DCFC's postseason hopes dealt blow with loss to Grand Rapids FC

Larry O'Connor
The Detroit News

Hamtramck — Detroit City FC witnessed its postseason hopes sail off in the distant horizon following a 2-0 loss Sunday to Grand Rapids FC in National Professional Soccer League play before 5,077 spectators at Keyworth Stadium.

Scott Doney capitalized on a DCFC defensive breakdown, tapping in a pass in front of a helpless Nate Steinwascher in the 73rd minute to give Grand Rapids a 1-0 lead. Morris Kamara struck the final dagger, slotting home a goal on a breakaway with Le Rouge vulnerable on the counter-attack during stoppage time.

The victory gives second-place Grand Rapids (6-2-1, 19 points) a six-point lead on DCFC (4-3-1, 13 points) in the NPSL Great Lakes Conference standings and comes on the heels of the west Michigan side’s demoralizing 3-0 loss to debutante FC Columbus on Friday.

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“We just managed to break free down the wing and I made run to the far post and I got my foot to it,” said Doney, who nearly snatched a second goal on a downward header 10 minutes later if not for Steinwascher's one-handed save. “I was pretty happy about that.

“It was big. We needed a big week. We needed a big bounce-back after the Columbus game and for our playoff hopes.”

DCFC had chances but couldn’t maintain substantial possession over 90 minutes in the sweltering heat.

Defender Stephen Carroll wasn’t able to convert on a sublime delivery to the far post in the 71st minute from midfielder Danny Deakin, who entered as a second-half sub.

“It’s always difficult when you drop points to teams above you and stuff like that,” Carroll said. “It’s a decent league, so there’s always teams dropping points everywhere.

“So we still have our chances. We not going to be running this out for the sake of running it out. We're going to push for it every step of the way.”

Starting Le Rouge goalkeeper Fernando Pina exited in the 18th minute after hyperextending his left knee. After the match, Pina said he didn’t think the injury will keep him out an extended period of time.

DCFC coach Ben Pirmann also missed the match due to working toward obtaining a U.S. Soccer Federation A coaching license. Assistant Josh Rogers handled things from the sidelines.

With the heat and humidity, tempers rose to the occasion. DCFC’s Roddy Green shoved Grand Rapids' Trent Vegter after the latter clipped the Le Rouge forward on the back heel as he was going down. The referee didn’t issue a yellow card, but did show three in the first 45 minutes  two to the home side and one to the visitors.

Carroll refused to blame the temperature for DCFC’s failure.

“The heat was the same for both teams,” the defender said. “They took their chances; we didn’t.”