By: Caleb Hilliard
Two matches into their inaugural season in the Premier Developmental League, Memphis City FC sits at the bottom of the table in the Deep South Division. The standings do not tell the full story though, as Memphis City had their match all but won versus Mississippi Brilla FC. MCFC erased an early Brilla goal and even pulled ahead, but a late Brilla equalizer thwarted the home side’s comeback effort.
The two teams met a week later, this time in front of Brilla’s home crowd. The Mississippi side controlled the tempo of the match en route to a 2-0 victory and MCFC fell to 0-1-1 on the season. Now that two matches are in the books, we can better evaluate this MCFC squad.
Attacking midfielder David Zalzman effectively dictated the flow of the game after a slow start in the first match of the season. The Venezuela international set up two scoring chances inside of 15 minutes and orchestrated the Memphis offense. His passing was crisp and purposeful and it paid off as he finally broke the Brilla back line with a weighted pass to set up Peyton McKnatt for the equalizing goal. Zalzman and the MCFC offense were shutout by Brilla in the reverse fixture a week later, but Zalzman still looked threatening and is the midfielder to watch on this young MCFC squad.
The forwards for MCFC have also been effective. McKnatt made threatening runs and looked poised on the ball in the opening match. Blake Lashlee performed well out wide played a crucial part in Jared Greene’s go-ahead goal at the hour mark. Greene leads the team with five shots and has one goal in two matches played. He was the only MCFC player to record more than one shot in the 0-2 loss at Brilla.
Center back Sean Rutter is a MCFC fan favorite and he is showing why he is beloved. Rutter was all over the pitch in the first match, intercepting passes, picking up runs and making one-on-one tackles. He and the defense tightened up after conceding the opening goal inside of 10 minutes and made few errors until the equalizer in extra time, a play on which Rutter went down with an injury. Thankfully, he was able to play the full match a week later.
Ryan Heine played well alongside Rutter in the first match. He was quick to close down on the Brilla forwards and made several interceptions throughout the match.
Goalkeeper Victor Hoestbo started both matches and his play should allow him to keep the starting goalkeeper for the foreseeable future. Hoestbo faced 13 shots in the first match and 18 shots in the second match versus Brilla. He conceded two goals in both matches but made 14 saves and possesses a save percentage of 78 percent.
In addition to the soccer pitch, the team also took the field at AutoZone Park this month. They were introduced and honored at a Redbirds game.
MCFC is back in action on Thursday, May 29, and will host a winless Peachtree City MOBA team. The teams will meet again on Saturday, June 2. Kickoff time is 7 P.M. for both games. They will be played at Christian Brothers University soccer field. The cost is only $5.00.
We would like to extend our sympathies to the family of Ches Linebarier, who played for Memphis City in the Spring of 2017. He lost his life Memorial Day weekend in a car accident on Interstate 440 in Nashville.
Ches was a local youth coach, and many in the Memphis soccer community have reached out to say that he was a great man who worked wonders with the Germantown Rec program. He will be deeply missed. A Go Fund Me page has been established to create a soccer tournament in his honor. You can contribute at the link below.
(photo credits: Memphis City FC)