The NPSL Midwest Region will have a new champion in 2015.
Lansing United was all but mathematically eliminated from playoff contention after a 5-0 loss at AFC Cleveland, who not only holds a three point lead over the Hoops but a sizable goal difference and a match in hand.
United surrendered the opening goal in the 10th minute to a header by Colton Long off a Cleveland corner, and 10 minutes later Vinny Bell doubled the lead after eluding Ben Lamb inside the 18-yard box to direct a shot past keeper Wes Mink.
Cholo Petit left the match in the 34th minute with an apparent leg injury, as Ross Lindsay came on for extended minutes in the first half.
The best chance of the half for the Hoops came in the 41st minute, when Lamb headed a free kick across the area where Matt Rickard missed the goal to the outside of the right post.
Boyzzz Khumalo and Freddy Gomes entered the match at halftime and provided a few opportunities, including a setup for Lindsay in the 62nd minute that was destined for the top corner of the net until Cleveland keeper Alex Ivanov made a long dive to palm the shot away and behind the goal. Tom Beck scored for Cleveland just two minutes later, effectively ending the tie.
The Royals scored two more in the final minutes to secure their second straight 5-0 home win, and all but assure themselves of a Midwest Region playoff spot. Cleveland trail FC Buffalo who sits in third with the two teams scheduled to meet on the final day of the regular season.
United will wrap up their NPSL season at home on Sunday, July 19. The Hoops host the Erie Commodores at Archer Stadium with kickoff scheduled for 2 p.m.
NOTES: Khumalo’s 45 minutes were a season high for him in his second appearance of the weekend…The Hoops played the match without forward Stephen Owusu, who served a one-match suspension after a red card at FC Buffalo on Friday which marked the first red card issued to a Lansing player this season…Lansing has not scored a goal in the last 403 minutes of NPSL play, dating back to Matt Brown’s 47th minute goal against the Minnesota United Reserves on June 21.