Detroit City FC and Midland-Odessa FC will face off in Michigan this Saturday, for a spot in the NPSL National Championship powered by Mitre.
Detroit City FC had one of their most historical moments in club history to move onto the NPSL National Semifinal. In the regional final, Bakie Goodman’s headed pass to the foot of Tyrone Mondi, who found the back of the net in extra time, securing DCFC a 3-2 win over AFC Ann Arbor. For captain Dave Edwardson, last Saturday’s match was something special.
“It’s a great success and there has been a lot of hard work put in by everyone associated with DCFC to come out with a last-minute win,” said Edwardson.
“It means a lot for our club to be able to host a national semifinal game. Keyworth is an amazing soccer environment best you will see in all of America. As for us players being able to play in front of our amazing fans is what it’s all about,” Edwardson said.
Le Rouge plan on using the home advantage as a boost in the semi-final.
“It’s going to be a thrill, playing in front of our amazing home crowd, it’s going to be a breathtaking atmosphere. I hope we can grant the fans another positive result as last week,” Edwardson said.
Midfielder Andrew Moullin and Midland-Odessa FC are also planning on feeding off the Detroit crowd.
“We are excited for the opportunity to play in Detroit. We have huge respect for the club and for the fan base that has been established there, but we do not fear them. This week will be more of a mental preparation than a physical one for us.”
Midland-Odessa FC advanced to the NPSL National Semifinals with a 1-0 victory over Inter Nashville FC. Substitute Nathan Penner scored in the 72nd minute for Midland-Odessa FC and winning the regional final was a special moment.
“It’s crazy to say but the whole game sort of went by quickly. The whistle had gone for halftime and we looked at each other like ‘already?’ But that’s what happens when you are only worried about your job and not the refs not the clock, just your job.” said Moullin. “The focus from myself and the team was unreal last Saturday. “So, to have such a win and move on with this group was really great.”
Even though they have now reached the national semifinal, Midland-Odessa FC is not ready to call it quits.
“At this point we’ve gone far enough that anything less than first will be hard to swallow,” Moullin said. “I believe our biggest test is coming this Saturday and our minds are solely on beating Detroit City FC.”
If Midland-Odessa FC can advance, it will be because of their team-focused play.
As a holding midfielder, Moullin started the season as a distributor but saw his role change throughout the season. He thanks his teammates for making his transition easier.
“At the beginning of the year I took on a role of a distributor and stayed on the ball, overtime this changed to playing as defensive midfielder.” Moullin said. “The process has been easy to have because of the guys I have around me, hardworking, committed group of guys who all have the same expectations and goals as I do for this season. It takes a group to make it this far and we have a great one.”
For Edwardson, the big stage does not add to the pressure.
“Once you get this point of the season the pressure truly is the same as it has been since our first game of the season,” Edwardson said. “I think as a team we believe we can win the game. One game at a time, has been the mentality since the start of the season. The opponent will be a tough, we have a lot of respect for Midland, but will do everything we can as a team to make it into the final. They will look to start game fast paced and as for the crowd, we have the best fans in the nation by far. We have a huge advantage and I know when you have 7k people on your side the place will be bouncing.”
Moullin agrees that the pressure of the national semifinal game will not contain his teams spirit.
“Matt Barnes our head coach put together a team of not only good players but of hungry players who don’t give up. We’ve lost 12 players and we are playing better now than at the beginning of the season and that’s a testament to our character.” Moullin said. “That’s just being honest, but we talk a lot about not looking at the result but focusing on the process, give us the lineup and let’s go out and fight.”
With both teams scoring a surplus of goals and averaging about two points for the season, the Saturday night matchup between Detroit City FC and Midland-Odessa FC promises to be a tactical battle, look for both teams to establish their style of play early. The winner will punch a ticket to the NPSL National Championship powered by Mitre on August 12th.