Detroit City FC Creates The Detroit City Fieldhouse

It may currently be the off-season, but semi-pro soccer club Detroit City FC isn’t sitting around collecting dust while the 2018 National Premier Soccer League draws near. In fact, the club is making moves outside of Keyworth Stadium.

On Tuesday, the club and its owners announced that they will invest in and renovate the City Sports Center, a former 75,000-square-foot ice rink near Martin Luther King Jr. High School in Detroit. Dubbed the Detroit City Fieldhouse, the indoor facility on East Lafayette will be a home for many youth, and adult recreational soccer clubs and leagues, while providing a clubhouse with ample space for those to enjoy a meal and drink, gather and socialize with friends, family, and fellow DCFC supporters.

detcityfc.com

In a release by DCFC, co-owner and Detroit City Futbol League founder Sean Mann said “we’re very excited for this next chapter for our organization, and for soccer in this city. Just as we envisioned the DCFL being more than a recreational soccer league, and Detroit City FC being more than a minor league soccer club. We believe the Fieldhouse can be more than just an indoor soccer facility. We envision a welcoming space that is the safest and most affordable soccer facility in the region, and also serves as a hub for healthier and more active lifestyles in the city.”

With funds being brought in privately by the club itself, the renovations will include two fields (one boarded and non-boarded), new turf, energy-efficient lighting, and other cosmetic upgrades.

A clubhouse with a full kitchen and bar will also be included that will be built overlooking the two fields, offering people opportunities to grab a bite and watch all of the action going on down below. Space will also be made and leased to provide start-up businesses with a chance to grow and launch their work.

As for the soccer that will be played on the two fields, to go along with the youth and adult teams and leagues that will be given the chance to get involved, the field house will serve as a home for the Detroit City Futbol League, DCFC’s “neighborhood-based” recreational adult soccer.

The City Sports Center, formerly used by the Detroit Red Wings as a practice facility, was also home to many hockey programs around the area, including Wayne State University, Grosse Pointe South, U of D-Jesuit, and other recreational hockey leagues.

The field house is set to open in September 2018.

For Harbaugh, The Clock Is Ticking

The clock is ticking on Jim Harbaugh.

It’s time to admit it. I never thought I’d utter these words, but the countdown clock has started ticking for Harbaugh. The way I see it, Michigan’s coach has two years to make it to a Big Ten title game, or it’s time to move on.

It’s difficult to put a time frame and a specific goal on a coach. But enough is enough, and it’s time to start holding him accountable.

As we’ve just ended year three of the Harbaugh era, the Michigan football program is nowhere near where any of us thought it would be. In fact, you could make a very solid argument that it’s actually worse than where he picked it up. Sometimes things just don’t work out like everybody hopes. And with each passing game, it’s looking like this is one of those times.

When Harbaugh arrived in Ann Arbor on Dec. 30, 2014, many thought the turnaround would take two-to-three years, myself included. But as we head into year four, we’re all still waiting for the turnaround.

Lack of Talent

Ever since Brady Hoke’s players have left, the amount of talent on Michigan’s roster has taken a significant nosedive.

You can make the argument Harbaugh’s recruited players are still young and developing. But for a head coach who makes $9 million a year and is one of the highest paid coaches in college football, one would think that development would happen faster.

The wide receivers still lack true pass catching and separation abilities. The safeties are still the easy target in the pass defense because of poor man-to-man coverage skills. And, the offensive line still struggles to protect anybody behind them.

The quarterback position, which is supposed to be Harbaugh’s specialty, has been abysmal ever since Jake Rudock moved on to the NFL. Brandon Peters, Harbaugh’s first big quarterback recruit looked average at best when he started five games for the Wolverines. He completed just 52-percent of his passes, contributed only four touchdowns, and threw two costly interceptions inside the red zone. In fact, the nine touchdown passes thrown by the Wolverines this season were the lowest amount for a Michigan team since 1975. That’s down right embarrassing for having a head coach who’s been touted as a “quarterback guru.”

Coaching Miscues

When former NFL running back Brandon Jacobs said that Harbaugh “didn’t know what he was doing” while coaching the San Francisco 49ers, I like many Wolverines fans thought to myself, ‘what is this guy talking about?’ But now I’m starting to question whether Jacobs is right.

Think of the coaching mistakes Harbaugh has made, and the list will be longer than you think.

Having gunners on the final punt against Michigan State in 2015, when the Spartans didn’t have anybody fielding a return as all 11 of them were going for the block? We know how that ended. Think of how many times in third-and-long situations with Michigan trailing have you seen them run a play-action pass out of the I-formation, you aren’t fooling anybody. Even in the Outback Bowl, when tight end Sean McKeon took a handoff on third-and-short and fumbled on his first career carry. Harbaugh later admitted after the game he probably should’ve called timeout to get the right personnel on the field. Yet, hindsight is 20/20. Or how about on Michigan’s final play when on fourth-and-one, all of the receivers ran deep routes, instead of short, quick slants.

