Match Recap: Cal United Strikers FC vs Detroit City FC

Published Apr 16, 2021


Bryant keeps Detroit's star-studded attack at bay while North shines in debut

CHATTANOOGA, TN – California United Strikers FC opened their NISA Legends Cup play against defending champions Detroit City FC, a team with a star-studded attack that ran away as clear champions in the NISA Fall 2020 Tournament.


Cal United Strikers have added a different dimension to their attack, as well, with the significant signings of Guatemalan International Darwin Lom, former 1904 FC player Billy Garton Jr., and new young signing Alex "Chile" Araneda - all of whom were making their official debuts.


The defense was shored up with experience, with Captain Xavier Fuerte leading the line, along with new signings Bryan De La Fuente and goalkeeper Mitch North.


Strikers were struggling to keep possession in the opening period of the match, with Detroit showing a confidence carried over from their previous campaign. North was called into action in the 5th minute when he denied Detroit with an acrobatic save 8 yards out.


The lack of possession didn't mean Cal United Strikers weren't creating chances, and almost immediately after North's save, they were on the attack, with Thierjung finding space on the left, but his ball in behind was too strong for Lopez's run. Lopez was again played in five minutes later by Garton Jr., but this time his effort was skied over the bar.


Thierjung having space on the left would go on to be a theme in the first half.


The top scorer for Cal United Strikers in the 2019 Championship campaign ran riot down the Detroit right side and created two big opportunities in the 12th and 15th minute.


The first opportunity was another big break down the left, but neither Garton Jr. nor Lom could get on the end of it.


The second opportunity was an even better chance with Thierjung's floating cross finding the 18-year-old Chile at the back post, only to be denied by a fantastic save by the Detroit goalkeeper, Steinwascher.


Cal United Strikers' confidence grew in the game after the series of big chances and they started taking the initiative to Detroit for the rest of the first half. 


The best chance of the half came in the 35th minute to Thierjung after Garton Jr. broke down the middle, feeding Lopez on the right. Lopez used his trademark quick feet and was able to create a cutback to Thierjung, only for him to not find the connection. That would be the last big chance for either team in the first half.





Bryant winning a header (left); Fuerte battling for the ball (right).



The second half started strongly for Cal United Strikers as Thierjung was able to break in the 48th minute and found himself in front of goal, but his shot wasn't strong enough to find the corner and was pushed behind for a corner.


The second half was marred with cramps and breaks in play while both teams tried to stretch the play. 


North found himself in trouble with a yellow card after mistiming a tackle outside the box on the right side in the 52nd minute.


A few minutes later, Klute broke down the right and found Lom, but his shot was blocked. 


A few subs were made past the 60th minute mark, with Waldrep, Kwak, and Kadono entering the game.


In the 67th, Detroit's best chance of the game was awarded when a miscue from North found the ball in front of the net, but North's quick reaction to recover was just enough for the ball to trickle wide of goal.


The final 20 minutes displayed a strong ability in 1v1 duels from defender Michael Bryant, as he snuffed out any Detroit opportunities, while North recovered from his earlier miscue and was commanding his box like a seasoned pro. 


The final chance of the game fell to Garton Jr., who ran down the right flank, but wasn't able to keep enough balance to get a good connection on his shot.


Cal United Strikers made a final sub in the 81st minute, with 16-year-old Shane Kaemerle entering the pitch for captain Fuerte, but the spoils were shared by both teams in the end.


Cal United Strikers FC will be playing Stumptown AC on Monday, April 19th at 2 PM PST. You can watch that game on beIN SPORTS XTRA USA



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