Two second-half goals, one coming on a penalty, carried Detroit City FC to a 2-0 victory over the Michigan Stars in NPSL Members Cup action Tuesday before 3,307 spectators at Keyworth Stadium.
Ryan Peterson (65th minute, penalty kick) and Richard Bryan (85') scored for DCFC (6-0-1), which pulled within a point of the first-place New York Cosmos (6-0-2) with three matches remaining.
The teams meet Saturday in a showdown at Mitchel Athletic Complex in Uniondale, New York. Kickoff is 7 p.m.
With a game in hand, a win would put in Le Rouge in the driver's seat in the cup competition. DCFC plays Michigan Stars on Wednesday, Oct. 16, at Ultimate Soccer Arenas (7 p.m.) before closing out the season Saturday, Oct. 19, at home against the Milwaukee Torrent.
The Cosmos remaining game after Saturday is on the road against last-place Napa Valley 1839 FC on Saturday, Oct. 19.
DCFC went full throttle against the visiting Stars in the first half.
Forward Shawn Lawson, getting the start up front with Peterson in Trevor James' 4-4-2 formation, missed on a couple of golden opportunities in the first 45 minutes.
Midfielder Bakie Goodman delivered a sumptuous ball to the former Oakland University star at the far post, which he volleyed wide in the 19th minute. Peterson also redirected a clever backheel to Lawson that Stars goalkeeper Tatenda Mkuruva saved.
DCFC's live stream crew had the unofficial first-half shot total at 11-2 in LeRouge's favor.
A bit of misfortunate led to the penalty being award when Stars defender James Abraham kneeled to deal with a rolling ball and it caromed off his right arm.
Peterson slotted the ensuing spot kick low to the left corner, past Mkuruva who couldn't stop the blast despite guessing correctly.
"We passed it passed better and we were getting into dangerous areas in the second half and not scoring and we did get a break with the handball," James said to Neal Ruhl in a postgame interview. "Ryan dispatches the penalty and obviously it opens a little more space for us and it allows us to create a little bit more.
Bryan's goal came in the run of play, and it was exquisite. After taking a pass outside the 18-yard area, the defender caressed the ball with his right foot along the box before switching to his left and bending a hard low shot past Mkuruva. The goal was his first for DCFC.
Goalkeeper Nate Steinwascher registered his third straight shutout, fifth in Members Cup play.