In a rematch of the 2014 Midwest Region final, Fort Pitt Regiment (0-1-1) return to the East Lansing Soccer Complex to face your 2014 Midwest Region champions Lansing United (2-1-0).
After earning a 1-0 victory last June in McKees Rocks, Penn. with Matt Brown’s 34th minute goal, United would not face Fort Pitt again until the final day of the 2014 Midwest Region tournament with the winner advancing to the NPSL National Semi-Final.
In perhaps the most dramatic match of the 2014 season, United and Fort Pitt battled it out in extra time for the Midwest Region title on July 20. After Leigh Rumbold struck only three minutes in for United, the Regiment fought back to make it 1-1. Gabe Mateo’s 111th minute goal broke the deadlock and earned Lansing the Midwest Region championship.
“Fort Pitt last year, got better with each game,” head coach/GM Eric Rudland said. “At the beginning of the season, they were probably not in the top of the table, but they have a fantastic head coach and they had some talent so they were able to put things together and make a great run at the end of the season.”
Both teams’ rosters have considerably transformed since last July with a few key players and the coaching staff remaining the most similar to last July’s Region final squads.
Defenders Austin Dunn, Benn Lamb and Jake VanderLaan all return to anchor the back line against the familiar foe Friday night. Forwards Matt Brown and Julian Myers will be also be the only United players Friday night to have faced Fort Pitt before.
“We expect [Fort Pitt] to be very organized,” Rudland said. “We expect them to have some very good pieces personal-wise and it’s going to be a good game.”
Lansing is now undefeated in its first three NPSL matches for the first time in club history. United’s longest unbeaten streak is nine matches, which came from June 22 to July 20 of last season. The club is undefeated in home NPSL matches, going 7-0-4 all-time… After going 2-0-1 in May, United is now 5-1-2 all-time in the month… United’s all-time leader in shots, Matt Brown, is five away from reaching 50 for his career… If he plays in Friday night’s match, defender Austin Dunn would be making his 20th career NPSL appearance with United, the most in club history.