Lansing United opened its home NPSL campaign Sunday night, drawing 2-2 and earning a point against a tough Michigan Stars team.
Head coach Nate Miller went into the match with the belief that Stars could be the dark horse of the NPSL’s Great Lakes West, and the Stars proved why. In the 89th minute, former United defender Cody Archibald scored against his former team, putting home a shot in the box that beat United keeper Jimmy Hague.
The game started off with United having 60 percent of possession and outshooting MSFC. In the 20th minute, midfielder Danny Brandt made that dominance pay off. Stevenson Storm made a run down the left and chipped the ball back for Brandt, who used a defender as a screen and scored with a shot to the back post.
The lead wouldn’t last until half time. Defender Grant Stoneman fouled Tomer Zloczower in the box and the Stars winger put away the resulting penalty kick to tie the game. Brandt had a chance to restore the lead in the 42nd minute but was stopped in his bid for a second goal and the teams went to the break 1-1.
The Hoops were beginning to see the Stars take control of the match in the second half, but when LAFCU Man of the Match Danny Cawley stepped on the field as a sub in the 63rd minute he brought with him a change of momentum. In the 78th minute he took a page from Brandt’s book and used the defender to screen the keeper as he sent a left footed bullet to the bottom corner, giving Lansing United a lead 2-1 and earning his first career goal.
“I saw Danny’s goal, I was off at the time,” said Cawley. “He saw it and took his time with it, took a touch and picked it out right at the top column and then took a strike, so I did the same thing.”
The substitutions came at a cost. Miller had to take off his speed players up top, which took away the ability to pressure the ball. The Stars continued to attack, and Archibald’s late goal meant that Lansing would end the match with only one point.
“If we are keeping the ball and we are moving it through the thirds we would have won that game,” Miller said. “Conceding a goal that late is pretty heartbreaking for the guys, we’re really disappointed with that result. I think we’re going to learn a lot from this game because at moments we were dominant. I think the team understands how we can play.”
Lansing United returns to the field with a friendly on Friday, May 27th at 7 p.m. against the Indy Eleven NPSL in Indiana.