Editor’s Note: This article was edited from its original publishing to remove lines that was deemed offensive. This was an account of the writer’s trip to the game and the experiences were witnessed by more than just the writer. Nothing that was written was intended to discriminate nor offend.
Hamtramck, Mich. – The Columbus Crew traveled, on a bus, to Michigan on Tuesday to take on Detroit City FC in the third round of the 2022 U.S. Open Cup. It was a disappointing night for the Crew and the contingent of fans that made the three and half hour trip north as the Black & Gold were defeated 2-1 by the USL Championship squad. But even taking the result into account, the full glory of the Open Cup was on display in this game.
While caravanning north, new friends were made, allowing them to commiserate a poor performance on the way home like only a shared love for a team can. When Crew fans arrived in Hamtramck, they gathered and shared a couple of beers and food. Then the trip got more interesting.
With some fans carrying open alcoholic beverages across a parking lot, a cop came speeding toward them. Then a man came out of a cash advanced store, yelling “F**k you,” to the officer standing outside the door. He then refused to remove his hands from his pockets. This is where some of the fans started to get nervous, charging forward to get into a Subway, while others position themselves behind a brick pillar.
As it turned out, the man arrested was married to one of the women at the Subway. What went down at the cash advanced store was unclear but no one was hurt.
The group of fans made their way down a couple of blocks to Detroit City FC’s to Keyworth Stadium with a bit more unease than 30 minutes prior. The stadium was in a neighborhood with houses no more than 20 feet away from the playing grounds. On the opposite side were a park and an industrial complex with train tracks passing right next to the stadium. Keyworth Stadium fits 7,933 fans and has a wall that seemingly was no higher than a soccer net. There was a ball boy on hand who had to run around and retrieve the ball after every overcooked shot.
Opened in 1936 by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Keyworth Stadium has had a few other famous visitors over its storied history. The stadium is owned by the Hamtramck Public Schools and is used as a football field as well as DCFC’s home stadium. It seemingly had only one bathroom that had lines that ran half the length of the stadium. The pitch was small, narrow turf and overall was not what the Crew prefers to play on.
Detroit City’s supporter group, the Northern Guard, had that stadium rocking. The group marched through the streets on their way into the match, chanting, drums beating and holding up scarfs that said “F**k Ohio,” in addition to a hanging banner that said “Hate Ohio.” The fans were energetic and had more desire than Columbus, and that was evident before kickoff.
A security guard took a picture for some fans and, as he took the picture, he said, “Everyone say 42-27,” a reference to Michigan’s 2021 win against Ohio State in football after a decade of losses.
The home fans were all very nice and amiable pre-match. After the game, some of the locals offered to take Crew fans out for beers, saying the tab would be paid. However, there were many Detroit City fans that decided to give the Crew fans grief with taunts about needing to be relegated, crying faces and general jeers about Ohio, well-deserved after that kind of on-field performance.
Black & Gold fans were not only disappointed in the play on the field but also in the lack of acknowledgment from the team after the game. Not one player came over to the traveling supporters to thank them for making the trip.
Disappointment for the established MLS team and glory for the small second division side, at a venue a third the side of Lower.com Field is what makes the Open Cup such an intriguing tournament that has been missed since COVID. This is cup play in all its glory.