It begs the question: what are you doing?

Sum It All Up 

This program is heading in the wrong direction.

And I’m growing skeptical Harbaugh can dig Michigan out of this hole. While the defense, who returned only one starter, held its own this season, the offense looked like a dumpster fire. At this point if former Mississippi QB Shea Patterson is granted eligibility, I don’t know how much he’ll help.

I’m weary how much better this team will be next year. Will the offensive line be better with possibly two brand new tackles, and a new center? That position group has a lot of pressure since there are question marks at almost every other position on the offense. Let’s not forget Michigan hasn’t had a high level running back since Mike Hart who has been coaching football for six seasons now.

Not to mention the schedule is tougher in 2018 than it was this past season. Michigan travels to both Michigan State and Ohio State, and kicks the season off with a trip to South Bend.

I heard an interesting stat this week that almost sounded unbelievable. Urban Meyer is 73-8 in his six years at Ohio State. Yet, Jim Harbaugh is 9-8 in his last 17 games. He is just barely above .500 in his last year and half.

Combine that along with the fact that Michigan is still nothing more than a chew toy for Michigan State and Ohio State this program is still on the ropes. So for Jim Harbaugh it’s simple: He has two seasons to get to Indianapolis or he should be shown the door.

MSU Tops USA Hockey NDT U18 Team 3-0

Photo by Brian Pierson

Editor’s Note: This game story is provided by Brian Pierson. You can catch Brian on the SRD Roadshow on Saturdays live on crbradio.com or on demand on SportsRadioDetroit.com.

There are times where you can go home again, and for Michigan State head coach Danton Cole it couldn’t have been more true.

Before becoming the Spartan head coach in back in April, Cole stood behind the bench of USA Hockey National Development U17 and U18 teams for seven seasons. But Saturday night marked Cole’s return to USA Hockey Arena for the first time as an opponent.

“I probably spent more time than usual watching the other team play,” Cole said with a chuckle. “You can tell they’re getting better and better. It’s just fun to watch them progress.”

Despite the progress Cole saw, the Spartans beat the USA U18 team 3-0 behind sophomore Patrick Khodorenko’s two-goal night.

The first period was tight, and close as both teams skated to a 0-0 tie. Then Khodorenko, who was in the USA Development program from 2014-16, went to work in the second period.

Sophomore forward Taro Hirose drifted into the slot, and was set-up for a good scoring opportunity, but two USA defenders closed in on him. The Calgary, Alberta native, dumped the puck to Khodorenko to the short side of the net for a 1-0 lead with 12:37 left in the second period.

“They’re a fast skilled team. We just had to play our game and everything worked out. I didn’t score a lot of home goals when I played here for some reason, but it’s nice to get two goals here coming back,” the Walnut Creek, CA native said.

The Spartans added to the their lead with three minutes left of the third period when freshman David Keefer put in a rebound on the door step for a 2-0 lead. Then with a 1:30 left, Khodorenko put the icing on the cake with an empty net goal for a 3-0 final.

Even though USA U18 didn’t score any goals on Saturday night, the team had a better showing than two weeks ago against Michigan. This time around they hung tough for the majority of the game totaling 20 shots on goal, with Michigan State barely getting the upper hand with 22.

“We didn’t execute. We missed a couple odd man rush chances that we had. They’re not going to give you many 2 on 1’s with the way they play. When you have those, you need to take advantage of them,” USA coach Seth Appert said.

“I liked us in the first. I thought we created enough to score. I thought our effort was high,” he added. “You’re playing guys that are between two and seven years older than we are. I thought we matched the battle level. We won puck battles. We didn’t win more than them but we won battles. We had chances at the front of the net, we just couldn’t win that rebound battle.”

The game was special not only because it was Michigan State’s first appearance at USA Hockey Arena, but it also fell on “Hockey Against Hunger” night. Fans were encouraged to bring in five cans of food to support Gleaner’s Community Food Bank. Fans who did so earned a 50/50 raffle ticket to put their name in a drawing. The food and money donations are put towards purchasing gallons of milk for families in need.

USA Hockey will host Ferris State University on January 2nd as their colligate series continues into 2018.

MLS Playoff Recap (Leg 2 Conference Finals)

The MLS Cup Final will be hosted by Toronto FC for the second year in a row after its victory over the Columbus Crew on Wednesday. And just like last year’s game, the Seattle Sounders will be coming back to the great north, looking to win the championship back-to-back after defeating the Houston Dynamo on Thursday night.

