It was a tale of two halves, as the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC played Detroit City FC to a 1-1 draw on Saturday afternoon at Keyworth Stadium in Hamtramck, Michigan.
The first half belonged to the Hounds, as they outshot DCFC, 7-1, with three shots on frame including Albert Dikwa’s 18th minute tally. Even more impressively, Pittsburgh’s midfield and back line were in complete control, picking off many passes and denying opportunities in the final third even despite being outpossessed.
Everything changed in the second half. Detroit City FC made some proper adjustments and came out on the front foot in the final 45 minutes, playing with more patience and purpose in its attack, putting a lot more pressure on goal. There were some close calls in the box, but eventually, DCFC’s pressure was enough to generate a penalty kick opportunity in the 72nd minute for Maxi Rodriguez to convert the match’s equalizer.
With this result, the Hounds now post a 2-0-1 record, while Detroit now holds a 1-1-1 record in their first season in USL Championship.
Was this match also the beginning of something more?
Did the Hounds’ supporter group, the Steel Army, making the trip to Hamtramck, ignite a new, budding rivalry between the two clubs?PSN’s Mark Goodman set the stage nicely with his takeaways on DCFC’s soccer culture in his match preview aptly titled Charmingly Obnoxious.
Detroit City have a passionate, in-your-face fan base. How can you not love a team that got their supporters to raise the money to renovate Keyworth Stadium, which allowed them to pay off their debt two years early with donations? What’s better than a team where the fans are so invested, they volunteer to paint the benches in their newly renovated stadium? How can you not respect a team that was drawing over 5,000 fans a game when they were in NPSL, a league of teams across the US that generally plays before a crowd of a hundred on your local high school football field? DCFC are a great story of lower league soccering success in America. Huzzah!!
There was plenty of interesting reaction and banter that followed on Saturday in the stands and also on social media.The seeds of a rivalry may have been planted on Saturday, and we have all the reaction from the day below.
Post Match Reaction on Pittsburgh Sports Live
For immediate reaction after the match, Pittsburgh Soccer Now contributor Matt Popchock joined me on Pittsburgh Sports Live to break down the match.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xL7iJHiBLzE&t=592s
Post Match with Bob Lilley
In addition, thanks to the Riverhounds SC’s Matt Grubba for providing us with the video clip of Riverhounds SC’s Head Coach Bob Lilley’s post match takeways, which can also be found on Pittsburgh Sports Live.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwYXFeqAjio&t=15s
As for the nuances of the match, look for more to come in my upcoming Takeaways and Player Grades piece, which will follow later Sunday or early Monday.
What They’re Saying
Here’s what they’re saying about the match from the other locker room, as reported in Detroit News.
“I think we just still (are) getting used to the physical side of the game,” DCFC manager Trevor James said. “We couldn’t really create anything (early on), we couldn’t get anything into the final third. We got some good ball in their half, but we didn’t really get any opportunities.”
“Apart from that (corner), I thought they did quite well,” James said. “I don’t think there was too many opportunities for Pittsburgh in the game.”
“It’s a learning lesson,” Maxi Rodriguez said.
“We’ve got to start games better and kind of break down teams, and kind of understand what the game needs earlier,” Rodriguez said. “Thankfully we came up the second half, kind of first step forward, and got a goal from it.
“…We can’t wait for the 45th minute to get going. I think if we can start from the whistle, I think we can beat teams or put ourselves in a better position to beat teams.”
“That’s a good side. I think we’re going to create a rivalry with them, so I’m just thankful we got a point, but unfortunately, we didn’t get a win.”
#DETvPIT on Twitter
Now come on @TWalls20 you’ve played against enough of our teams in Michigan to know better than to count us out like that. Lol. 😎⚽️ And next time…I’d be happy to place a bet on it!
— Kelly Zirwes-Haapala (@KellyHaapala) March 27, 2022
Here's a replay of potential handball on Hounds' defender Nathan DosSantos…
— John Krysinsky (@JohnKrysinsky) March 26, 2022
— Rob Chappell (@robchappell365) March 26, 2022
That was a make up call. #DETvPIT
— YSFC Podcast (@YINZsportsFC) March 26, 2022
I feared the defense would be shaky. The team loaded up on offense which might have overcome the defense if they had played. No Dixon available. Kelly stayed on the sidelines.
— Dave Biesecker (@Constipatedoody) March 26, 2022
You got lucky the referee AND linesman both missed the obvious handball in the box at the 53'. Should of had 2 PK's tonight so take your draw and move on. DCFC put the pressure on them the 2nd half and caused those fouls!
— Mike Turko (@miketurko68) March 26, 2022
— Sean Spence (@scyldsceafing) March 27, 2022
The Riverhounds SC’s first-ever trip to face a foe eminating from the Greater Detroit Metro Saturday also saw the convergence of the Hounds’ supporter group, Steel Army upon Hamtramck.
This also provided for plenty of interesting banter.Apparently the DCFC faithful were not exactly happy with the tweets coming from Steel Army on Saturday, but especially the one posted below.
This is beyond disappointing from a city that I have deep respect for. Hamtramck is a historic city full of wonderful people that welcomed the @DetroitCityFC community with open arms, and they’ve returned the love back. It is home. What an embarrassing elitist tweet, @SteelArmy. https://t.co/0CUE2sHqCf
— Scientist Kevin Romanchik (he/him) (@kevin_ro) March 27, 2022
Over the years I’ve seen some lazy ass people rip on Detroit and nearby, but this takes the cake. Of course, your feed has no match content because *checks notes* the @RiverhoundsSC did not win against an expansion team. #DCTID https://t.co/T0Fb0JKnxw
— Daily Detroit (@TheDailyDetroit) March 27, 2022
This is horrible and immoral. I’ve been to Hamtramck for a match at Keyworth. Walked a mile through the neighborhood to the stadium. Had an AWESOME brunch there. I don’t want to understand why you would criticize a truly great neighborhood. Those are homes where families live.
— disinterested nemesis (@chattaknitter) March 26, 2022
The staff at Motor City Sports Bar and Keyworth Stadium were very welcoming and treated us with respect. We truly enjoyed our time and look forward to coming back to the cities of Hamtramck and Detroit. (2/2)
— Steel Army (@SteelArmy) March 27, 2022
Stood behind me lol offering support during the #BLM movement and continued efforts to advance the inclusion of #LGBTQ members in the USL I can only hope that this incident has not soured any want to visit Highmark stadium for our and away supporters. We will do better…period. pic.twitter.com/6Yr38kZkDP
— Jordan Styles (@412jstyles) March 27, 2022