Danny Deakin's goal in the 60th minute held up as Detroit City FC opened Members Cup play with a 2-1 victory over Chattanooga FC before 6,752 spectators at Keyworth Stadium.
Former Michigan standout Marcello Borgess opened the scoring in the 23rd minute for DCFC.
Deakin's tally gave DCFC a two-goal cushion, which Chattanooga's Alun Webb shaved in half on a breakaway goal five minutes later. The ensuing 25 minutes were tense for Le Rouge, who saw captain and central defender Stephen Carroll exit at halftime.
Leading scorer Shawn Lawson (18 goals in all competitions) also departed midway in the first half with what appeared to be hamstring injury.
Deakin replaced Lawson upfront and responded by deftly placing a shot between the legs of Chattanooga goalkeeper Phil D'Amico for his third goal of the season. Ryan Peterson, who came on for Carroll at the start of the second half, sent the Sheffield, England native in alone on goal with an exquisitely placed left-footed cross.
Borgess was also the beneficiary of some clever passing. Lawson lifted a long ball from midfield to Cyrus Saydee, who turned and ran into the box before lining up Borgess on the left side to bury his first goal for Le Rouge.
DCFC's defense kept its composure despite the personnel shuffle.
Newcomer James Vaughan dropped back from midfield and joined Jalen Crisler and Seb Harris on the backline.
Nate Steinwascher started in goal for DCFC, which travels to California for its next Members Cup encounter with Napa Valley 1839 FC on Saturday. Kickoff is 10 p.m.