Detroit City FC women beat the heat, pick up 2-1 win over AFC Ann Arbor

Nolan Bianchi
The Detroit News

Hamtramck — The Detroit's City FC's women's team picked up two wins on Wednesday night: One against the sweltering 95-degree heat, and another against AFC Ann Arbor.

Shannon McCarthy had a goal and an assist and Brynn Gardner also scored, as DCFC turned a 2-0 halftime lead into a 2-1 victory over Ann Arbor for Le Rouge's first win at Keyworth Stadium this season.

DCFC's Ellie Pool hugs teammates Brynn Gardner after her header to score the first goal of the game in the first half.

"I saw our team play better than they ever have. That was the most exciting part of the night, was just that everyone came together, and everyone played their best," goalkeeper Gabby Schriver said. "I was just really proud of the team tonight."

Prior to Wednesday night's win, all three of DCFC's home games this season ended in draws. Schriver made four saves for DCFC, none more important than a pair in the final 83rd minute off a set piece. 

"This is what we should be doing every time we're at home, walking away with either, ideally three points, or one point, but never losing," McCarthy said. "That's what this community deserves, that's what this team deserves, so (it's) very important to do that. It's a high standard, but it is the standard. So we want to keep moving forward with that."

With temperatures in Hamtramck peaking at 97 degrees Wednesday and humidity reaching 49-percent, the game paused every 15 minutes so players could rehydrate. 

"Today with the heat, it was one-third at a time. Every 15 minutes was its own game," McCarthy said. "So we had to stay focused and that's what we're going to do going into the next one as well."

Gardner gave DCFC (2-3-3) a lead in the 14th minute. McCarthy possessed the ball near the right side and sent a cross to the middle for Gardner, who placed a header into the upper left corner for a 1-0 advantage and her first goal this season.

"Brynn's header was way better than anything else that happened in that play, so I'm happy for her, too, for putting that one away."

McCarthy then added to the lead in the 44th minute. Gardner sent a lob to the far side of the net to Madison Duncan, who chipped it back to the middle, where it was defended to the top of the box. McCarthy was in perfect position to take the shot in stride, scoring in the bottom-right corner, her first of the season.

"I was waiting for her to be named woman of the match for quite a few games now," Schriver said of McCarthy. "No one deserves it more than her. She came in playing defense this season, and then now they put her in the midfield and I feel like that was a key piece of what we needed. She just fights so hard. She wants the ball. She's not afraid of having the ball, she's not afraid of losing it. ... She's just super gritty, super fun to play with."

Ann Arbor cut the DCFC lead in half in the 58th minute. Ashley Zugay put home Ann Arbor's first after a back-cut from Luana Grabias.

DCFC battled back as the game got chippy in the second half and nearly added to its lead. McCarthy took a hard foul from Angeline Kieh that yielded a yellow card; on the set piece, McCarthy sent the ball to Gabriella Pool in the box, where it was headed off the crossbar.

"I know you can kind of let those emotions flare, to wear your heart on your sleeve, play with your heart, but if you can check it back and really control that, that's what you gotta do in that moment," McCarthy said.