MEMPHIS, Tenn. – A pair of late goals by Graham Smith and Phillip Goodrum saw Memphis 901 FC pull out a 3-1 victory against Detroit City FC in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2022 USL Championship Playoffs presented by Hisense, at AutoZone Park.
Goodrum ended the night with a goal and assist, having set up Chris Allan’s opener before Detroit hit back through Yazeed Matthews in the final quarter-hour. Smith delivered the winner for Memphis’ first postseason victory in club history before Goodrum notched his 22nd goal of the season in stoppage time.
Playing its first home playoff game, Memphis almost grabbed the initiative inside the opening minute after a chipped cross into the penalty area fell to Dylan Borczak at the top of the six-yard area only for his finish to fly over the crossbar. Borczak and Jeremy Kelly both threatened inside the opening 15 minutes for the hosts, forcing saves from DCFC goalkeeper Nathan Steinwascher, and Kelly went close again just before the half-hour mark as Steinwascher saved with his legs on a shot from inside the penalty area.
Le Rouge had their own chances in the early going through Matthews and Conor Rutz but were unable to test Memphis goalkeeper Trey Muse properly in the opening half-hour. Instead, Memphis continued to press and Borczak was denied again by a brilliant close-range block by DCFC’s Stephen Carroll that deflected his redirection inside the penalty area over the net in the 39th minute. Detroit’s first shot on target arrived three minutes later as Rutz’s curling effort toward the right corner was parried away by Muse, but the visitors were likely happy to get to the break scoreless.
The contest began to even out as the second half progressed as the visitors got a stronger foothold, reducing Memphis’ opportunities. Le Rouge almost took the lead in the 66th minute when Deklan Wynne cut into the left side of the penalty area and cut back onto his right foot to chip a cross that Matthews wasn’t quite able to steer on target as his header floated over.
Six minutes later, however, 901 FC grabbed the advantage. Leston Paul began the move, threading a pass forward for Phillip Goodrum the forward took in stride before slipping a pass to his right for Allan at the top of the penalty area. Allan took one touch to control and then drove home a precise finish to the left corner beyond the dive of Steinwascher.
After Matthews’ first good chance in the second half went awry, though, his second via the same combination with Wynne delivered an equalizer for the visitors. The New Zealand international played a low pass into the penalty area from the left that Matthews just maintained enough control over to poke home a finish from seven yards to pull the game level with 13 minutes to go.
But as the game appeared set to head to extra time, Smith delivered for the hosts. A central free kick was played to his left by Aaron Molloy, creating an angle for Kelly to deliver into the penalty area, and his floated cross found the center back for a header that snuck just inside the left post for his fourth goal of the season. Goodrum then added the final blow deep in stoppage time as Detroit pushed forward, allowing 901 FC’s leading scorer to produce a chipped finish on a counterattack with Steinwascher out of his penalty area that bounced into the net to clinch a place in the Conference Semifinals.
USLChampionship.com Player of the Match
Phillip Goodrum, Memphis 901 FC – The Tennessee native notched a goal and assist while leading the 901 FC line, giving the hosts their first playoff victory in club history and a home date with the Tampa Bay Rowdies next weekend.
MEM – Chris Allan (Phillip Goodrum) 72’
DET – Yazeed Matthews (Deklan Wynne) 77’
MEM – Graham Smith (Jeremy Kelly) 88’
MEM – Phillip Goodrum (Derek Dodson) 90+4’