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05 / 31

United Makes First True Road Trip, Brings New Faces

WRITTEN BY: Jeremy Sampson
PUBLISHED ON: May 31, 2014

United make their first true road trip this weekend, traveling out of state for the first time to Erie, Pa. today and continuing to Pittsburgh, Pa. for a Sunday night match.

Tonight’s match starts at 7:00 p.m. against the Erie Admirals (0-0-2) of the Great Lakes East Conference.

“Erie has a good history. This will be their (sixth) season.” United head coach Eric Rudland said. “They beat Detroit last season when (Detroit) won the conference, so they’ll be a solid side.”

The Admirals were one of last season’s hottest NPSL teams winning seven of their final eight matches to end the regular season after starting 2013 with two wins, two draws and three losses. Erie managed to qualify for the Great Lakes Conference playoffs, and knocked off F.C. Buffalo and 11-1-0 Detroit City F.C. to qualify for the national playoffs.

A 1-0 victory over the Quad City Eagles earned Erie a berth to the national semifinal in Richmond, Va. The Admirals fell to eventual national champion RVA F.C. 4-0, falling just one match short of the 2013 NPSL national championship.

Sunday’s opponent has less experience within the NPSL and is similar to United as the Fort Pitt Regiment (0-1-0) is also in their inaugural season in the NPSL.

“(Fort Pitt) have a pretty dynamic forward that plays up top. They play very direct and they’re similar to the Detroit (City) style, where the pitch is pretty narrow,” Rudland said. “Saturday is going to be a tough match, and then really, it’s going to be how are we going to turn around and what type of shape our guys are in for Sunday.”

A few unfamiliar additions to United’s roster will make the trip and are expected to play a major role in the team’s weekend performance.

Gabe Mateo, who recently came to United from the Michigan Bucks, is expected to see playing time in Pennsylvania this weekend.

“We’re really excited to see Gabe Mateo play. I’ve known Gabe for a while and he’s a pretty dynamic player,” Rudland said.

Another dynamic player making the weekend trip will be forward Tyler Pasher. The 20-year-old has spent time within the Toronto F.C. (MLS) organization and most recently with PS Kemi Kings (Finland) and the Canadian Men’s National Team. Pasher has trained with United for almost the entire season, but will play his first match this weekend due to contract complications.

“He’s played at a super high level. Just his individual quality could be difficult for the opposition to deal with,” Rudland said. “I think when the guys look around and see him; it kind of gives everybody else a little boost of confidence as well.”

Two other unfamiliar faces will be defender Daegan DeBono from Northern Illinois and Abdul Ibrahim of Madonna University.

“Abdul hasn’t played. He performed really well in our reserve game against Detroit (5/17). He scored our only goal,” Rudland said. “He’s been committed to being at training, so we’re hopeful he could be another guy that could interject some quality going forward.”

Friday night, after the Indiana Fire (4-1-0) defeated A.F.C. Cleveland 2-1 and Detroit City (4-0-0) scored a last second goal to defeat the Cincinnati Saints 3-2, United still sit in third place in the Great Lakes West Conference.

“It’s paramount to try and get points out of the matches when you look at the playoff picture,” Rudland said. “If we could pick up six points this weekend, it would be fantastic, especially being on the road.”