Hamtramck — A late Brogan Shrimpton goal rescued a 1-1 draw for Detroit City FC against Kalamazoo FC Saturday, but it was not enough to pull the toe tag from the National Premier Soccer League club’s postseason hopes.
While DCFC (4-3-2, 14 points) has a game in hand, second-place Grand Rapids FC’s 2-0 win over first-place AFC Ann Arbor on Friday means Le Rouge has to defeat the west Michigan club next Friday as well as win at home against Milwaukee on July 1 and at Kalamazoo on July 7.
Those faint postseason hopes, of course, got a slight boost when Grand Rapids (7-3-1, 22 points) fell 2-1 in the road Sunday against FC Columbus. A GRFC win or draw would have eliminated Le Rouge altogether from contention in the Great Lakes Conference race.
AFC Ann Arbor (7-1-2, 23 points) has two home matches left against FC Columbus on Friday and FC Indiana on July 7.
Shrimpton’s goal in the 84th minute exorcised some demons — notably a scoring drought that extended 182 minutes to DCFC's 1-0 win over Milwaukee on June 15 — and sent 6,128 spectators home from Keyworth Stadium with something to cheer besides the rainbow that featured after a passing rainstorm.
"We played a great game. The more disappointing thing is that we waited this long to do it," DCFC coach Ben Pirmann said. "We can’t wait for desperation to kick in … At the end of the day, you have to score goals.
"In the big picture, I am proud of the group in terms of how we played. I’m not worried about our group. I'm not worried about anything else except one game at a time."
The forward from Davenport University lobbed a bouncing ball past Kalamazoo FC goalkeeper Hasten Biddlecome to level the score after DCFC missed several scoring chances in both halves.
Kalamazoo FC’s Jordan Veillette scored on a miscue off a corner kick in the second minute, putting Le Rouge behind the eight ball from the get-go.
From there, DCFC ensued on a series of assaults on the Kalamazoo goal. DCFC midfielder Jonathan Barnes was a thorn for the Kalamazoo back line with penetrating runs down the right flank during the first half. His shot in 25th minute produced a fine diving save from Biddlecome while his pin-point cross to forward Jake Rudel was headed over the crossbar nearly 10 minutes later.
Shrimpton, DCFC’s eventual goal-getter, missed several chances as his shots were wide of the frame.
The most exhilarating moments occurred in stoppage time, especially when it appeared DCFC Rafa Mentzingen blasted in the winner only to be ruled offside.
"Everything we wanted to put into play was there," Pirmann said. "You play that game 10 times, we’ll probably win eight or nine but tonight is the one we didn’t. The biggest thing was a lack of finishing."