Lawson's two goals punch Detroit City FC's ticket to NISA Fall Tournament semifinals

Larry O'Connor
The Detroit News

A pair of Shawn-Claud Lawson goals in the second half enabled Detroit City FC to escape with a 4-2 victory over New Amsterdam FC on the final day of Group A play Sunday at Hamtramck’s Keyworth Stadium.

Kevin Venegas and Michael Kafari added goals for DCFC (2-0-1), which advances to the National Independent Soccer Association semifinals Wednesday.

Michael Dello (74th and 85’) had both goals for New Amsterdam, which took advantage of some shaky defending with the result seemingly in hand for Le Rouge.

DCFC was the beneficiary of sloppy marking in the first half.

DCFC's Shawn-Claud Lawson

Venegas capitalized on a lollipop clearance by the New Amsterdam backline, blasting the wayward ball on the half volley from 17 yards into the back the net to put DCFC up 1-0 10 minutes in.

Four minutes later, midfielder Bakie Goodman demonstrated why he is one of the NISA's premier playmakers, gesturing to Yazeed Matthews where to move before earmarking a pass to the South African, who in turn, redirected the ball to Kafari who scored.

The two-goal advantage enabled Le Rouge to manage the flow and absorb New Amsterdam’s attack.

Moments after skying a shot over the bar, Lawson atoned by slotting home his first goal from the right flank to give Le Rouge a 3-0 lead. Ryan Peterson, who came on for forward Max Todd in the 65th minute, assisted on the play in the 71st minute.

New Amsterdam took advantage of some slack defensive play as Bello nodded in a crossed ball by Carlton McKenzie from the right side to make it a two-goal game in the 74th minute.

Lawson restored DCFC’s three-goal lead, slamming in a pass from Peterson who chested down the ball to the Toronto sniper for his 42nd career goal.

Bello headed in his second goal off a free kick in the 85th minute, providing a few frayed nerves at the end.

Oakland Roots (2-0-1) and DCFC (2-0-1) were the top two finishers in Group A, but the Roots (plus-3) take first over Le Rouge (plus-1) due to the edge in goal difference.  

Group B play concludes Monday with Chattanooga FC playing Cal United Strikers at 5 p.m. and New York Cosmos taking on LA Force at 8 p.m.

Semifinals start Wednesday with the Group A first-place finisher Oakland playing the Group B second-place finisher at 5 p.m. and the Group B first-place facing the Group A runner-up DCFC at 8 p.m.