Tyler Moorman’s late goal gives City a win in a day devoted to the higher precepts of love, compassion and transcendence
As the players from Detroit City FC and Glentoran FC took the pitch Saturday night at Keyworth Stadium, the spectre of soccer’s history in Detroit – and the larger currents of history in which the visitors have been embroiled – seemed likely to loom over the actual football. As a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Glentoran’s summer sojourn as the Detroit Cougars, the buildup left unsaid the Glens’ traditions and history related to the Troubles in Ireland and the UK; as if in opposition, the first banner hung Saturday night in the Northern Guard supporters section was a mammoth antifa banner that fronted the drum section.
Then the football happened. The football, sometimes, teaches us things. Saturday, the football reminded us that – in a world that is decidedly fallen, in a time that is defined by so many sorrows – it’s okay to feel joy.
Tyler Moorman’s impassioned performance off the subs bench was the standout, creating a host of chances before finally banging home the game-winner in the 86th minute, but the real star was the power of the game of football to bind people to each other. Thirty minutes after Moorman’s goal sent Northern Guard into a writhing smoke-addled frenzy, Glentoran players and supporters were still trading songs with them. It sounds hackneyed to say ‘they left as friends’ until one experiences it.
Whatever the two clubs were or have been, they left as friends.
- The lineup is still getting some juggling, but that’s not what generated the differences in City’s approach to this match. Le Rouge displayed a firmer grasp on the tempo of the match, creating chances out of movement and patient possession while playing a cannier defensive line. The result was a much less helter-skelter version of football, and one in which the relative quality of players like Cyrus Saydee and Tyrone Mondi can find fuller expression.
- Moorman hasn’t gotten many minutes for City yet this year, but it’s hard to believe that isn’t going to change going forward after his stirring cameo Saturday. Tyler may not dazzle with pace or trickery, but the palpable hunger he brought to the field was impossible to deny. He drew the (saved) penalty by winning a fight for the ball, then won the game by winning another fight for the ball and unleashing two nasty shots on goal, the second of which wound up in the side-netting.
- There’s choices implicit in how we view those who’ve come before us. We’re making them all the time, making editorial choices about the past, emphasizing certain narratives, putting others in the shade; it’s an automatic process. We can’t help it. We remember Grandma saying awful things sometimes, remember it in the same way we remember the next-door neighbor who moved out in fifth grade – a startling reminder of just how much we don’t really remember, moment to moment. And we can forgive Grandma because we remember other things about her; we remember warm cookies from the oven, or other, kinder words from a different situation, and we take the awful words in context of a whole person we know. We can’t change the past, nor can we afford to ignore it. We can love Grandma while disdaining her opinion on this or that. But if we can’t see around yesterday’s grievances, what hope tomorrow?