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Max Todd's goal lifts Detroit City FC to semifinal win over LA Force in NISA Fall Tournament

Larry O'Connor
The Detroit News

Detroit City FC's first year as a professional club could be adorned with some championship flair after all.

And that is partly down to a player who has been around the block a few times with DCFC. Max Todd, who is on his third tour of duty with the club, supplied the lone goal in a 1-0 victory over the LA Force Wednesday in the National Independent Soccer Association Fall Tournament semifinal at Keyworth Stadium.

DCFC's Kevin Venegas and Michael Kafari were part of a defensive effort that contained a high-powered LA Force side in a 1-0 semifinal victory Wednesday.

DCFC will play Oakland Roots, which defeated Chattanooga FC 3-2 in the other semi on Wednesday, for the NISA Fall Tournament Championship on Friday at Keyworth Stadium. Kickoff is 6 p.m.

Todd’s goal off a corner kick in the 21st minute was allowed to stand due to Le Rouge’s stout backline of Steve Carroll, Tendai Jiriri and Sebastian Capozucchi and the tireless midfield play of Kevin Venegas, Michael Karfari, Jimmy Filerman, Bakie Goodman and Connor Rutz.

Le Rouge goalkeeper Jean Antoine, who picked up the shutout, made a crucial save in the 73rd minute when he dove to his right to parry away a sinking shot by LA Force’s William Raygoza from 20 yards out.

Todd was opportunistic on his first goal since re-signing with the club before the fall tournament. On the corner kick, the ball caromed around the goalmouth where Rutz pivoted before striking a low shot that the Edinburgh, Scotland native redirected past LA Force netminder Hugo Gomez.

Todd showed signs regaining the goalscoring form DCFC fans have been accustomed to during his two previous tenures during Sunday’s 4-2 win over New Amsterdam FC when he had a couple of attempts on net.

In the seventh minute, Todd was chopped down in the box by the LA Force’s Jimmie Villalobos, which led to Le Rouge being awarded a penalty kick. Gomez stopped Yazeed Matthews’ attempt, diving to his right to save the spot kick.

It was the second penalty save by the LA Force netminder in as many games. Gomez turned away a penalty kick by the New York Cosmos’ Isaac Acuna in Monday’s 2-1 victory.

Coach Trevor James went with his favored 3-5-2 formation but offered a twist with Capozucchi getting a rare start. The Chilean made his presence felt in the first half, crunching into LA Force forward Cristian Gordillo Moreno during an aerial challenge at midfield.

Moreno, who came in with a tournament-leading four goals, was left lying on the turf for a moment but remained in the match.

loconnor@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @larryo1961