Detroit City FC and Michigan Bucks will renew their tense U.S. Open Cup rivalry but with a different twist this time: They will tangle on Le Rouge’s patch.
The two sides meet in the first round of single-elimination cup competition on Wednesday, May 9, at Keyworth Stadium in Hamtramck. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.
“At the end of it, I don't think there was a possibility of us not playing the Bucks,” DCFC coach Ben Pirmann said. “So that's not a surprise at all.
“But I think the fact that we have them at our home stadium (is). Ideally, we can draw thousands of fans and be able to have that support we always do. We're excited about that.”
This marks Le Rouge’s fourth appearance in the competition, the last one in 2016 when they defeated the Premier Development League Bucks on penalty kicks at Oakland University before losing to United Soccer League Louisville City in the second round.
DCFC is one of 19 National Soccer Premier League clubs along with AFC Ann Arbor to qualify for this year's U.S. Open Cup, which features 94 teams from across the country.
Second-division United Soccer League teams enter the competition enter the second round, which takes place May 16. Major League Soccer teams enter the competition in the fourth round, which takes place June 6.
AFC Ann Arbor hosts Ocean City Nor’easters 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 9, at Eastern Michigan University’s Scicluna Field.
Sporting Kansas City are the current holders of the Cup, which is the oldest soccer knockout competition in the U.S. that was started in 1914. The U.S. Open Cup announcement comes as Pirmann continues to assemble DCFC’s roster.
The 2018 Le Rouge will feature several key players from last year’s Midwest Region championship side, most notably 2017 NPSL player of the year Cyrus Saydee.
Also back is last season’s leading goal-poacher Shawn Lawson (nine goals, 16 matches).
The club has also brought in a handful of new players, including Novi native Jimmy Fiscus. The second-team All-Big Ten defender played for AFC Ann Arbor last season where he served as a vital cog on one of the premier backlines in the league.
The 6-foot-2 defender was invited to the Major League Soccer’s combine and had a shot of possibly being taken in the higher rounds of the league’s draft. The supply chain management major at MSU accepted a job locally instead of pursuing a professional soccer full time, Pirmann said.
Fiscus will be joined by former Spartan midfielder Brad Centala of Grosse Pointe Woods, who played two seasons for Lansing United, which has moved from the NPSL to the PDL this season.
Like Fiscus, Centala had a chance to tackle a professional soccer at a higher level but opted to stay in the area while working toward an advanced degree.
The pair can now play at DCFC for Pirmann, who is also an MSU assistant coach since the players no longer play college soccer.
Another newcomer is midfielder Brandon Bartel, who played in all 17 matches at the University of Penn, is a product of the Orlando City’s U16 team in the U.S. Development Academy.
Pirmann is also pleased with the acquisition of Valparaiso products Adan Garcia and Rafael Mentzingen. Brazilian-born Mentzingen, a forward, played with Lansing United last season.
“Those are two attacking players that we expect to thrive in our system,” he said. “They both have been able to score goals. They have both have been able to set up their teammates and be impact players.”
Defender Tyler Stephens returns after a season abroad playing in New Zeeland with Team Taranaki. Stephens, who is from Roseville, played for DCFC in 2015 and ’16.
The roster remains a work in progress as DCFC prepares for its April 14 opener against Western Michigan at Keyworth.
“We're still adding three or four more players,” Pirmann said. “I think in that aspect, we should have a pretty solid team again.
“Then obviously just like the challenges are every single summer: It's getting guys together, training well, meshing, coming together, building team chemistry and then being able to play for some results after that.”
Jeff Adkins, M
Stephen Carroll, D
Dave Edwardson, M
Roddy Green, F
Seb Harris, D
Greg Janicki, D
Shawn Lawson, F
Fernando Pina, GK
Cyrus Saydee, M
Omar Sinclair, D
Nate Steinwascher, GK
Brandon Bartel, M, Penn
Brad Centala, M, Michigan State
Jimmy Fiscus, D, Michigan State
Adan Garcia, M, Valparaiso
Rafael Mentzingen, F, Valparaiso
Brogan Shrimpton, F, Davenport
Mattias Tomasino, D, Northwestern