boston University, she played 29 matches, starting 7 of them, and scored 4 goals.

Finally.  In the 76th minute, Shannon McCarthy lined up for a corner kick.  She sent a right-footed outswinging ball into the box.  It sailed just over Margaret Berry’s head, then dropped between a defender and Elisa Baeron.  It was then a race to the ball between a defender and Kenna White.  Kenna rushed in and fired a shot that hit another defender.  But the ball rebounded to Kenna who fired it low and hard through a seam and beat the keeper.

City grabbed the lead.

There was no stopping now for City.  Five minutes later, Niomi Grimaldo sent a ball down the middle of the pitch from the midfield.  Kenna White outmaneuvered the defender, and with a defender trailing her, Kenna took the ball thirty yards and rolled a shot past the keeper and just wide of the far post.  Though they had a lead to defend, forward was the only direction.

In the 84th minute, Margaret Berry broke up Flint’s offensive possession and passed the ball out wide to Ellie Pool.  Fighting off a defender at the midfield stripe, Ellie sent a pass that found Kenna White.  Kenna passed it back to Elisa Baeron in the City zone.  Elisa went left, then delivered a long ball down the left sideline for Alia Frederick to run onto.  Alia took it toward the goal, getting around a defender, then passed it to Kenna White.  Kenna’s shot struck the reaching leg of a Flint defender, deflecting the ball to Ellie Pool.  Ellie lifted the ball over the keeper and into the upper right corner of the net, to seal the victory.

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A couple sets of substitutions were made.  In the 84th minute, Brynn Gardner and Madison Duncan came off for Emma Bowman and Brooke Sleeva.  Then, in the 89th minute, Isabella Sabo and Emilie Gardner came in for Kenna White and Alia Frederick.  When the referee’s whistle blew as he pointed to the center of the pitch, City had earned its first victory of the season, with their impressive performance.

Player of the Match:  Ellie Pool

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Flint City AFC 1, Detroit City FC 3
DCFC: Ellie Pool (Brynn Gardner) 8′
FCAFC: Jenna Blackburn (Abby Werthman) 21′
DCFC: Kenna White 76′
DCFC: Ellie Pool (Kenna White, Alia Frederick) 84′


City fired 26 shots (Ellie Pool (7), Kenna White (6), Nimoi Grimaldo (5), Madison Duncan (3), Brynn Gardner (2), Faith Weber, Gabby Tremonti, Alia Frederick).  Flint City AFC had 8.

Deighton Wamer in her City debut was credited with 2 saves.  Sophie Homan for Flint was credited with 9 saves.

Flint City AFC’s Lexy Smith saw the match’s only yellow card.

City would end this four-match road trip in Ann Arbor against AFC Ann Arbor on Wednesday, June 1st.


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