Midwest United FC completes season sweep of Detroit City FC women

Nolan Bianchi
The Detroit News

Sometimes, a team just has your number.

Midwest United FC, ranked just above Detroit City FC's women's side in the USL W League Great Lakes Division, won its second 3-1 game of the season over Le Rouge at Keyworth Stadium on Tuesday night.

United (5-2-2) got two goals in the opening 26 minutes and added an insurance goal in the waning moments to down DCFC (3-3-4), which will now end its season with a home-and-home against undefeated division leader Indy Eleven on Friday and July 9.

The United win marks a sweep over DCFC on the season; United won, 3-1, in Grand Rapids on May 26.

"I think it's an intimidation factor," DCFC coach Sam Piraine said of United's dominance. "I think we're not prepared off the bat. Knowing that they've had success in the past and knowing that we haven't really been over that hump of beating them yet, I think that's something that's mental that we need to get over. Once we do that, we'll be fine."

Stitch Currie got United on the board early with a go-ahead goal in the 4th minute. United overwhelmed Le Rouge’s defense with several chances, and Currie eventually put a shot home after DCFC couldn’t clear.

DCFC appeared to have tied the game in the 22nd minute on a goal from Brynn Gardner. Ellie Pool took a tight-angle shot near the end line, and as the ball careened into the air, Gardner barreled into United goalkeeper Lauren Kozal, who was trying to grab the ball out of the air. Referees originally gave Le Rouge the equalizer, but wiped it off the board after reconvening.

Currie added her second of the game moments later to make it 2-0 in the 26th minute. United caught the DCFC defense napping, as she received a clean pass from the end line and booted it home.

"We shouldn't have to dig ourselves that hole that we've been doing all year to climb out of. I mean, when we do that, we perform well, but it's just a matter of putting that full 90 minutes together, and just wasn't there tonight," Piraine said. "

DCFC found some life near the end of the first half, when Kayla Addison cut the deficit to 2-1 in the 40th minute. Shannon McCarthy took a corner kick that found its way to Rachel Philpotts for a header and then to Addison, but was originally ruled to not be a goal. After the officials got together, they decided the goal would count. 

"We were really frustrated with that second goal. We just kept pushing forward and forward and we did get two back and then unfortunately the one didn't count, but we were just pushing to get that third goal," said Emilie Gardner, who was named Woman of the Match for DCFC.

Piraine applauded Gardner's effort for shutting down United's Marti Corby, who had a team-leading seven goals entering Tuesday before Currie (eight) leapfrogged her.

"She shut down one of the league's best," Piraine said. "She did a fantastic job disrupting the flow, breaking the play down, and then helped us in the attack with her distribution. So I thought overall, she was a standout for me today."

DCFC maintained the momentum in the second half. McCarthy had a chance from inside the box that was saved by a diving Kozal.

After a few saves from DCFC keeper Bethany Kopel as the second half rolled on, Le Rouge got its best chance at an equalizer in the 80th minute. Sustained pressure and good passing landed DCFC a handful of chances in close, but nobody could get a decent boot on the ball as United cleared the ball to safety. 

The missed chances would ultimately come back to haunt DCFC, as United's Regan Berg scored a header off a corner kick in the 86th minute to put the game away.

"The final third or the final pass, no matter what part of the field we were on, was not accurate," Piraine said. "When you're playing a team like Midwest, you have to be accurate and be a little bit more disciplined, otherwise they're gonna punish you.