Lansing United fell 1-0 to Michigan Stars FC in their first home defeat of the season on Friday, despite 17 total shots and a strong second half.
Both sides controlled the ball and created several half chances in the first 45. Perhaps the best chance of the half came in the 30th minute, when United forward Stephen Owusu broke free of several defenders on the right wing and slipped the ball to midfielder Zach Pagani inside the penalty box, whose shot careened off the near post.
“It was a game where if we had come out more energized in the first half and taken more of our opportunities it could’ve been a different half,” head coach/GM Eric Rudland said.
United started stronger in the second half, with most of the ball staying in the Stars defensive half. The Stars goal came in the 64th minute in the midst of increased United pressure. After beating one defender and driving into the United box, Stars midfielder Lawrence Talery played the ball across the face of goal, where forward Alex Adelabu slotted the cross home.
“If you take one play off or make one mistake the other team penalizes you for it,” Rudland said. “Unfortunately that’s the beautiful game sometimes.”
In response United began heaping waves of pressure onto the Stars defense. The all-out attack created several opportunities in the dying minutes, the best of which was a wickedly curving shot from midfielder Ross Lindsay that went inches wide, but could not manage to put one away and the match ended with only the one goal.
One bright spot for the United campaign was the return of forward Cholo Petit, who had missed the away game start in Detroit because of injury. The United stalwart looked dangerous at times, and his return to full match fitness is something to look forward to.
“He’s a super creative player and fun to watch so hopefully he’s fully fit going into our last matches,” Rudland said. “He was a catalyst to our attack on our three game win streak, so getting him fully fit and back in the team is important.”
The loss keeps United in third place but still with a chance at a spot in the Midwest playoffs.
“We’re still in a good spot to chase a playoff berth and we’ve just made the next three games really important,” Rudland said. “It’s a change for our guys psychologically where we have to figure out a way to dig ourselves out of this hole and finish the season strong.”
Next United plays on the road at FC Buffalo on July 10 in the first part of a two-game road trip.