Match: December 9 at 4pm E.T. in Toronto

Here are the recaps of both Leg 2 matches that took place this week:

Toronto FC 1 – Columbus Crew 0 (1-0 on aggregate)

Winning the Supporters Shield for earning the best league record this season might be great. But for Toronto FC, they have the chance to earn another trophy next week; one that will be the biggest in club history. Toronto was able to hold off a spirited Columbus Crew side Wednesday night, and defeated the Ohio club 1-0 in the Eastern Conference Final second leg clinching a spot in the MLS Cup Final.

Zack Steffen was able to keep Toronto out of his goal for most of the night. As one of the best players in this year’s playoffs kept up his hero status for Columbus by saving a penalty kick taken by Victor Vazquez in the 26th minute, making it three-for-three on penalties saved by Steffen, including the two he had against Atlanta United in a shootout during the knockout round.

But it was Toronto forward Jozy Altidore who would bring the home crowd to their feet in the second half after giving them a cause for concern. Altidore looked to have injured his ankle early in the half, causing some nervousness in the crowd at BMO Field. But he would later prove to be the hero as he scored the game’s only goal a few minutes later in the 60th minute.

Dan Hamilton

Teammate Sebastian Giovinco started the attack that allowed Altidore to attempt a give-and-go with Vazquez into the box. After the pass, Altidore calmly placed his shot behind the keeper Steffen and into the side net.

Columbus kept its composure for most of the match, and gave Toronto all it could handle. The Crew wasn’t able to convert on any shots against a sturdy Toronto defense. A late chance in the 87th minute by Ola Kamara could have given Columbus a vital away goal, but the ball went between his legs in front of goal before being able to put his foot in front.

While Columbus now heads home facing an uncertain future with a possible relocation looming, the win by Toronto now leaves the club with one more victory separating them from completing the domestic treble, something that no MLS team has done before. A treble is earned by a club that wins the MLS Cup, the Supporters Shield, and its domestic cup (Toronto plays in the Canadian Championship rather than the U.S. Open Cup). It will be the second-straight year that they will host the MLS Cup final.

Seattle Sounders 3 – Houston Dynamo 0 (5-0 on aggregate)

Coming back home with a 2-0 Leg 1 win was a massive boost for the Seattle Sounders, and Thursday night at CenturyLink Field showed just how confident the team looked in heading back to the MLS Cup Final, with a convincing 3-0 victory against the Houston Dynamo. For the second consecutive season, the final will be a Toronto-Seattle affair in Canada.

With a big deficit to overcome, the Dynamo also had to go to Seattle short on its regulars, as Erick Torres didn’t start and came on in the second half. Alberth Elis also missed the match due to a suspension.

The shortcomings for Houston proved to be too much for the club as Seattle continued its fine form, and attacked early and often. The Sounders were able to add to their aggregate lead thanks to a 22nd minute goal by Victor Rodriguez. The Spaniard received a great through-ball by former Dynamo player Will Bruin, and swiftly put the ball over Dynamo goalkeeper Joe Willis to give Houston very little chance at making a comeback in the game. Clint Dempsey added a goal in the 57th minute that sealed the game and the round in the second half, after a Joevin Jones cross led Dempsey to finish on an open net.

Max Aquino/Sounder at Heart

While the Dynamo were unable to create any sort of chances against Seattle and its defense, the team’s chances took an even bigger hit in the 66th minute when Tomas Martinez received a red card after video replay showed him shoving Seattle’s Jordy Delem’s head to the ground after both jumped and fell going for a ball in the air.

Bruin would join in on adding more misery to Houston’s night with his goal less than 10 minutes after the red card, receiving a pass from Harry Shipp, and burying Seattle’s fifth goal in the round.

Seattle throughout the entire Western Conference Finals didn’t show any sign of weariness or pressure. In fact, goalkeeper Stefan Frei and the Sounders defense have been so prolific in shutting down opponents, the club was able to extend its shutout streak to 542 minutes, an accumulation of the entire 2017 playoffs as well as the final two games of the regular season.

But now the biggest match of the season lies just ahead. With a chance to hoist the trophy once again, Seattle heads back to Toronto looking to become the first team to win back-to-back MLS Cups since the LA Galaxy did it during the 2011 and 2012 seasons.

Michigan Tops USA Hockey U18 Program in First Visit To Home Arena

Editors note: Ben Szilagy’s piece can be found originally on DetroitSportsMedia.com, who is a proud partner of Sports Radio Detroit.

Plymouth — The University of Michigan rarely leaves the friendly confines of Yost Ice Arena when it doesn’t have to, but Saturday night was different.

Saturday night almost didn’t happen.

When Michigan head coach Mel Pearson accepted the job to replace legendary coach Red Berenson in April, he noticed that USA Hockey’s U18 development team wasn’t on the schedule and wondered why.

“When I noticed it and learned there was some miscommunication, I went to our administration and said ‘we’ll play there’. USA Hockey has been a great partner. I like the games, and competition. Why not come over here,” he asked.

