In an anticipated 2014 Midwest Region final rematch, Fort Pitt Regiment returned to the East Lansing Soccer Complex for the first time since falling to United in the 111th minute in last July’s tournament final.
With relatively different rosters from last July on both sides, the rematch still produced another evenly matched contest ending 1-1, however extra time was not an option this time around.
United earned a point after dominating most aspects of the game keeping their home unbeaten streak (7-0-5) in competitive matches alive and moving the Hoops into sole possession of first place in the Midwest Region with eight points.
“We kept it fairly tight all night,” defender Ben Lamb said. “We just had that one chance that we gave away. Another good defensive performance.”
Fort Pitt notched the first goal of the game in the 22nd minute. Andrew Scheidmantel lofted a cross from just inside the United 18-yard box to the center of the six-yard box where forward Lamine Balde rose above United defender Jimmy Fiscus to head the ball into the back of the net pass Wes Mink for a 1-0 lead.
“It was a folly of errors, a bad turnover, then some poor defending and bad tracking in the box on the service,” head coach/GM Eric Rudland said. “But we picked up the ball, we got it going and I thought we showed some good character in that moment, in what was really one of the first times we were down this year and had to come back, besides our U.S. Open Cup match.”
Almost immediately after halftime, Cholo Petit evened the score in the 46th minute off a backheel flick between the forward’s legs to the far post from the top of the 18-yard box.
“Like the guys said on the bench, goal of the season definitely so far,” Rudland said.
After Petit’s early second half goal, United continued to pressure Fort Pitt recording seven shots on goal in the second half alone. In the 85th minute, United’s best scoring chance of the second half was called back after Matt Rickard was called offside. Defender Freddy Gomes received a cross unmarked 15 yards out after the Fort Pitt goalkeeper was caught on the other side of the goal and place the ball easily into the back of the net, but Rickard was clearly offside by a few feet within the six-yard box.
“I felt like in the second half we came out and definitely created more danger going forward and had a number of chances,” Rudland said. “I think we hit every piece of woodwork on the frame tonight.”
United earned another point to take the Hoops to the top of the Midwest Region table and remain unbeaten (7-0-5) at the East Lansing Soccer Complex in competitive matches.
After advancing to the second round of the U.S. Open Cup and earning a point in every NPSL league matched played so far, United looks to wrap up the first half of the season with a mid-season matinee friendly in Ann Arbor against AFC Ann Arbor before a full week off from training.
“We’ve been going pretty hefty from a training regime since mid-April and the guys have a welcomed break this next week,” Rudland said. “Hopefully, we can come back regenerated and really hit the back end of the season hard.”
United remained undefeated (7-0-5) at the East Lansing Soccer Complex with Friday’s 1-1 against Fort Pitt Regiment… Forward Cholo Petit scored his first career goal for United… Every United goal scored in NPSL league matches this season have been career firsts (May 24: Austin Dunn; May 31: Stephen Owusu, Jason Stacey, Matt Rickard; June 5: Cholo Petit)… Defender Austin Dunn recorded his first career assist on the Petit goal and now leads the team in points (3)… Friday’s 24 shots was second-most all time for United… Forward Matt Brown recorded his 50th NPSL shot… Midfielder Jack Smith made his first career NPSL appearance.
Photos: Hoffman Photography