Shawn Lawson did what was necessary to run Detroit City's FC unbeaten streak to 10, snatching an equalizer in the 88th minute to salvage a 1-1 draw with Grand Rapids FC Friday in Le Rouge's regular-season home finale before 6,807 fans at Keyworth Stadium.
Lawson's dramatic goal, courtesy of a left-footed in-swinger from Max Todd, leaves DCFC level on points (27) with rival AFC Ann Arbor in a battle for first place in the NPSL Great Lakes Conference Division.
The two teams meet Sunday at Concordia University. Kickoff is 3 p.m.
Detroit City FC saw its remarkable scoreless streak end at 843 minutes — or about 14 hours — when Grand Rapids FC’s Eric Conerty struck a right-footed shot from inside the 18-yard box that eluded goalkeeper Hunter Morse before nestling into the corner of the net.
Grand Rapids’ T.J. Ifaturoti weaved in from the right side before feeding Conerty, who shot wide just minutes earlier after a rare DCFC defensive giveaway. Conerty’s goal in the 35th minute gave Grand Rapids a 1-0 lead before a thunderstorm halted play 17 minutes into the second half.
The defensive feat spanned a nine-game run during which DCFC outscored foes 29-0 while going 7-0-2, which included scoreless draws against AFC Ann Arbor on May 24 and Grand Rapids on June 9.
DCFC (8-1-3) came into Friday's pivotal match looking to at least clinch a playoff spot against Grand Rapids (7-3-2).
Le Rouge would rue some missed scoring chances in the first half.
Midfielder Will Perkins was twice sent in alone on Grand Rapids netminder Joseph White only to be denied by adroit foot saves by the English keeper.
With a minute left before intermission, DCFC's Todd struck the goalpost while strike partner Lawson’s half-volley missed wide right in the 29th minute.
A nearly two-hour delay due to rain and lightning contributed to a choppy second half.
Cyrus Saydee's entrance into the match in the 73rd minute appeared enliven the proceedings for Le Rouge.
A minute before Lawson scored his team-leading ninth goal, midfielder Abdoulaye Diop drilled a howitzer outside the box that the Grand Rapids goalkeeper barely managed to take the sting out.
Injury time became a free for all as neither team was content to settle for a draw.
Grand Rapids' Jack McCarren, who replaced Conerty in the 73rd minute, rattled a shot off the goalpost, which rebounded off Morse's chest before the Le Rouge goalkeeper corralled it.
Grand Rapids' Jacob VanderLaan received a straight red for hauling down a DCFC player. Then Danny Deakin found himself one-on-one with the Grand Rapids goalkeeper, who managed to paw the attacking midfielder's shot away with his right hand.
DCFC hosts Liga MX side FC Juarez in a friendly on Wednesday at Keyworth Stadium before wrapping up the NPSL regular season on July 13 at Kalamazoo FC.
Kalamazoo FC handed DCFC its only regular-season defeat coming into Friday, a 3-2 setback on May 19 with Elliott Miller scoring the winner in the 90th minute.