“They’ve been at Yost so many times, it was the least we could to come and play at their place.”

Once the puck was dropped, Michigan made itself right at home behind senior captain Tony Calderone’s hat trick for a convincing 7-3 win.

Play was fast, physical, and hard going early in the first period, but the Wolverines’ found the back of the net after weathering the storm.

The puck was stopped in the USA zone after freshman Mike Pastujov ran into two defenders. He found Calderone slip behind, and offered a crossing pass to his captain on the near side. Calderone then flipped in the puck for a 1-0 lead with 14:51 to play in the opening period.

Five minutes later, Calderone quickly built upon the lead with a little help from good puck luck as he offered a pass that went off a USA defender’s stick and into the net for a 2-0 lead.

“It’s a good feeling when things like that happen. I know a lot of guys found me on back door cuts. When that happens, you need to fire as quickly as possible,” he said.

 

Sophomore Adam Winborg capped the first period scoring at 3-0 when he received a quick pass off the faceoff from fellow sophomore Jake Slaker with seven minutes to play in the period.

No matter how bad it looked, USA coach Seth Appert wasn’t dejected despite only coming away with a few shots on net.

“I liked our first period, yet we were down three nothing. We had tons of chances and (Hayden) Lavigne made some good saves. Plus, they had two goals that bounced in off of us,” he said.

Michigan added a quick power play goal to start the second period off the stick of senior Dexter Dancs (assisted by Calderone), 4-0, before the tide turned in USA’s favor.

Harvard commit Oliver Wahlstrom earned his 16th goal of the year on a power play goal of his own 13:08 into the second period that was met with a cascade of teddy bears from the crowd that are set to be donated to local families of the United Way this holiday season.

The score tightened further in the second period, 4-3, when Boston College commit Patrick Giles scored two goals to pull USA within one.

“Giles is starting to develop that power forward mentality that all great forwards have. That ‘I’m going to be a beast against whomever I play, no matter where we play’ mentality,” Appert said.

“He was throwing guys off the puck tonight, even the older guys. He’s in the early stages, because he’s young, of developing that mentality. When he plays with it he’s hard to stop.”

The Wolverines, though, were still red hot when the third period started earning two goals just twelve seconds apart.

Calderone capped off his hat-trick when junior Cooper Morody fired a shot wide of the net. The puck caromed off the end boards, and found the Trenton native’s stick for a point blank, 5-3 goal.

The achievement wasn’t lost on Pearson calling his captain a difference maker.

“He’s been that way from the start all year. He works hard. He has a great release, and has a nose for the net. He could have had five or six of them tonight. He’s a difference maker when he’s on the ice, and he’s been leading our team well,” he said.

Bloomfiled Hills native sophomore Will Lockwood quickly added to the lead, 6-3. And with 8:51 to play in the third period, Nick Pastujov put in a goal that was assisted by his brother Mike for a 7-3 lead.

“They played well, and had good goaltending, which was tough on us tonight. But, things seemed to go in easy for us,” Pearson summarized the game.

“If you don’t seem to take these exhibition games seriously, and you don’t prepare hard, you won’t play the right way and get beat. There’s too much talent over there. Every one of their players is going to play Division One hockey.”

Michigan Heeded The Call

USA Hockey’s development program, and Michigan aren’t strangers to each other. In fact, they used to be neighbors.

Before the USA Hockey development program took over Compuware arena in 2015, The national development program has called the Ann Arbor Ice Cube home for its entire 18-year history. The program also has sent a fair amount of players to Ann Arbor to continue their playing careers as well.

“The college games are so hard for us, and so competitive. It’s special when it’s Michigan because they are close to us geographically and half our team is in that program,” Appert said.

“It was especially neat to see the World Championship presentation before the game where we’re all represented. That was a great moment, and is what this place is all about.”

In the past, both teams would meet for exhibition games at Yost Ice Arena. But USA Hockey felt it was about time their home host a game too.

“I can’t thank Mel Person and Michigan hockey team enough for coming over here. Our program has played a Yost (Ice Arena) for a lot of years; and that’s a special place. But for USA Hockey and what we’re trying to build here, this meant a lot,” Appert explained.

“The atmosphere was awesome. At the end of the day, you don’t want to play for the fans. You want to play for your brothers, teammates and your jersey. It’s fun when the place is packed like it was tonight.”

Appert and the USA Hockey program also knew that playing a college blue blood program would help their players adjust for bigger moments like when they host the Five Nations tournament in February.

“Games like these prepare our guys for bigger moments,” he said. “We’re going to have our ‘Five Nations’ tournament here, and that’s going to have a big crowd. The World Championships in Russia will be a big crowd. The crowd element adds a little bit of pressure, excitement and energy that you can’t replicate. To have that, is great for our guys.”