One of the Midwest’s most anticipated matches, an international friendly between Detroit City FC and FC United of Manchester, takes place this weekend at Keyworth Stadium in Hamtramck, Michigan. The match is FC United’s only stop in North America and a large crowd and media presence is certainly expected. It is a great way to start a summer of soccer, one that includes the Euros, Copa America Centenario, and the International Champions Cup.
Spectators can expect this weekend to feature a great game with a high quality of play. FC United is expect to field a very strong team made up of regular first team starters. FC United regularly boast an attacking lineup, but they have loads of talent from front to back.
The attack starts with Tom Greaves, George Thomson, and Greg Daniels. Daniels just happened to score the winning goal in 2015, a goal that clinched the club’s promotion into the National League North, where they finished 13th at the conclusion of the 2015/16 season.
Their midfielders are also offensive-minded and a player to watch for there is Rory Fallon, who is returning from a serious injury. This weekend could be his first match in several months. Jerome Wright, the club captain, is another star in the midfield. He has been with the club for nine years and is a fan favorite.
Tom Eckersley, Chris Chantler, and Liam Brownhill lead a stingy defense. Eckersley and Chantler are new to the club this year, while Liam Brownhill has taken on the role of “Mr. Dependable,” having spent several years with the Red Rebels.
The team is loaded at goalkeeper, having both youth and experience at the position. Dave Carnell is the main man between the posts with youngster Dylan Forth providing depth and cover when needed. Even goalkeeper coach Nick Culkin gets tempted out from time to time. Culkin actually holds the record for the shortest debut in English Premier League history, replacing keeper Raimond van der Gouw in stoppage time as Manchester United faced off against Arsenal on August 22, 1999. The referee blew the whistle immediately after Culkin took the free kick, resulting in a ten second debut and a very quick moment of fame.
It’s exciting to see such a quality team visiting the U.S. They have quite a history even though they are not the oldest team in England by any stretch of the imagination.
The most successful former FC United player is one of the club’s all-time heroes, Rory Patterson. He spent three years with the Reds, starting in 2005. He went on to play at a higher division in both England and Northern Ireland. He even earned five appearances with the Northern Ireland National Team. Patterson would play briefly for FC United in 2015, but has since returned to Northern Ireland. His 131 appearances and 99 goals for FC United have earned him a place in the club’s history books. Youth standout players Danny Williams and Justin Johnson both gained experience in the Scottish Premiership.
Quality players have helped the team climb to the sixth tier in England, but the club’s coaching staff also deserves a lot of credit. Manager Karl Marginson and first team coaches Darren Lyons and Dave Brown have been with the club since its formation 11 years ago.
Simply put, this is a match you shouldn’t miss. It’s going to be a classic, an opportunity to see one of the great supporter-owned clubs of Europe right here in the heartland of America. Tickets for both individuals and groups are still available by clicking here.
Photo Credit: Pam Moody/ISNSoccer.com