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Detroit City FC Defeats Michigan Stars, 1-0, Advances to Round of 32 in US Open Cup

April 16, 2024 - United Soccer League Championship (USL)
Detroit City FC News Release

Maxi Rodriguez of Detroit City after his goal against the Michigan Stars
Maxi Rodriguez of Detroit City after his goal against the Michigan Stars
(Detroit City FC)

DETROIT - Detroit City FC advances to the Round of 32 of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup after a Maxi Rodriguez goal in the 93rd minute gives them a 1-0 victory over NISA's Michigan Stars FC.

Head Coach Danny Dichio made six changes to his starting XI from their 1-0 victory over North Carolina FC. Carlos Saldaña, Alex Villanueva, Matt Sheldon, Yazeed Matthews, and Daniel Espeleta got their first starts for Le Rouge. Ben Morris returned to the starting XI after coming off the bench in the previous two matches.

Detroit controlled possession to start the game, as they have most games to start this season. The first big chance of the half came in the 10th minute, as a through ball got to Yazeed Matthews, but the shot went straight into the keeper's gloves.

Le Rouge's most significant chances of the first half came on the counterattack. Michigan Stars played a tough defensive backline, which led to Detroit not having as many quality opportunities.

In the 31st minute, Matthews played a great ball after a turnover. The cross reached Daniel Espeleta, and his shot tested the Stars' keeper, who made the save to keep the score at 0-0.

Going into the halftime break, Detroit held a 10-4 advantage on shots and a 3-0 advantage on shots on target. Detroit had all the opportunities in the first half but couldn't convert on those opportunities.

Coming out of the half, Detroit had a great opportunity almost immediately. The ball got crossed into the Stars' area, leading to a scramble in the box that nearly ended with a Stars' own goal, but the keeper cleared it out of the area.

Dichio made his first changes of the game in the 59th minute. It would be a double switch that saw Victor Bezerra make his City debut for Ben Morris and Ali Coote enter the match for Yazeed Matthews.

In the 71st minute, Ali Coote received the ball in a wide position, cut inside, and took a shot from just inside the box, forcing the Stars goalkeeper to make a great save.

Dichio brought on Brett Levis in the 73rd minute to replace Daniel Espeleta.

The game descended into chaos in the 79th minute. Hunter Olson committed his second yellow card offense and was promptly shown a red card. Michigan Stars FC was down to ten men, and then, in the ensuing madness, Justin Meram was issued a yellow card for dissent, and the Michigan Stars bench was issued a red card for dissent.

Dichio would make his final change of the night in the 84th minute, and it would be another double change. Dominic Gasso and Micheal Bryant entered the match for Le Rouge, and it would be James Murphy and Alex Villanueva coming off.

In the 93rd minute, Stephen Carroll crossed the ball into the box, directing it towards Maxi Rodriguez. Rodriguez finished it calmly into the bottom right corner of the net, finally giving Detroit the 1-0 lead they had been seeking all evening.

The game again descended into chaos as Brett Levis picked up his second yellow card in stoppage time. Both teams would be down to ten men for the rest of the stoppage time.

After 103 minutes played, the full-time whistle blew, and Detroit City was on to the Round of 32 for the second time in club history.

In his first start in net, Saldaña would pick up his first clean sheet of the season, stopping the six total shots he faced on the night.

The Round of 32 draw will be held on Thursday, April 18, and the matches will take place on May 7-8.

Detroit City finishes this three-game homestead this Saturday as they return to USL Championship action against Oakland Roots SC. Kickoff is scheduled for 4 pm. Tickets for that match can be found at

DCFC Starting XI: Carlos Saldaña, Alex Villanueva (84'), Devon Amoo-Mensah, Stephen Carroll, Matt Sheldon, James Murphy (84'), Abdoulaye Diop, Ben Morris (59'), Maxi Rodriguez, Daniel Espeleta (73'), Yazeed Matthews (59')

DCFC Substitutes: Nate Steinwascher, Ali Coote (59'), Connor Rutz, Michael Bryant (84'), Brett Levis (73'), Dominic Gasso (84'), Victor Bezerra (59')

Images from this story

Maxi Rodriguez of Detroit City after his goal against the Michigan Stars
Maxi Rodriguez of Detroit City after his goal against the Michigan Stars


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